Trinity+ Curriculum Limits Students’ Opportunities

Sammi Bray ’25

Opinion Editor

In the fall of 2021, the College introduced the new Trinity+ Curriculum. This curriculum requires students matriculated in the fall of 2021 and beyond to complete thirty-six credits in order to graduate, reversing decisions made to support students during the onset of the pandemic.  

To encourage students to pursue an education beyond the classroom, three co-curricular credits are also required. These credits include experiences such as conducting summer research, completing an internship that does not count towards your major, or serving as a teacher’s assistant. 

While the College’s emphasis on learning beyond the classroom is essential for a liberal arts education in the 21st century, the new curriculum limits students to only three of these credits. Students are welcome to go beyond the allotted three credits; however, these superfluous credits will not count towards graduation.  

The high-achieving student who most likely desires to engage in more than three of these experiences is discouraged as the extra time to take on these responsibilities, essentially for no reason, is unrealistic.  

Students have relied on teacher’s assistant positions to complete minors, an option that would disappear for a student with a second minor or for one who has already participated in another experience—which they likely have. 

With only three available credits, students are left to question which opportunities to embrace and when they should embrace them. Is it better to wait until junior or senior year, or should students act fast if opportunities could potentially disappear? 

In addition to the previously mentioned experiences, short-term classes, like J-Term courses, will now also count as one of these credits. Classes will be shorter and typically count for less credits. Students who happen to be short in their fall course schedule lose the opportunity to catch-up in the winter; of course, this is beneficial for professors who were forced into a quick grading turn around. 

The new curriculum also introduced experiential certificates: an exciting opportunity to gain a unique skill. However, the three credits required to earn the certificate appear to count as three co-curricular credits, so a student who hopes to earn one of these certificates—especially by taking courses already in their major—lose the opportunity and are completely shut-off from other experiences for credit. 

The new curriculum also requires students to complete four wellness credits in three categories: Mind, Body, and Spirit, Civic Engagement, and Community Health.  

The program is well intended. The College’s website describes the courses as a way to focus on “how students care for themselves, one another, and their world, establishing and sustaining positive values, habits, and behaviors…”  

Each wellness credit requires eight hours of work, usually meeting for an hour per week. For most students, this is like adding another course into their already full schedule. The College views this as giving students credit for what they are already doing, but, for many, it feels like a lot more. 

Students also lose a safety net: half-credit, physical education courses that frequently helped students fill a half-credit gap. Now these courses hold no actual credit and are instead counted towards the wellness requirement.  

It is not just physical education courses being cut of credit though. The course I am currently taking, Building a Digital Portfolio, also once counted for a half-credit. The Registrar’s Office shared that classes like these were often cancelled due to low enrollment. This course and other wellness courses are beneficial for students. I love working with the faculty members who teach these courses, and there is no doubt that the final product will be helpful; however, fitting in another hour of class and the occasional homework assignment is at times overwhelming.   

The new curriculum has its perks: meeting new faculty, student-athletes gaining well-deserved credit for participating in their respective sport, and encouraging students to engage in the community. However, the curriculum has flaws that should not be overlooked.  

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