LS 100 Course Offers Smooth Transition for Incoming Students
March 1, 2005
The Office of Academic Affairs at Mount Union College recently released survey results showing the success of the liberal studies course used to transition students into life on campus. Using data collected from the incoming classes of 2002, 2003 and 2004, the survey results showed positive responses about the convocation series, reading materials, extracurricular activities and academic planning that comprise the course.
LS 100 has existed at Mount Union in some form since the mid-1980s. The course has provided support to freshmen students as they begin their college experience by encouraging college involvement, providing assistance with academic services, offering course registration assistance and mapping out plans for the college experience. Campus faculty and staff serve as mentors for the course.
'College is a huge transition,' said Dr. Carol Canavan, assistant vice president for academic affairs at Mount Union.' 'Students need to have small classes and mentors with the time and interests to help them with their transitions to college life.'
The course requires a common summer reading for all incoming students. In recent years, over half of the students surveyed have found the book to be an appropriate choice. The purpose of the summer reading is to generate class discussion and to be used as a prompt for essay assignments. Over 80 percent of the mentors felt the summer reading was a valuable learning tool.
Another component of LS 100 that bode well for students was the extracurricular requirements. Students were asked to attend four campus events including sporting events, musical or theatre performances, service projects, religious services or organizational meetings. Sixty percent of student respondents saw the group activities as being helpful. In addition to the extracurricular activities students are required to attend a number of convocations.
A final aspect of LS 100 is academic preparation. Through LS 100, students are encouraged to explore majors and set a course plan for their college years. Over three-fourths of students surveyed felt Departmental Discovery, a program that allows students to explore Mount Union's academic offerings, was helpful. Many students commented on the help they received from their mentors in setting a course schedule.
The overall course experience faired well with students. In 2004, 90 percent of students indicated they had an excellent or good experience in LS 100. Likewise, 87 percent of the students said the same in 2003. Figures seemed more favorable in 2004 than in 2003.
The Office of Academic Affairs and the LS 100 planning team will consider their findings when designing the course in future years. 'The planning team is always looking for ways to alter the course,' said Canavan. 'The team will look into alternative reading material for next year.'