CANs List

Curriculum Action Notice


Academic Affairs Committee


February 15, 2001

This is a bulletin from the Academic Affairs Committee concerning proposed curriculum actions. Within the next 10 days, please forward any comments or concerns to the AAC Chair, Lynn Pifer. Belknap Hall 05, x4384,

The following New Course Proposal has been proposed by the First Year Experience Committee:


UNV 100: First Year Seminar


Course Description:

This course introduces first year students to the University and encourages students to become engaged members of the University learning community. The course asks students to explore the context of the Mansfield University undergraduate experience through the perspectives of selected liberal arts disciplines and their own learning community participation. It also helps students explore the means by which they can succeed at the University and how to use the various support services of the University.

1 clock hour, 1 contract hour, 1 undergraduate credit


This course will be required of all full-time first year undergraduate students who have earned less than 18 hours of credit prior to full-time admission to Mansfield University.

This course is designed to enhance the University's retention goals by supporting new students and enhancing first to second year persistence.


Further information:


Learning Outcomes:

Students who complete this course will:

  • Understand and be able to articulate the value of a liberal arts education,
  • Set personal and academic goals for the college experience,
  • Understand what it means to think analytically and critically,
  • Develop a sense of belonging to, and actively participating in, a college learning community,
  • Understand and explore the context of this learning community through the perspective of selected liberal arts disciplines,
  • Explore and value issues of diversity and living in a diverse learning community,
  • Understand how to access and use a variety of University resources that support student life and learning.



The basic purpose of the first year studies course is to help beginning students develop an accurate picture of what it is they need to do and how it is they need to act in order to succeed at Mansfield University. The class will have an academic component and what might be called an "adjustment" component. Both components are brought together in the concept of "community." That is, students learn what a community is and what had to occur to bring about the communities of Mansfield and Mansfield University, and they also learn what they must do, themselves, to become successful members of both the university learning community and the wider community of the town, county, and region.

THIS IS NOT A LECTURE COURSE. The course is designed to foster dialogue among the students and between the faculty member and students on various issues having to do with the transition to college and what they face from us.

THE COURSE IS INTENDED TO INCREASE OUR FIRST YEAR TO SECOND YEAR RETENTION RATE. The committee is acting on the hypothesis that a significant part of the rather high attrition rate of our first and second semester students comes from the academic culture shock of entering college. (This applies as much to non-traditional students as to 18 year olds.) Certain beginning students feel overwhelmed by the amount and nature of the work required and/or also by the freedom they are now experiencing. In a number of ways a portion of these students become distanced from their classes. They "drop out" without actually dropping out. If we can get them to see early on what they need to do to succeed, how they can do this, the value of it, and even (hopefully) the excitement of it, we may be able to reduce the shock phenomenon.

Another operative assumption is that the student who interacts with the university is more likely to bond with it, and the student who bonds with the university is more likely to succeed academically. Thus the course will involve encouraging and, at times, requiring students to attend events, join groups, or in some other way play a part outside the classroom in their university.





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