Most Washburn students have heard about the ruling on the Washburn Transformational Experience, but many are still wondering what it means for the WTE space on their degree audits.
The Washburn University Board of Regents voted to remove the WTE as a university requirement, making it an elective program. Even though it is no longer a university requirement, certain departments may have completion of WTE as a degree requirement.
Travis Hubbel, a junior business major at Washburn will not have to complete the WTE. He is scheduled to graduate next fall and is pleased with the decision.
“It takes quite a bit of stress off of me that I do not have to complete the WTE,” Hubbel said. “I wasn’t sure if I would have enough time in the summer to complete the project, so now I don’t have to worry about it.”
Kathy Menzie, chair of academic affairs at Washburn, said that students who are currently involved in a WTE, who feel they have extenuating circumstances and wish to discontinue their involvement in WTE can contact their mentor to request a waiver. The mentors can get the approval from Nancy Tate, associate vice president of academic affairs.
Menzie said the main reason the university voted to make the WTE optional was because so many students and faculty were complaining about having to complete the project. Both groups favored making the WTE optional. The groups looked at everything from surveys completed by Washburn students to talking to students and getting their view on WTE.
Lucas Mullin, WSGA vice president is completing a WTE, but voted to make it optional. Mullin said he understands many students do not have the time to complete a transformational experience, but feels Washburn can make some additions to the program to make it more successful in the future.
“Maybe in a few years the WTE committee can find better ways to revamp the program and make it more appealing to athletes, Greeks, people in the military and other WU students,” Mullin said.
Menzie believes that students who are in leadership and honors programs should still be required to complete a WTE. Other graduate programs at Washburn are considering making it a requirement, but Washburn is still in the process of figuring out what programs will make WTE a requirement. Traveling abroad is something Menzie wishes she could make a requirement as she feels it truly can transform a student, but the proper funding is just not realistic. Overall, Menzie believes making WTE optional is best for WU.
“I don’t think you can mandate transformation,” Menzie said. “You don’t choose when you transform so even though I believe the program has its advantages, making optional was the best decision for the university.”