Struggling freshmen could be required to take new class

Rachel Christian

Freshman who are placed on academic probation during their first semester may have to take a new required academic progress course, if it is approved.

Dean of Students Angela Batista spoke to the Student Government Association (SGA) Nov. 6, about the possible creation of an academic skills class for struggling freshmen.

University Division is currently developing the course, and Batista asked members of SGA for their feedback.

The class would serve as a retention method for freshmen whose GPA falls below a 2.0, Batista said.

It would be more specific than a general studies skills class, and unlike Math 100 or English 100, the course would target freshmen who didn’t show signs of academic struggles prior to college.

The course would be a required pass or fail class, and class sizes would remain around 15 students to help ensure better one-on-one attention, Batista said.

It is unclear when the course would be implemented, but Batista said if the class gets the green light from administration, she would like to see it “in place as soon as possible.”

SGA members raised several questions during the discussion.

The cost to both the university and the students was a concern shared by several members.

“Yes, it may be expensive to hire the additional faculty we would need to teach these courses,” Batista said during the meeting. “But it is also expensive for students who have to keep retaking classes because they can’t pass them.”

SGA Vice President Nehal Ninad was one of the students who wasn’t sure if freshmen should have to pay for a class the university is requiring them to take.

“If you really want to help students improve in their studies, why are you focused on gaining money via tuition?” Ninad said after the meeting.

One of the freshman representatives suggested the study skills and academic strategies that would be taught in the new class be applied to UNIV 101, a mandatory course for all freshmen, as a preventative measure.