U says GC students won’t be left behind

Nina Petersen-Perlman

More uncertainty over the fate of the General College and its students has been unearthed in recent weeks, raising speculation about what will happen to students above and below the 60-credit mark.

The college will become a department in the College of Education and Human Development in July as part of the University’s quest to become one of the top three public research universities in the world.

Debate around the University community and in the Daily’s editorial pages has raised fears about the General College transfer process, questioning whether students will get kicked out of the University or lost in the shuffle.

General College Assistant Dean Robert Poch said this is “emphatically not the case.”

First-year students admitted to the college this fall will have another year with the program before they have to transfer out of it, Poch said.

Students in their second year, who are expected to have at least 60 credits, must transfer to another college or get permission to continue in the College of Education and Human Development either in its major program or as an undecided student.

“They’re not being released prior to them being ready,” Poch said. “Those not transferring successfully will continue with us.”

The 60-credit policy was in place before the University realignment process, Poch said, and he will evaluate the cases of students who want to stay in the General College program after they reach that point.

If students are not ready to transfer, they will be the focus of intensive work to get them ready, he said.

“By the time a student reaches 60 credits, they should transfer,” Poch said. “If they’re beyond 60 credits (and stay in the college) they won’t make progress to a degree.”

Phayvanh Thongthi, a sophomore in the General College, said she has a little less than 60 credits and applied this spring to transfer to the Institute of Technology. She also applied to the College of Liberal Arts as a backup.

Right now they’re rushing us to transfer out,” Thongthi said. “I hope I get transferred or I don’t know what to do.”

First-year student Robert Yang said his adviser told him to wait until his General College courses were done to start worrying about transferring.

“I’m nervous because Carlson (School of Management) is what I’m going for,” Yang said. “If I don’t get in, my goal won’t be reached and I’ll feel sad and cry.”

As it changes from a college to a department, the college’s admittance numbers will decrease.

In fall 2005, 825 new students joined about 800 returning students as the last freshman class of the General College.

This fall the University will admit 650 students to a one-year program in the new GC department of the College of Education and Human Development, and they will be expected to transfer to a new college when the year is up, Poch said.

Fall 2007 will bring 475 new students.

“Beyond that, we don’t know,” Poch said.