The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Morgan Shiver, Contributor • June 20, 2024
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Credit abroad

Courses should carry the same weight

Before studying abroad, stacks of paperwork must be filed.Passport forms, immunization records and travel arrangementsaugment the uneasiness many students experience when consideringone of SMU’s outstanding study abroad opportunities. Even when your passport is delivered (complete with horrendousmugshot) and your plane ticket is purchased, the paperwork is notcomplete.

An entirely different set of obstacles must be maneuvered inorder to have those courses count for appropriate credit. Many students have experienced problems with degree progressreports upon completion of study abroad courses.  Hours areawarded and grades are tabulated, but the classes have a tendencyto appear as mere electives, and a considerable amount of effort isusually required to move a course into a different category. Either the department handling such tasks is extremely undermanned,or the software controlling our degree progress reports is fiercelystubborn.

Since these courses are offered through official universityprograms and, in many cases, even taught by SMU professors, it islamentable that such difficulties exist.  The campus on whichthe course was completed should be insignificant.

The more interesting qualm arises when a course is categorizedincorrectly because it is not an “approved”perspective.  Such situations are not limited to study abroadprograms.  In these cases, a petition form is necessary. According to degree counselors, receiving a decision on thepetition requires anywhere from a few weeks to nearly an entireacademic year.

The purpose of a perspective, according to the UndergraduateCatalog, is “to illustrate the evolution and contingentnature of knowledge, and to provide students with a broadintellectual framework in which they may locate their majorfield(s) of study.”  As such, we wonder why “MarkTwain and the Tradition of American Humor” is an approvedliterature perspective, while “Social Action and SocialVision in American Literature” is not.  Both coursesappear to fulfill the two requirements, yet one requires apetition.

Given that petitions have an uncertain result and time frame, astudent wishing to fulfill his or her literature requirement withthe latter course is at a distinct disadvantage.

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