The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

Recognizing the Macalester Education

By Joanna Clark and Owen Truesdell

With at least 86 student-led organizations, 19 varsity sports, 15 club sports and over 200 volunteer opportunities, it is abundantly clear that co- and extra-curricular activities are a vital part of a Macalester student’s education. And yet, after four years of balancing volunteerism, athletics, clubs and EXCO classes with academics, Macalester transcripts only recognize classes taken each semester. While useful for certain types of assessment-graduate school or internship applications-an academic transcript fails to fully encapsulate the four years of learning that happens outside of the classroom and in the Macalester community. And for many students the co-curricular aspect of their learning has been just as, if not more, influential than their growth in the classroom. In an effort to recognize the importance of these activities, Macalester College Student Government proposes the creation of a co-curricular transcript that would index all of the co-curricular activities undertaken by students during their years at Macalester. The CCT would present information just like a transcript, but instead of listing classes, it would list student involvement in the following areas: student organization leadership, student organization participation, varsity and club athletics, EXCO classes, civic engagement and volunteer activities. Although we feel that these categories represent a majority of the types of engagement at Macalester, the list is by no means complete; for this reason, the CCT will also include a self-reported section. This section would allow students whose engagement cannot be recorded in an institutionalized fashion to enter activities-such as intramural sports, work-study positions, and any other engagement not falling into a single category-on the CCT whereas the categories listed above will be submitted by administrators who oversee each particular area (e.g. Athletics department will input the list of all varsity athletes). We believe that creating a CCT that catalogues students’ involvement in these activities will more fully represent the breadth and depth of a Macalester education.

Several of Macalester’s peer colleges and universities have implemented similar records to varying degrees of success. These institutions have shown us that, if done properly, a CCT can benefit every member of the Macalester community.

For students, the CCT would provide a comprehensive list of extra-curricular activities, making it much easier to write a relevant and pointed résumé. If students are to follow the Career Development Center’s recommendation of writing résumés in the “newspaper” style-all relevant information above a half-page fold-then any assistance in choosing the worthiest, most applicable experiences can be useful.

For faculty, the CCT would make writing recommendations much easier by allowing access to students’ CCT’s through 1600Grand. And finally, at the institutional level, creating co-curricular transcripts for all students will provide valuable data to track changes in the activities of Mac students. For example, analyzing CCT’s over time will show whether the number of students engaging as student organization leaders is increasing or decreasing and in what other activities students are participating.

The implementation of the system that MCSG is proposing will not happen overnight, but with the support of the student body, a co-curricular transcript is something MCSG aspires to have operational by the beginning of the 2010-2011 school year. MCSG recognizes that creating the CCT is only the first step in a longer process of more fully recognizing different types of involvement; for this reason, MCSG plans to create a system through which other departments and activities may be reported on the CCT in upcoming years.

As student representatives, we believe that engagement is a hallmark of the Macalester education, and as such, it is time that our transcripts reflected the sum of our interests, not just the classes we take. With so many prospective students considering Macalester for its community involvement, passionate students, diverse interests, club activities, civic engagement-and any other number of euphemisms for “things that don’t happen in the classroom”-there should be no doubt that a co-curricular transcript is the next step in validating Mac students’ education outside the academic setting. Every student does something outside of the classroom that contributes to their education, and it is time that all of these activities are recognized and valued as integral parts of a Macalester education. MCSG will continue to work on this project until it functions to meet the needs of all students.

As always, the creation of a CCT is something that we want to be an open and collaborative process. Student Government meetings happen every Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the Weyerhaeuser Boardroom and all students are welcome to attend and speak about this issue-or any issue they’d like-or simply listen.

Owen Truesdell ’11 and Joanna Clark ’10 are members of the Macalester College Student Government. They can be reached at [email protected] and [email protected] with any thoughts on the creation of a Co-Curricular Transcript.

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