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Concord University Introduces a New Requirement for University 100 Students

By Savannah Cooper
On October 1, 2018

Freshmen included in fall 2018 University 100 courses will be the first students to participate in CU Connections.


Shelia Womack, Academic Success Center program specialist and University 100 program coordinator, took charge of the event and is credited with introducing the event to Concord University 100 classes. Students in these courses are required to attend the event in order to get full credit for the class.


In previous years, University 100 courses required students to attend three CU events. These events were required to be at least one cultural, one academic, and one athletic event. Students were also required to attend University 100 workshops. One final requirement included taking part in a service activity and clocking volunteer hours.


This year, along with the previous requirements, students must attend the CU Connections event every September. This semester, both freshmen and upperclassmen gathered on September 26.


Womack explains, “It`s specifically for our University 100 students. It`s an opportunity for them to talk about questions with upperclassmen, graduate students, and recent [alumni]. These questions can be about college, majors, internships, grad school, or life in general.”


For some students, the transition from high school life to college life can be a bit challenging and taxing. Along with the University 100 course, Womack hopes the Connection event will help this adjustment progress smoother.


One factor that suggested that this event would be beneficial came from past research, which illustrated a trend that there was much more concern in students after their first semester of college. Womack states, “Our research from our past classes of freshmen kind of show that by the end of their first semester, they are actually a little bit more concerned than when they started.”


She goes on to explain that one of the goals of the University is to give students an opportunity to voice their questions and concerns in a “very low stress, low key environment.” Allowing students to foster connections with mentors, whether those are upperclassmen or professors, will hopefully alleviate some possible stress.


The mentors who will be attending the event come from multiple departments and organizations across campus. Womack reveals, “I`ve been in touch with the Bonner Scholars, SGA, the honor students, the tutors. I`ve also asked for recommendations from department chairs for students, grad students, and recent alums who would be good mentors for the event.” Even before the event, she estimated a total of 20 possible mentors.


Some sample questions student students were encouraged to ask included: What are your best study tips? Is it worthwhile to double major? What opportunities are available after graduation?


University 100 professors were encouraged to prep their students for the event to ensure students were able to get the most out of this experiment.


Jennifer Phillippe, Instructor of Geology/Physical Science and University 100 professor, stated, “I think the CU Connections event will give students a chance to practice interviewing and speaking for themselves in a low-pressure structured environment.” She also goes on to comment on the benefits of the University 100 class in general. She says, “I think the greatest benefit for new students is having a chance each week to meet face to face with a professor where they can ask questions.”


Another University 100 professor, Sharon Manzo, also anticipates the CU Connections event will be beneficial in the future. She says, “The casual meet and greet time will give current students to chat one-on-one with mentors, which is a great idea since some are hesitant to speak or ask questions in a group setting.”


She also emphasizes the importance of University 100 by stating, “The information presented provides students with ‘how to maneuver’ the campus, the computer, Blackboard. Often, the atmosphere in University 100 classes allows students to become comfortable with one another and gives them a ‘safe’ atmosphere in which to express their opinions, feelings, attitudes.”


By being able to ask questions at a required event, students new to Concord will be exposed to college life and the keys to success here at Concord. Womack states a few skills and takeaways she hopes students receive through the University 100 Course and the event.


“Number one is giving them the skills they need in order to be successful here. We also want to instill the Concord value of community service. Our motto is, ‘Come to learn, go to serve.’  Then, hopefully it gives them [students] someone here at Concord who they know is in their corner.”


Womack hopes by combining University 100 and the CU connections event, students will receive a “more personable” experience while acclimating to college life and Concord. 

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