New class shows students the ropes
A new CU class called CU 101, designed to help students adjust to life in a university, is in its experimental stage this semester.
The class began for the first time this fall with “around 35 students,” but CU faculty and staff working on CU 101 hope to turn the class into a required course for all new freshmen in the future, said Michael Grant, professor of biology and chair of the task force running the new CU 101 pilot program.
The new class should function much the way any other university class would, said Grant.
Grant said the general aim of the class is to help students understand their place in the university, learn the expectations of them and to help them cope with an environment that is more culturally, religiously and income diverse than what they are used to.
“The basic idea is to help the students succeed,” said Grant.
CU 101 will address recommendations from last spring’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Diversity, but also carries other goals to meet the needs of students, Grant said.
“The Blue Ribbon Commission made a recommendation that we have a program that deals with the issues this class deals with,” said Grant.
According to him, it keeps the commission’s recommendations in mind but adds extra information.
Grant said the pilot program currently has four instructors and is coordinated by Alphonse Keasley, who helped develop the curriculum.
Keasley, director of the minority arts and sciences program at the university, said the class addresses the role of the university in society.
“The subject matter is the university and its people,” Kealsey said. He said the class will teach the history of CU but then “moves into the notion of being a student throughout the ages,” said Kealsey. The class will go over the history of universities stretching back into European history.
“In order for the whole society to exist, you need educated people to keep it going,” Keasley said of the historical role of universities.
But Keasley said the class should have a focus on modern-day issues for university students, including academic integrity, alcohol and student behavior.
The class “never focuses on alcohol per se,” Keasley said, “but focuses on student behavior and the kind of circumstances they would be in.”
The two books on the class syllabus are “Navigating the Research University” and “Power, Privilege and Difference.” The four faculty instructors have backgrounds in biology, political science, judicial affairs, and French and Italian.
One freshman at CU said he thinks CU 101 is a good idea, but doesn’t think it should be mandatory for everyone.
“It’s important because in high school you just memorize and regurgitate. Here you have to think harder. It’s kind of a change,” said freshman Frank Hall, an integrative physiology major.
He isn’t taking CU 101, and would prefer the class stay optional because there are other classes he would rather take.
“I wouldn’t want it mandatory because it takes up credit and probably doesn’t count toward your major,” Hall said.