A recent editorial (July 12) discussed the deplorable six-year Washington college graduation rates. Having taught at EWU for 30 years, I am aware of some reasons why students take so long to graduate.
It starts with incoming students’ lack of college preparedness. All universities have to devote resources teaching remedial courses because of deficiencies in high school pre-college curricula. Many incoming students are poorly advised about the appropriate sequence of their proposed academic careers, which results in course choices that may be irrelevant thus delaying their academic progress.
Having perused many student transcripts, it is clear that some students consider university to be a health club. Students pack their schedules with courses of yoga, weightlifting, ballet, ‘fast’ fitness, etc., rather than taking academic courses in their major.
At EWU, the ratio of administrators to students has increased in recent years; the ratio of faculty to students has not. This has inevitably resulted in a decrease in course availability, again causing delays in graduating.
Another factor particularly relevant to EWU is related to the fact that over 50 percent of EWU students work full or part time. Besides affecting performance, it means that many students cannot take a full academic load some terms.