May 21, 2024  
2009-2010 Undergraduate Catalog 
2009-2010 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

First-Year Programs

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The Department of First-Year Programs within University College provides oversight and operations for the following University-wide programs:

  • KSU 1101/First-Year Experience
  • Learning Communities Program

KSU 1101/First-Year Experience

KSU’s First-Year Seminar (KSU 1101) is an integral part of the undergraduate KSU curriculum that introduces first-year students to higher education. As the name of the textbook for the course implies KSU 1101 provides the “Foundations of Academic Inquiry.” That foundation includes an introduction to the culture of the university; an opportunity to enhance their academic and personal success; the promotion of communication, critical thinking, and ethical decision-making skills; career exploration; and an appreciation for global issues and diversity. A defining characteristic of this three-hour, academically oriented course is the close interaction of the instructor and student. This interaction is facilitated by the intentionally small size (20-25 students) of each seminar. First-Year Programs faculty also act as advisors for exploratory students who have not yet declared a major. The curriculum also includes a First-Year Common Reader program that engages students in a common experience in a global topic to promote discourse and discovery. The First-Year Seminar is often featured as an anchor in Learning Communities. First-time, full-time students with fewer than 15 credit hours are required to enroll in KSU 1101 (as an independent course) or one of the Learning Communities.

Learning Communities Program

The Learning Communities program is a curriculum initiative that promotes the integration of General Education and other lower-division courses during a student’s first semester. A typical learning community is a theme-based cluster of courses that allows a student cohort to take 2-4 courses together while also taking advantage of faculty collaboration, out-of-class learning opportunities, and community engagement. There are general interest communities
and discipline-based communities that link major courses with General Education offerings. Enrollment in a Learning Community or a First-Year Seminar (KSU 1101) is required of all first-time, full-time students who enroll in the university with fewer than 15 credit hours. Learning Communities help entering, first-year students adjust easily to college life and improve their chances for a successful college career. In each community, a group of 20-25 first-semester students enroll in the same sections of two or more first-year classes. Learning Communities provide an enhanced environment for successful learning. Because they know each other well, first-year students in learning communities are more comfortable speaking out in class and working collaboratively. They form natural study groups and support groups with their peers. They begin to see connections between their courses through specially designed assignments. Academic research shows that participation in learning communities consistently improves students’ retention as well as their GPA—keeping them in college and helping them to be more successful.

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