The Undergraduate Studies Newsletter
2010-2011 TLO Awards Announced
The Office of Undergraduate Studies received 56 applications requesting a total of over $780,000 for creative and worthy projects proposed for the fifth round of the TLO program. Overall 25 undergraduate applications and 6 graduate applications were funded. These projects included funding for a study abroad program in Santander, an Organic Gardening project at the Clara White Mission, an athletic training field experience at the Kennedy Space Center, and many other exciting projects! To read more about the funded undergraduate projects, please click here. To view a list of the graduate award recipients and projects, please visit the Graduate School website here.
STARS Symposium Set for April 23rd
UNF's annual symposium offers faculty the opportunity to spotlight their successes in mentoring and research. The symposium also gives students the opportunity to gain valuable experience in a safe and supportive environment, and perhaps prepare to present their findings at professional conferences. Students, colleagues and administrators are given the opportunity to learn about the diverse types of scholarship underway at UNF. Students may apply to present qualitative or quantitative studies or scholarly projects completed in any field. Projects may be presented in one of two mediums: 1) poster presentations or 2) paper presentations (PowerPoint). The deadline for applications is 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 25, 2010. For more information contact LouAnne Hawkins at (904) 923-3552 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Applications and abstracts must be submitted online by the deadline to be considered for this year's symposium. The symposium will be held at the Student Union April 23, 2010. For more information contact LouAnne Hawkins at (904) 923-3552 or email@example.com
Students to Read Rock, Paper, Scissors for UNF Reads 2010
Len Fisher's Rock, Paper, Scissors: Game Theory in Everyday Life has been chosen as the common reading book for the 3rd annual UNF Reads Program. Rock, Paper, Scissors is a book that students should find interesting, engaging and applicable to their own lives. The book explores how game theory illuminates social behavior. Game theory concerns the strategies we use when we interact with other people and the decisions people make when confronted with competitive situations. Fisher uses real-world examples and philosophical problems to examine how social norms and our sense of fair play can produce cooperative solutions rather than competitive ones.
According to the General Education Council, an ideal selection for UNF Reads should be accessible, interesting to freshmen, and hold the potential for multi-disciplinary connections across all colleges. Fisher’s book accomplishes all three of these goals:
It is a relatively short book written for a general audience.
Students can relate the “Seven Deadly Dilemmas” of game theory to their own lives, as well as to global issues, and may learn strategies for replacing self-interest and conflict with cooperation.
Game theory can be related to all academic disciplines.
All Freshmen will receive a copy of the book at Summer Orientation.
Items of Interest
New Honors Attribute Added to Courses
The Honors Program is undergoing a number of changes, including its location. This summer, the Honors Program will be moving to the first floor of JJ Daniel Hall in the space previously occupied by the Cashiers Office. This begs the question – What will become of Honors Hall when it no longer houses the Honors Program? A name change seems imminent.
But the change in location is just a physical change. There are important substantive changes taking place in the Honors curriculum that are of interest to the rest of the University. In the past, all Honors courses have been offered with an IDH prefix, which stands for interdisciplinary honors. The same IDH course number was used to apply to courses as diverse as the Psychology of War and Envisioning the West (History Core). It was confusing for the college advisors as they tried to complete a student’s program of study. It also made it difficult for the Honors Program to offer courses that fulfilled upper level course requirements for their students. Therefore, beginning in fall 2010, a new Honors attribute will be added to existing course numbers to indicate their status as Honors courses. For example the course Envisioning the West can now be listed as (H) EUH 1000. This tells advisors that this class fulfills the requirement for the history core.
The Honors attribute makes it possible for the academic departments to offer any existing course as an Honors version of the course. The department can also offer a special topics course as an Honors course using this Honors attribute. By doing this, the Honors Program hopes to encourage academic departments to offer honors versions of their upper level required courses and major electives. Students will be able to search for courses using this attribute in much the same way that they search for courses that fulfill General Education requirements and foreign culture requirements.
The Honors attribute can also be used to cross-list an existing course with a Honors version of the course. For example, Visiting Distinguished Scholar Nancy Soderberg teaches her international relations course Real World Power/Superpower Myth as both a regular political science course and an Honors course with 10 spaces open for political science students who have at least a 3.0 GPA, and 10 spaces open for Honors students. The Honors Program encourages faculty from all disciplines to consider creative strategies such as this to increase the breadth of Honors course offerings. It also provides a way for faculty to offer innovative courses that might have enrollments too low to stand on their own as departmental courses. For more information about how the academic departments can offer Honors courses, please contact Dr. Mary Borg.
