WTE takes hit from WSGA

Mikki Burcher

Washburn students rejoice, all those prayers about the WTE may have finally been answered.

Jan. 27, 2010, the Washburn Student Government Association unanimously passed a resolution supporting the Faculty Senate’s passage of Agenda Item No. 09-25 WTE Recommendation. This item, if passed, will make the oft-maligned Washburn Transformational Experience optional for incoming Washburn students.

As the senators discussed the issue, research done last spring shed some light on the feelings of the student body. The passed resolution cites statistics saying that nearly 89 percent of students thought the program should become optional or held a negative opinion of the program.

“The senators represent the entire student body of Washburn, so the student body really sways our vote,” said Danielle Hunter, WSGA senator.

One of the concerns of the senators was the amount of time it took to complete a WTE. The leadership and community service options of the WTE require 150 hours of time, and the other two options are just as time consuming, said Nicole Perkuhn, WSGA senator. The senators discussed the burdens that students already face with homework, class time and jobs.

“A lot of non-traditional [students] have jobs and families, and they may not have time to do the WTE,” said Perkuhn.

Another area of concern was how the WTE is affecting retention, said Hunter. The passed resolution said that nearly 15 percent of students left or chose not to attend Washburn because of the WTE.

The resolution was not passed without debate covering both sides of the issue, said Hunter. Arguments for keeping the WTE were that it sets Washburn apart from other universities of similar size and gives students opportunities that they may not otherwise have access to. But these arguments were outweighed by the benefits of making the WTE optional.

“We’re not going to lose any of our prestigiousness because we don’t have a mandatory WTE,” said Perkuhn. “We can set ourselves apart in other ways.

Both Perkuhn and Hunter are optimistic that making the WTE optional will benefit both students and the university.

“It’s a win-win situation,” said Perkuhn. “The people who want to do it can, and those who don’t want to do it don’t have to.”