Course controversy at VCU - NBC12 - Richmond, VA News

Course controversy at VCU has students in P.E. department worried

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There is some course controversy at VCU. Some students they fear they won't get the degrees they signed up for after hearing their program is under review.

VCU officials say they are taking another look at the future of the school's physical education department and students are concerned changes would set them back.

Imagine the excitement of choosing a major in college, working toward it and half-way in, being told by administrators there's a possible change of plans.

"My father is really ill. All this time and money I could've spent at home with him but I've been here because he's been my motivation to teach and go to school," said Raisha Chowdhury.

She wants to be a P.E. instructor. She was told after completing basic requirements in her major, she could apply for the department's Teacher Preparation program and finish with her Master's. Now she's afraid, that may not happen.

"Now just knowing my program might get shut down when I've already committed two years into my program," Chowdhury said.

Students who met with university officials say they were told the program could be phased out pending an accreditation review.

"We shouldn't be talking about closing this program. We should be talking about continuing this program," says Dr. Deborah Getty.

She has taught there for 30 years. She's resigning after hearing the program she's watched grow may be seeing its last days.

"My concern is number one that VCU will not honor their commitment to these students and make sure that they graduate in a timely manner," Getty said.

The Dean of the School of Education says students currently enrolled in the Teacher Preparation program will have the opportunity to finish, but that leaves a big question mark for the current students studying physical education, preparing to apply for the next phase. That's the phase required to receive a master's degree.

"As of now I'm kind of in limbo. I'm not sure what my future holds here at VCU…A lot of our credits don't transfer to different majors so a lot of the classes that some of us have taken don't transfer out," said Josh Gentry.

It's a dilemma they never saw coming.

"I'm letting my dad down and that's not ok because I don't know how much time I have left with him," Chowdhury added.

University officials told students in an email they are committed to the students' academic and professional success. Students say prove it by keeping the program active. Officials also told us while they are reviewing the future of the program no decision has been made to discontinue it "at the present time."

They also say the school hasn't decided if it will bring in a new class in the Fall.

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