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You want your first year at college to be more than just prerequisites and busy work. We agree with you. With the First-Year Sequence, you’ll be immersed in a series of courses designed to help you sharpen your academic skills and help you find your point of view—and defend it persuasively—on current issues. You’ll never hear yourself asking, “Why do I have to learn this?” Instead, you’ll ask, “How can I learn more?”
What is the First-Year Sequence?
The First-Year Sequence is an introductory curriculum for students who come to the University with fewer than 24 college credits. According to Dr. Pepicello, this curriculum provides students with courses that allow them to develop academic skills so that they understand the context of what they’re learning and how it can apply to real-life situations.
Why did you develop this program?
Because UOPX students are balancing work and family along with their education, they need a different context in not only accessing education, but also in making their way through higher education. These Next Generation Learners will find that the First-Year Sequence is designed to integrate their lives with the educational process.
You mentioned in the press your holistic approach to student learning. Can you discuss with some depth?
Tradition curriculum, says Dr. Pepicello, is generally presented with an assumption that students already have an understanding of higher education or academics in general. This is not always applicable for our students. A holistic approach allows us to make education relevant to help students understand how it fits in their lives.
Is this program a form of remediation?
This program is a not a form of remediation says Dr. Pepicello. He continues to explain that the First-Year Sequence is a rethinking of academic systems given who today’s students are. It is an approach to relevancy in content and presenting it in a meaningful way.
On many occasions, you have discussed the “non-traditional” student. Can you expand on this term and explain how students are different today than in the past?
Because today only 27% of all undergraduate students in the United States are directly out of high school and 73% may be working, single parents or financially independent from their guardians, higher education must evolve, says Dr. Pepicello. There must be recognition that this Next Generation Learner is going to have a different attitude and perspective on learning.
How will this program help students and learning? Do you have any proof points?
The program, still in its infancy, does not yet have any data that we can point to yet. However, we will examine completion rates, increases in income for students as they progress and then ask alumni how UOPX has had an impact on them.
UOPX is noted for its learner-centric approach. This appears to be an example of this thinking. What other models are you exploring for the future?
The more we can learn about the non-traditional student, the more we will learn how to integrate education in their lives, says Dr. Pepicello. As for future initiatives, we are examining a relevant and gradual approach to remedial studies.