If you were to teach a freshman seminar, what would it be?
If I could find the time to teach a freshman seminar, I think I would call it something like, “Understanding Our University.” I believe that it is critical for students to learn about their university soon after they get here, so they are better able to understand the how’s and why’s of the many things they will experience during their time here. It is important for students to understand how the university runs, who is doing what and why certain things are happening. In this seminar, I would discuss the governing body of the university and elaborate on ways students can get involved and make changes.
Our students are already involved in many activities on campus, so I would teach and encourage them to participate in improving academics – what we mean by pursuing academic excellence – and better understand the university budget. I also think it’s important for students to learn how to manage large structures and systems. Our students here run Unitrans and the ASUCD Coffee House, and these are huge operations. So, it would be useful to teach these students about financial stability, the importance of planning and other issues that come with running large operations.
I would make sure that my seminar was fun and even provocative, with a lot of questions and answers. One day we might discuss the history of UC Davis and another we could have Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Ralph Hexter come in and discuss the budget. The goal would be to teach students how to interpret the happenings at the university so they are eager and better prepared to participate and make a difference in the operations of their own university early in their college careers.
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