Missouri State University

Public Affairs Graduation Requirement

Background

As you may recall, last fall, Faculty Senate passed a Senate Action to include a Public Affairs Capstone graduation requirement as part of each major, allowing each department to determine how to meet that requirement within its own programs.  The primary purpose of this new requirement is to ensure that all students, including transfer students, are exposed to the university’s statewide mission.  Although the new General Education program which will be implemented in fall, 2014 has been designed to increase the public affairs emphasis, many transfer students have their general education requirements waived because they come with either an A.A. degree or a completed 42 hour transfer block from another Missouri institution.  Without the Public Affairs Capstone requirement, many of these students would have been able to complete their degree without an intentional exposure to public affairs.   

Implementation

The Public Affairs Capstone requirement will be implemented in the fall, 2014, which also is when the new General Education program will be put in place. However, it is important to recognize that the Public Affairs Capstone requirement is NOT a part of the new general education program.  Consequently, the impact on students will vary in accordance with their status.  Here are some guidelines that should help to clarify the situation:

  • All new students and all students new to a major in fall, 2014 and thereafter will be expected to fulfill the Public Affairs Capstone experience or options established by the department of their major.  (Note: for majors with admission requirements, students are not considered to be a major in that program until they have fulfilled all of those admission requirements.)
  • Continuing students (i.e., students already in major prior to fall, 2014) will NOT be required to fulfill the Public Affairs Capstone requirement unless the department’s designated requirement was already a part of the major requirements when the student entered the program.  As an example, if the department elects to utilize a pre-existing required senior seminar as its Public Affairs Capstone option, continuing students will be expected to take the class as part of their major.  If, on the other hand, the department adds a NEW class or classes to its major as its Public Affairs Capstone option(s), continuing students will NOT be required to complete this requirement.

As we have noted on several occasions, with respect to the new General Education program, new students in fall, 2014 will be expected to fulfill the requirements of the new General Education program.  Continuing students, on the other hand, will have the choice of completing the current (“old”) program or switching to the new program.