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New developmental courses coming to FGCU

Florida Gulf Coast University’s Faculty Senate has voted “yes” to Undergraduate Studies’ curriculum development, which could allow for more classes to be offered to undergraduates by the fall of 2014.

The undergraduate studies department, which was created three years ago, is currently building a curriculum team. The team’s main purpose will be to create new classes that will focus on specific needs, such as student life skills and leadership development courses. One course that is being considered is an extended orientation.

“Students come to orientation in the summer and then they can take a three credit course that doesn’t count toward gen-ed,” said Jim Wohlpart, the associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “(Extended orientation is) just an elective but the course will allow them to become fully integrated into the university.”

Another class under consideration is a major development course, which will aid in helping undecided freshman figure pick a major.

“The 500 undergrad students who are undeclared need to have opportunities to help them figure out what they want to do so that they can get on track and get through college more quickly,” Wohlpart said.

Leadership development classes will encourage new students to get engaged on campus. They will inform them about getting involved with Student Government as well as how to become an orientation leader or a resident assistant. Previously, students had to go through extensive training in order to take on those positions. Now students will be able to train during class and receive credit for it.

The addition of these new classes won’t cost FGCU a lot of money. According to Wohlpart, a budget of $20,000 has been set aside for the development and implementation of these courses. The goal is to raise the freshman retention rate, which can in turn rake in more money for the University. This year, FGCU received $2.7 million in performance based funds. This money is presented to schools whose students do exceptionally well in the work force after graduation . With these soon-to-be – offered classes, students should theoretically be more successful during and after college, which will benefit FGCU in the long run.

All of the institutions in the state of Florida are now eligible for performance based funding. There are a few guidelines each university has to pass. The more that they pass, the more money they will receive. Last year, FGCU earned $2.2 million for doing so well. This year, an added measure will be retention rate. The goal is to raise our freshman retention rate with the addition of these new undergraduate classes.

“There’s kind of an intellectual, academic, educational obligation that we have to help those students figure out what they want to do. This just gives students more possibilities and opportunities to be successful and be engaged and that’s really our focus—to increase student success and engagement here at FGCU,” said Wohlpart.

Photo compliments of Friends of Quinn

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