Faculty-Student Contacts Program
During the 2008-2009 academic year the Undergraduate Studies Council and Academic Affairs piloted the Undergraduate Coordinators Program in order to identify faculty members who would serve as the department/program contact for undergraduate students in the major interested in discussing the academic program, course selection and careers, as well as graduate, research and mentoring opportunities. The overall goal of this program is to increase faculty-student out-of-classroom contact, which research has shown improves student retention, graduation rates, academic achievement, personal and intellectual development, educational aspirations, college satisfaction, and perceptions of college quality.
Dr. Peter Magyari from the Department of Clinical and Applied Movement Science and Dr. Jennifer Kane from the Department of Educational Leadership and Counseling both served as Undergraduate Coordinators in their departments during the pilot phase of the program last year. At the end of the pilot, both Dr. Magyari and Dr. Kane reported that they had approximately 20 – 30 contacts with students per week in person. According to Dr. Kane, “Students really appreciate having a set person who they know is available to advise and counsel them through the program…I have received a lot of positive comments from students and parents related to the one-on-one attention our students receive and the help they get navigating through the complicated university system as well as the broad field of sport management.” Reflecting on the strengths of the program, Dr. Magyari stated, “Having a specified faculty to address these student concerns improved the likelihood of student contact with faculty. Quite often advising would call and set up an appointment while the student was in their office further improving likelihood of student contact with faculty.”
This semester the Undergraduate Studies Council and Academic Affairs have re-vamped the program and have renamed it the Faculty-Student Contacts Program. Faculty Contacts must be tenured, tenure-track, or full-time faculty instructors. Faculty Contacts will be granted course releases and a summer stipend, which will be provided by Academic Affairs. Faculty Contact activity will be recognized as part of the teaching component (non-credit-generating instruction) of the faculty assignment as reflected on the Faculty Activity Report for purposes of annual evaluation and valued accordingly in the tenure and promotion process. Department chairs select a faculty member in their department to put forward for the program. For the 2010-2011 academic year, 12 departments submitted an application and 7 departments were selected. Those departments included: Childhood Education, Communication, Criminology and Criminal Justice, English, Foundations and Secondary Education, Nutrition and Dietetics, and Sociology.
For more information about the Faculty-Student Contacts Program please contact the Office of Undergraduate Studies at (904) 620-2261 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
New Freshmen Seminars Offer Students Opportunities for Enrichment
In Fall 2010, the General Education Task Force will launch the first semester of the Venture Studies program. The first component of Venture Studies offers students a choice of first year seminars designed to help students understand the connections among foundational requirements, apply theory to practice, and provide the tools necessary to make a successful transition to college life. The goals of the Ventures Studies Program are to help students become reflective thinkers and integrate knowledge across the disciplines and apply it to real world problems. The seminar provides students with a learning community led by a faculty mentor committed to helping them determine their goals and support students in the process of creating a plan to reach them.
The fifteen faculty who are teaching the inaugural first year seminars are participating in a series of OFE workshops this spring to help them design courses that share a central pedagogy and have some common features including an introduction to community-based learning. The seminar breaks down the classroom walls by extending learning out into the Jacksonville community. Four of the fifteen seminars offer students an opportunity to enhance their experience in Venture Studies by participating in a Living and Learning Community, living together in the Venture Studies residence hall while taking either:
Personal Nutrition and Behavior Change
Staying Connected Beyond Facebook
Creativity: Inquires into the Habit of Inspiration.
The staff of Residential Life will offer enrichment opportunities tied to the course themes outside of the classroom.
In addition to the Venture Studies First Year Seminar courses that have a residential component, there are several other courses that satisfy either a General Education requirement or a requirement for the Leadership Studies Certificate. These seminars include:
Constructing Reality; What If You Can't Be Fixed?
The Golden Legend: Saints, Art, and Community
Extinction: Past, Present and Future
Did you ever wonder: Energy, Weather, Space, and Water
Is Revenge Sweet? The Psychology of Revenge & Forgiveness
Red, White, and Black: Landmarks of the Early Multicultural History of Jacksonville
Media, Crime, and the Criminal Justice System
Off the Page, Into the World: Reading, Writing, & Working for Social Justice
Through Colonial Eyes: Self and Other from Past to Present
For more information about the Venture Studies Program please visit the College of Arts and Sciences website.
Read Across America 2010
On March 2nd, the Volunteer Center, in partnership with the American Democracy Project and the Honors Program, launched the 2nd Annual Read Across America Day Event in honor of Dr. Seuss’ birthday. Read Across America Day is a national event that celebrates the joy of reading on the birthday of beloved children's author, Dr. Seuss. Motivating children to read is an important factor in student achievement and creating lifelong successful readers. Research has shown that children who are motivated and spend more time reading, do better in school.
