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Capstone Commotion

The senior capstone combination presents issues for students trying to graduate in the spring.

Senior capstone courses were combined in the new degree catalogue, making it difficult for students to get into the remaining separate capstone courses.

“My graduating class was one of the last to enroll under the old degree catalogue, which required both senior bible and senior philosophy courses,” senior Suzanna Sawyer said. “Unfortunately, these classes filled up very quickly, and I was not able to register for them. In order to graduate on time, I had to switch to the new catalogue, which allowed me to take the new combined class instead.”

Bible professor Jim Baird said the new course will provide some positive aspects that the separate courses lacked.

“I think students are going to like the new senior bible capstone course,” Baird said. “We are taking a worldview approach, trying to understand Christian worldviews and how they relate to the many other worldviews out there. I believe most students will find it faith-stimulating, not just intellectually stimulating.”

While the senior bible capstone will benefit the students, Sawyer said she was sad to see the philosophy class go.

“We are a liberal arts institution, and, in my mind, the final piece of a solid liberal arts education is a course on philosophy,” Sawyer said.  “I believe that the senior philosophy course was a time for OC seniors to process and reflect on who they have become at OC, and more importantly, what they have come to believe about the world around them. I think that combining the classes into one might lessen this experience for students.”

Senior Kyle Baldinger agrees that the overflow of information could lessen the educational experience for students.

“It’s a lot of content to cover, and the ideas between senior bible and philosophy need a non-religious approach, which is hard to do when the class has a religious overtone,” Baldinger said.

Baldinger said not only does this affect the students, but he thinks it can affect the professors as well.

“It puts a lot of extra strain on professors for content coverage,” Baldinger said. “It’s hard enough with only having 15 weeks in a semester. But to combine another class into that will mean less time spent on ideas, and as an effect it will probably mean less competitive work from seniors who should be having their best work completed.”

Baird shared his perspective on the university striving to make the course beneficial to the students.

“Even though every senior has to take it, the faculty and administration are committed to keeping senior bible capstone a relatively small, discussion-oriented course,” Baird said.

According to Baldinger, after this semester the combination of the two courses will not affect anyone.

However, he said he is disappointed philosophy won’t be in the core requirements.

“Since this is the last year of the old catalog, after this year the students won’t know the difference between a great philosophy and a brief overview,” Baldinger said.

According to Sawyer, even though she is hesitant, she is eager to take the combined class.

“I am still optimistic about the combined class and how they will uniquely integrate the course materials together,” Sawyer said. “I have confidence in our professors; I know they will do their best to make the changes worthwhile.”

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