UNIV 101: Will it boost retention?
March 18, 2023
Retention, retention, retention! Many of the newest developments and big projects at UWRF have been focused on retention. The new first-year experience is one of those new developments that is focused on helping freshmen adapt to college and find their place.
University 101 is a class that is being proposed under the first-year experience umbrella. Currently, this class is a three-credit elective that will be offered in the fall of 2023. The class has three main focuses: learning more about what the university has to offer, group work, and information literacy.
Students will learn more about the degree audit report (DAR), advising, library resources, FAFSA, financial aid, health and wellbeing resources, career services, and “resources for the development of effective student success,” according to the class proposal.
For the other two learning outcomes, this will be dependent on course sections. Professors will be able to decide how to teach the course to achieve the course objectives of information literacy and teamwork. The end goal is to make UNIV 101 a general education requirement.
“Faculty will be all working towards those same objectives but the course is designed that they would do it within the realms of their own specialties but achieving common objectives,” said Doug Margolis the University Curriculum Committee Chair.
The real question is: Will this work? At the Student Voice, we like the idea of having a class that will better help students adjust to college life. It’s a noble goal but if a student knows what major they are interested in and is confident enough to ask for help from their advisers this required class could feel like a waste of time or busy work.
Breaking it down, this class is around 5 weeks of learning about the college's resources which could be learned at freshmen orientation, and 5 weeks' worth of group projects. It would feel like the university is spoon-feeding students this information or that we are not really learning anything.
The Student Voice thinks that this would make more sense for it to be a department or college-based course because many of those students will be your colleagues for the next four years. This would give you a chance to interact with people you will be seeing quite often while learning material that could be better applied to one's major.
If the college continues with the UNIV 101 class the Student Voice thinks that this course would be better suited to stay an elective rather than have it be a general education requirement as the students who would like to take it would be able to and those that adjust faster are able to move on to classes they see are a better use of their time.