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An email from one professor sealed the deal for the First-Year Seminar Friday Sessions.
“Based on the feedback we have received in the last week, we have come to the conclusion that continuing these sessions will not accomplish the goals of the program,” Arthur Sanders, associate provost for curriculum and assessment, said in an email. “Therefore, we are ending the Friday sessions.”
Sanders sent the email to first-year students on Tuesday.
Earlier that day, Sanders had said that the necessity for the Friday sessions came out of discussions with colleagues and students who thought the regular FYS sessions were missing opportunities to practice concepts that were taught.
“We wanted a different way to have students think about, learn, be exposed to particular types of skills or dispositions,” Sanders said.
He added that students had expressed the desire to get together with other FYS sessions more formally to share experiences.
Vice President of Student Life Matt Van Hoeck is currently the head of the First-Year Interest Committee. He said that it was interesting to see the entire class come together for a cause so early on.
He said in his first meeting he asked the members what they wanted to focus on. The group agreed that the Friday sessions needed to be discussed.
First-year student and FYIC member Natalie Larson said the Friday sessions are just an extension of the regular classes but do not focus on any specific topic. Instead they focus on different ones.
Sanders said the topics covered in the three sessions were reflections, discussions and active learning.
The sessions, which were scheduled each Friday afternoons, happened in six classrooms that were hooked up via video connections. In each of the rooms, there was a host that would facilitate discussions and the learning goals.
Sanders sat in the control room during the sessions. He said that the hosts were in constant communication during the sessions to see if more time was needed during certain parts.
The sessions were designed to build upon one another, which made the attendance required. If students missed a session, they were assigned a short paper that would then be handed in to Sanders.
Sanders said he was constantly receiving feedback about the sessions from students and faculty.
“We constantly evaluate what we are doing,” he said, “because we are trying something different.”
He also said the evaluation process was still on-going. That was, until he announced the cancellation of the sessions.
In the email, he said discussions to find “alternative” ways to reach the goals of the Friday sessions would continue.
At the time of publication, Sanders could not be reached to comment on why he decided to announce the cancellation of further Friday sessions.