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Making the climb from good to great

Author: Communications

Posted on Sep 19, 2013

Category: UNB Fredericton

Faculty of arts designs course to help students develop skills for success

ARTS 1100 helps first year students develop the skills to succeed in university.Making the transition from high school to university can be both exciting and daunting. The University of New Brunswick's faculty of arts in Fredericton launched a new course this fall to help first-year arts students make that transition a little easier.

ARTS 1100 (9 credit hours) can now be taken in lieu of ARTS 1000 (6 credit hours) - the bedrock course that every arts student takes in his or her first year. While the content of both courses is the same (i.e. taking students on an expedition through the development of western thought), ARTS 1100 offers an extra 3 credit hours as an additional tutorial each week to help students develop the foundational skills that an arts degree requires: critical thinking, reading comprehension, research and academic writing.

Students enrolled in the course represent the full range of the academic spectrum, says Dr. Deborah Johnston, who coordinates the ARTS 1000 and 1100 courses and provides academic advising for arts students.

"It's about giving students the opportunity to move from good to great," Johnston says. "It's up to the students to decide what 'good' and 'great' mean for them."

Many students coming out of high school are shocked when they get their first assignments back. Most students have to devise new ways of studying, learning and communicating over the course of their program.  When surveyed about what they would like to have had more of, ARTS 1000 students overwhelmingly expressed a desire for more arts-based skill development.  

"Arts 1100 recognizes the needs of a broad spectrum of students who wish to take the skills and habits they have and enhance them," says Andrew Titus, advisor for students in the faculty of arts.

"It is our belief that the skills learned in this class, in conjunction with the supportive learning community that they will be a part of, will spill over into their other courses and allow them to become much more well rounded academics."  

While ARTS 1100 is new this year, programming to support first-year students exists in other faculties as well.  UNIV 1003, now in its third year on the Saint John campus, helps new students understand the learning process and acquire essential academic skills including critical thinking, reading comprehension, research, academic writing, and working effectively in groups. The course provides generalist approaches from faculty members in arts, engineering and sciences.  Also, on both the Fredericton and Saint John campus, students in any year or faculty can register for free workshops that coach students on everything from improving their writing skills to learning how to more effectively take notes.

Students showed immediate interest in the ARTS 1100 course; the course was nearly full within days of registration opening. "We are very excited about having so many students show such immediate interest in a pilot course like this," Titus says.

Please direct media inquiries to Kelsey Seymour.

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