Committee gives recommendations

Nick Walton

The introduction to Kent State might be different for future students than the current transition from high school to college.

Friday, the 21st Century First Year Experience core group turned in suggestions to Provost Robert Frank that will make changes to the current university transition. The suggestions were made in order to increase the possibility of first-year success and retention for students.

“These are purely initial recommendations,” said Greg Blase, chair of the 21st Century First Year Experience core group and director of academic programming for the College of Communication and Information. “There is absolutely no plan right now to implement these. That may come later or may not come later.”

The 21st Century First Year Experience core group, made up of faculty from various departments, was put together by the provost to help improve the first-year experience of freshmen students.

The committee proposed a resource center for freshmen be created to inform students and their parents of the academic, informational and social resources needed to succeed during their first year.

Other proposed recommendations include changes to the structure of the PASS program and the first-year colloquium course.

The PASS program would be held in late April and the remainder of programs would take place in late May, June and July to make it more user-friendly. The program currently begins in February and runs through July. The placement tests that are normally taken during the program would be taken online prior to students visiting for the PASS program.

“If we have (the tests) self-administered earlier than the PASS, people would have the scores when the students get here,” Blase said.

He said the committee feels having the scores prior to the program will help shorten the program.

During the PASS day students will meet with a personal adviser that will provide help for a student between the time a student applies to Kent State and the beginning of the year.

“(The adviser) would be a person that a student could contact with any question or the student would be contacted to make sure that certain things are done,” Blase said. Blase hopes that the adviser would create a more personal relationship between the student and Kent State.

There would also be an online checklist to help students organize what they need to do before coming to Kent State.

The committee proposed to make the first-year colloquium course worth three credit hours, count as an LER and be a graded course. The course is currently worth one credit hour, is a major requirement and is a pass or fail grade.

“We felt that there was more content that could be put into the course,” Blase said. “Usually students will take it more seriously if it’s graded because it has more of an impact.”

The class was recommended to be held weekly and last for two hours and 45 minutes and would last for eight weeks. The committee hopes that the changes to the course would help students build relationships with the university, peers and faculty.

The course will also be used as a way to encourage first-year students to use academic support services such as tutoring and the library.

Other recommendations included revising curriculum in first-year classes to teach the value of the first-year experience and having more contact with faculty outside of classrooms to create a better relationship between faculty and students.

Currently the committee is unsure when the provost will decide on their suggestions or if the suggestions will be implemented.

What is your feeling about your first-year experience (PASS program and first-year colloquium)?

What can the administration do to improve the first-year experience?

Eric Miller, freshman pre-pharmaceuticals major:

• “I felt pretty good about it. It helped me move into the university and meet new people.”

• “I thought it was fine the way it was.”

Danielle Haering, freshman exploratory major:

• “I didn’t have a problem with PASS, but I learned nothing in my first-year colloquium class, it felt more like study hall.”

• “Have more discussion about what’s on campus for students and some of the resources available.”

Emily Gniazdowski, freshman accounting major:

• “The first-year colloquium is kind of pointless since I knew most of the information — it was a waste of 50 minutes.”

• “Maybe not having the class, use other resources to help students.”

Max Dunzik, freshman physical education major:

• “I thought PASS was great, but a lot of the requirements in the class were unnecessary.”

• “I think they should make the FYC course an elective.”

Keri Slepecky, freshman fashion design major:

• “I liked the PASS program. I didn’t like the FYC course because we just talked to friends.”

• “They should focus on what the course is about and stay focused on that for every section.”

Ciara Edwards, freshman business management major:

• “The course work was more than I expected — we actually did work while other sections didn’t.”

• “Everything seemed fine to me.”

Contact news correspondent Nick Walton at [email protected].