Chapel: As undergraduates, we’ve all been through it.
Every undergraduate at Baylor is required to attend Chapel in some form, although the requirements vary. Chapel, a time of worship every Monday and Wednesday, is one of the oldest and most valued Baylor traditions. It has been a part of student life for more than 160 years.
Although Chapel is a valued tradition, it is taking up time that many students can’t easily sacrifice. It’s also taking money. There is a class fee of $65 for attending Chapel.
Although the course is a university requirement that costs students time and money, it does not actually contribute to the 124-hour minimum requirement for all students to graduate.
We believe this practice should be re-evaluated, as it is becoming increasingly difficult for students to graduate in four years while completing the university requirements as well as those included in each degree plan.
It works like this: Chapel is a pass/fail class.
If the student shows up and swipes their Baylor ID card going in and out of the assigned Chapel time and misses no more than eight sessions, then the student gets credit for the course. However, this is an empty credit. Bearweb lists Chapel as an undergraduate course with zero credit hours and zero quality (GPA) points.
It would be difficult to offer quality points for Chapel due to the organization of the course.
With classes containing at potentially hundreds of people every day and no real way to regulate workflow, there is no chance of giving out assignments in an organized fashion or even grade students based on performance and enthusiasm, as there are simply too many students present.
Furthermore, as the Chapel requirements aren’t strictly academic in nature anyway, to offer Chapel for quality points might artificially inflate students’ GPAs, which could in turn damage Baylor’s academic reputation.
Instead, Chapel should be considered a credit hour that does not contribute to students’ GPAs, to reflect the time they invested in attending Chapel. It is a fair compromise between keeping up Baylor’s academic reputation and recognizing the time students invest.
Chapel is an hour-long commitment two days a week, which takes up as much time as some other classes that students must take and can edge out classes students need to take instead because of its time commitment. If it takes students’ time and money, the course should be offered for credit, instead of as a compulsory university tradition.
Furthermore, Baylor’s student body is not exclusively Christian. Chapel is a worship service that contains and promotes Christian values in keeping with the mission of the university. This is all well and good for those students who genuinely appreciate the opportunity to worship during the school day. However, the problem with requiring it for all without offering it for credit is that it is very hard to engage students who may not be invested in sincere worship and also know they will have nothing to show for it at the end of the semester.
Offering Chapel as a credit hour would ultimately benefit both students and the university. Students will have something to show for their time-and-money commitment, and the University should see students more engaged in an activity that they know could benefit them spiritually and in terms of credit.