Second semester of FYS won’t help

IUS Horizon

With the IUS graduation rate standing at 30 percent, there’s pressure on the administration to figure out how to retain more students.

This is why the Student Success and Persistence Task Force was created last spring.

Even though the SSPTF came up with a well-researched report detailing previous research and what could be done, one of their recommended changes is unusual and, in my opinion, a bit misguided.

The suggestion is to add a second semester to First-Year Seminar classes.

This proposed change probably wouldn’t go in effect until next spring, and it wouldn’t affect students who are already here and have taken the course. If approved, it would only affect students who enter after the proposed changes take effect.

This is a poor solution to the problem. We’re not going to encourage students to stay here by giving them more hurdles to jump through before they can get their degree.

Responsibilities

The question not being addressed is why students don’t want to stay at IU Southeast. We need to figure out how to encourage students to stay here, not give them more responsibilities.

If some students aren’t quite cut out for college, more requirements will only discourage and daunt them.

Students, in general, don’t want any more work to do. As nice as it sounds, there aren’t a lot of students who are here just to learn. Many of them already have full- or part-time jobs on the side, and many also have families to take care of, as well.

Learning just for its own sake is the exception rather than the rule. We’re here because we need a degree for a future or current job. That’s about it.

I think most IUS students look at education as a light form of mental torture. That’s the mentality many students have adopted. Rather than taking time to really digest and understand material, we look at a textbook and think, “Do we have to?”

I know I’ve often wondered that same thing myself. After all, I have yet to meet a person that did a PowerPoint presentation on amino acids just because they felt like doing it.

We are only here because we made a choice to sit through these classes as a means to an end. I just don’t think FYS II is going to change or encourage anything.

Have an honest five-minute conservation with a random student on campus. Ask them if they learned much of anything through FYS, and ask them if they think they need a second semester of it.

Course goals

The report by the SSPTF listed its goals for a second semester of FYS. Its goals include teaching students to use tools available on campus, exploring courses leading to a major and also helping increase their financial skills along with their academic and social networking skills.

I’m sure the course would teach great information, and I’m sure some students could benefit from it. I just don’t think the best way to treat an amputated arm would be to put a Band-Aid on the wound.

Graduation rate

It just won’t solve the problem of our low graduation rate.

There are not enough reasons for students to want to stay here. Even with our dorms, this is still a commuter campus.

Only 5 percent of currently enrolled students live on campus. As students finish their required classes, they leave. I think that’s one of the core problems.

If IU Southeast really wants to see a sharp increase in students, they should set the bar lower and make it easier for people to make it through college. That’s a lousy solution, but it would work.

I’d rather see this campus become a hot-spot for degree-seeking people in this area and beyond. I wish we had some of the standing as other schools.

As a high school student interested in journalism, I thought of attending Franklin College before I thought of IU Southeast.

I just wish students were attracted to this school for what it offers, not just because it’s close and cheap.

When I went to the IUS Open House on March 5, I interviewed several prospective students, and when I asked why they chose IU Southeast, almost all of them said it was because it was cheap or they wanted to stay in this area after high school.

We can do better.

Let’s pour some of money from wasteful projects like the $15,000 Microsoft Surface tabletop computer — located in the University Grounds Coffee Shop — or the $3,000 wooden Grenadier carving.

In the future, let’s encourage our campus leaders to use that money for something educational that’ll actually improve our school.

By JOSEPH DEVER

Senior Newspaper Editor

jwdever@umail.iu.edu