After the positive feedback from last year's inaugural Read Across America event, it was decided to continue the program a second year. This year approximately 500 pre-k to 2nd grade students gathered in the UNF Robinson Theatre with over 50 UNF student volunteers who read to the kids and spread the word that reading is cool! During the week prior to the event, the UNF volunteers were required to attend an orientation session, where they were trained in best practices for reading to and interacting with children by professors from UNF's College of Education and Human Services.
The event included not only reading circles led by the UNF volunteers, but also guest appearances from Cat in the Hat and Thing 1 and Thing 2. UNF professor Marcia Ladendorff dressed as the Cat in the Hat as she read the book that her costume was inspired by. Also, a short Dr. Seuss film was shown and the UNF Swoop Squad brought ten kids on stage and taught them how to swoop!
After the event the Volunteer Center thanked the volunteers with a free lunch complete with green eggs and ham! In addition to its goals of raising student awareness about public and international affairs, and promoting student political participation, the ADP seeks to encourage civic and community engagement among students.
For more information about the American Democracy Project at UNF please visit our website.
Students Meet Mayoral Candidates in "Speed Dating" Style
On February 9th the Meet the Mayoral Candidates forum was held at the UNF University Center. During this event, UNF students as well as JCCI Forward members had an opportunity to ask the candidates questions as they rotated in a “speed dating” style between each candidate’s assigned tables. Department of Political Science Chair, Dr. Matt Corrigan, and Charter Review Commission Chair, Wyman Duggan, kicked off the event by explaining the role of the mayor in a consolidated government, and providing insights on the work that is being done to revamp Jacksonville’s charter. At the tables, each of the candidates first answered the question, “Why do you want to be the Mayor of Jacksonville during these difficult times?” The candidates that were present included: Robert Hutcherson, Warren Lee, Audrey Moran, and Brenda White. Mike Hogan and Kevin Hyde were not in attendance due to City Council commitments. The format of the event allowed for a high level of interaction between the participants and the candidates.
Students Learn and Contribute to the Community through E-Textbooks
In Fall 2010, Dr. Saurabh Gupta provided his students with a unique TLO experience that was centered on building e-Textbooks for students in under-developed countries who cannot afford paper-based textbooks. The development of the textbook was targeted at providing students with a better value for cost. The textbook created as a part of this project was “E-Business Strategy,” of which Dr. Gupta is one of the co-editors. The project also allowed students to explore the new world of electronic publishing and e-book readers, which are becoming increasingly important in the professional business environment. It also provided opportunities for publishing and presenting at conferences.
In small groups the students discussed and suggested improvements in the quality of assigned chapters in the e-business strategy text. The books will be released under creative commons license. This provided an opportunity for students to publish (with their names as contributors), and gave them an opportunity to make a significant contribution to a publication. By the end of the project, six chapters were written by the student groups. These are currently in pre-production evaluation by the Global text group. In addition, a conference paper written by three students regarding the use of e-book readers (such as the Amazon Kindle) has been accepted for presentation at the Southern Association of Information Systems conference to be held in Atlanta in March. The paper titled "Would Students Benefit from Using eBook eReaders in Academic Programs?” will also be published in the proceedings of the conference.
Nation's Capitol Provides First-Hand Experience in International Finance
Dr. Oliver Schnusenberg and Dr. Pieter de Jong led a group of eight finance and international business students on a TLO to Washington, DC in Spring 2009, which gave them the opportunity to experience first-hand how international transactions are regulated by the government. The objectives of this TLO were to provide students with an understanding of different international organizations and their operations involved in international business and finance; to illustrate the job opportunities available in international business and finance in the nation’s capital; and to reinforce an understanding of the importance of international business and finance.
The various agencies that were visited during this trip were the International Monetary Fund, Goldman Sachs, the Organization of American States, the Millennium Challenge Corporation, the CFP Board, the Ex-Im Bank, World Bank, the International Finance Corporation, and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency, and the United Nations. The planned visits were structured to allow students to obtain a better understanding of how government, semi-private, and private agencies facilitate international business, and in particular, international finance. At the end of the trip the students gave a presentation to the IB Society and FIS about the different organizations they visited. In an evaluation completed after the TLO, one of the students wrote, “Personally, this trip has been a transformational experience for me. Now, I have a better knowledge of these different organizations. It has broadened my horizons in so many ways, giving me a different perspective of the world.”