Venture Studies - For Parents  

Sending your daughter or son off to college is a huge transition. Sometimes it is harder on the parents than the students!

Venture Studies has been explicitly designed to help empower students to make that transition successfully.  The first year seminars use the course content as the material to teach students what they need to know -- about the campus, the Jacksonville community, and the critical reflection skills to help them discern their path forward.

The biggest contribution to my academic success would be my parents because they have always emphasized devotion to academic success and completing coursework above the teacher's expectations. I don't think I did anything specific outside of committing myself to performing my best, pushing myself to improve, and doing what was asked of me with a pleasant attitude.

Nicole Hernandez, Department of Communication Academic Achievement Award 2010 


Frequently asked questions and comments:

The most frequent question was about what the seminars "counted" for.

I think the seminars are a good idea. The word seminar is a little confusing, if I understand correctly, this is a class they will get credit for and can be used to meet requirements for the degree. 

"Seminar" refers to the class size; each First Year Seminar will enroll between 20 and 30 students.  It centers on active learning rather than the passivity of a lecture course.  All of them "count" toward the courses they must take during the first two years.  In Fall 2010, thirteen of them offered General Education credit, while two of them fall into the "electives" category in a small class and the University requires all first and second year student to select some electives.

If these courses are a replacement for another course, so that their overall credits/courses needed for graduation are not impacted, sounds like a great idea. Now, when can we get a course for freshman parents to help them adapt to their freshman adapting to college life?! 

You do play a big role in their success as the comments on this page from our recent graduates confirm.  At this point, you need to let go.  Your job now is to support and encourage your son or daughter to take charge.   Encourage her or him to talk to the faculty, the Residence Life staff, others on campus.  Questions?  Contact Dr. Marnie Jones, Associate Dean & Professor of English at  Dean Jones oversees Venture Studies and is the parent of a recent college graduate.

I attribute my success at UNF to my parents.  It may sound like a cliché, but my mother and father instilled in me a desire to perform to the best of my abilities.  I had the continuous support of several faculty members at UNF... Having the support of my friends and family, but also knowing they expected me to succeed, factored into my success at the University of North Florida.

Lucía Allen, Department of Languages,Literatures & Cultures, Spanish Scholar 2010 


The courses for incoming freshman sounds like a good idea.   I would... not want it to replace a prerequisite course.  I watched an employee in my office who attends  (another institution) struggle with Cal 1. I don't think we need to push these kids too fast.  If it helps them make the transition, learn how to study, make decisions on their own, and earn credit hours, it sounds like a good thing. 

The faculty and staff involved in Venture Studies emphasize two verbs: "appreciate" and "challenge."  We appreciate where the students are when they come to us, in terms of their talents, skills and past preparation. The Venture Studies First Year Seminars provide students with the information they need to succeed.  The program offers repeated opportunities for students to develop, so we also "challenge" them to take a series of next steps, developing their self-awareness, knowledge, skills, and habits.  The program provides opportunities for students to apply what they are learning in class to real world problems: we call that community based learning. 


Venture Studies First Year Seminar Compact  

Faculty pledge to:  

  1. Respect students' assumptions as genuine, sincere reflections of their ways of making meaning and steps in a developmental process.
  2. Discuss complex issues and make available resources that show the factual basis of several lines of reasoning.
  3. Create opportunities to analyze the evidentiary adequacy of others' points of view.
  4. Teach strategies for systematically gathering data, assessing its relevance, evaluating the sources and making interpretive judgments.
  5. Give frequent feedback and consider feedback from peers and students.
  6. Help students explicitly address uncertainty in judgment making and examine their assumptions about how knowledge is gained.

Students pledge to: 

  1. Respect the perspective of other students: understand that their assumptions, like your own, are genuine, sincere reflections of their ways of making meaning.
  2. Discuss complex issues by considering the factual basis of several lines of reasoning.
  3. Analyze the nature and adequacy of the evidence others offer.
  4. Learn strategies for systematically gathering data, assessing its relevance, evaluating the sources and making interpretive judgments.
  5. Consider feedback from your professor and your peers and provide feedback to them.
  6. Recognize the limits of certainty in judgment making.