Specialized topics, extended length shape intro course

11/02/07The Baker University First Year Experience program has undergone many changes for this year’s freshmen.

FYE is no longer a one-hour credit course. The course, which is required for all incoming freshmen, has been lengthened to two credit hours. Classes meet twice a week for the entire semester instead of half of the semester, like last year’s program.

“We made the changes because we wanted to improve the class and felt as if these changes were necessary to do so,” Lisa Johnston, director of the FYE program, said. “The old program was good but the new one is better and so far, we have had no negative feedback with the changes that have been made.”

Another big change is that students not only learn about Baker University, but they also have an academic topic that goes along with the class. Each topic is taught by a professor with a background in the specific area, allowing students to learn from an expert.

Johnston said she meets with both the professors and student leaders who teach the class on a routine basis to gather feedback and see how each class is doing.

FYE Student Leader Ashlee Cornett said her class is intended to guide freshmen and give them an idea about possible career choices.

“With each class having its own topic, we can help freshmen sort out possible career paths and majors they would be interested in,” she said.

Cornett believes students are enjoying the class and the company of their classmates. She said she enjoys observing relationships that have been formed within her class and how each class is kept together for the entire semester.

“It’s great because the academic workload gets harder as the semester goes on, and since they are together the entire semester, the class works together-faculty and leaders-to help each other through the end of the semester,” she said.

Advising and Tutoring Coordinator Sandy Davidson said she believes the changes in the FYE program have benefited the students.

“I think the changes have added a beneficial academic dimension to the FYE classes,” she said. “Given the increased level of student engagement, I would say that the changes have been for the better.”

Freshman Adam Taylor said he enjoys the class and his student leader.

“It can be a lot of busy work but I do like my class,” he said. “My FYE leader is really cool and works with us. I also think it’s great that it’s a two-hour credit class.”