The winter semester has begun, and, as seniors begin to receive their audits back, many are surprised to see they don’t have enough LBC credits to graduate.
An LBC credit, or Learning Beyond the Classroom, is part of the general education requirements at Eastern Michigan University. This requires students who entered EMU in 2007/08 or later to participate in LBC experiences.
For seniors about to graduate, many forget about this requirement, which sends them scrambling during their last semester.
“I think it’s the least of a student’s worries, and when they’re about to graduate, they have to stay back in order for them to complete the things,” said senior Carly Gantt.
An LBC credit encourages hands-on experiences and skills for the future outside of the classroom. In order to fulfill the LBC requirement, a student must fulfill either one or two of the six groups to choose from. This all depends on the status of the student. Freshmen must complete two of the six groups, while undergraduate transfers only need to complete one of the six groups.
The groups require a student to attend a wide variety of activities, be involved in an organization or take an LBC-accredited class. The best way to find LBC credits is to look in the EMU online course catalog, keep an eye out for events with the LBC logo or check out the Campus Life website. These events will require a student to sign in and complete instructions in order to receive the credit.
Some students find this requirement helpful, but also think it’s hard to find the time to complete them.
“I feel that they are a good way to get students to attend events,” said junior Rachel Weyhing. “However, I feel that having them be required is annoying, because there are people who just don’t have the free time to attend, and when they do, the only events available are ones that do not interest them.”
Although this requirement might be easy for students who are involved, many also disagree with the program, saying it’s not advertised well to students.
“LBC credits are good in theory, but the program is largely broken and it is difficult to enforce and track,” said senior Kaitlin Zies.
“I don’t think we should have to do them,” said sophomore Sasha Derks. “They are not required at any other university that I am aware of. On the flip side, I think the idea of them, and what they are geared toward, is a good idea. But overall, I don’t think we should have to do them.”
According to Chris Foreman, General Education Director, other MAC schools indicated more were moving toward institutionalizing these types of requirements.
EMU is looked to as one of the more innovative in the design of their Gen Ed curriculum, according to The Association of General and Liberal Studies and the American Association of Colleges and Universities.
“There is a great deal of research to convince us that student engagement outside
the classroom provides students with a much stronger foundation for success, not only as a college student, but beyond,” said Foreman. “Today’s employers are looking for employees who bring more to an organization than simply a GPA. They want employees with the potential to succeed, requiring that they have the ability to apply what they’ve learned in a number of different situations.
“Once students take the time to review the complete list of options, they typically find that they are already engaged, or have plans to become engaged, in a number of the opportunities that will satisfy the requirement.”
While it seems most students disagree with the whole concept, some do believe a student’s involvement outside the classroom is where most of the learning happens in college.
“I like that we need to have LBC credits,” said sophomore Sumer Robertson. “Most of the events I’ve been to to earn LBC credit have been interesting, I learn something new and I usually leave motivated. Plus they’re easy to get out the way.”
“I think LBC credits are helpful, broaden our horizons as students and make us branch out of our typical lives as students, which is great to prep us for the real world,” said junior Trevor Kyriakoza.
In order to check how many LBC credits you have, go to my.emich.edu and sign in with your my.emich name and password. Click on the “Student” tab, “Student Services,” “Student Records,” and lastly “Supplemental Advising Information.”
For more information and a complete list of LBC credit options, contact the General Education Office at 734-487-0439 or at www.emich.edu/gened.
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