UWG 1101: The First Year University Experience, Fall 2010                                                                                          Updated 9/30/10

Dr. Maria Doyle

MW 12-12:50, HUM 228


Office and Phone: TLC 2-248, 678-839-4853

Email: mdoyle@westga.edu

Office Hours: Wednesday 5-6 pm and Thursday 10 am-noon, 1-3 pm and by appt.

Virtual Office Hours: T 9 am-noon (log in to CourseDen and use the chat function)

Website: http://www.westga.edu/~mdoyle


Course description: UWG 1101 is designed to help students succeed at West Georgia: succeed academically as well as personally and socially. The fundamental focus of the class is to provide an understanding of the basic structure of critical thinking and of academic disciplines in order to increase learning in the university classroom. In addition, the course will provide an overview of resources, which will help to ensure student success in the university classroom. Furthermore, UWG 1101 provides students with essential information about the University as a whole, its rules, procedures, and resources. UWG 1101 classes include subjects that cut across the academic and nonacademic lines of school; these subjects include time management, college student skills, and computer and portal skills. This year the course will also incorporate the discussion and practice of journaling as a personal motivator and a path to self-discovery, fulfillment, and success. Students are required to attend class and to interact with their instructors and classmates. While students must take responsibility for their own learning, the course attempts to support and enhance that responsibility by making the class a learning community within the University.


Course objectives:

·                     To promote for first-year students a positive adjustment and assimilation into the University

·                     To help students learn to balance their freedom with a sense of responsibility as part of the process of enhancing self knowledge and self-confidence

·                     To develop a network of colleagues

·                     To involve students in the total life of the University

·                     To reduce student anxiety about written and oral communication

·                     To enhance college-level and analytical reading and provide supplemental practice in applying the knowledge students gain in other first-year courses

·                     To provide students additional training, practice, experience, and knowledge in the following skill areas: decision-making, goal setting, planning, time management, and group/teamwork


Learning Outcomes

·                     Students will identify and utilize a set of adaptive study, coping, critical thinking, logical problem solving, and other academic/personal/social success skills;

·                     Students will demonstrate an understanding of some of the most typical pedagogical strategies of their professors' teaching and presentation styles;

·                     Students will identify and understand their own personal learning style and how to best adapt to different instructional strategies in the classroom;

·                     Students will demonstrate their understanding of the function of a mentor and how to go about finding one;

·                     Students will summarize basic information about UWG: its purposes, organization, rules and regulations, people, services, resources, and opportunities for student development;

·                     Students will utilize the following resources available to them at UWG: the Library, the EXCEL Center, and the Health Center; students will also identify the location and function of other important offices on campus, such as the Student Development Center, the Writing Center, the Mathematics Tutoring Center, and the Career Services Office;

·                     Students will identify some of the major health and wellness issues for students;

·                     Students will document their personal goals for careers and academic majors and their plans for achieving these goals;

·                     Students will demonstrate basic skills in computer literacy through activities involving the use of e-mail and the Internet;

·                     Students will demonstrate personal responsibility and self-direction regarding their education;

·                     Students will identify the benefits of a college degree;

·                     Students will identify and demonstrate an appreciation of the value of diversity and of a liberal arts perspective in their education;

·                     Students will identify elements of democratic structures within which they will be civically engaged on the UWG campus, in the larger community and in the State of Georgia;

·                     Students will examine and discuss ways in which UWG students, faculty, and staff identify, prioritize and debate issues in ways that allow and support the principles of civic engagement and democracy.



University of West Georgia: Cornerstone

Erin Gruwell. Freedom Writers Diary

UWG Journal



Preparation, Attendance, and Participation (25%): Class participation – your preparation for class meetings and your willingness to contribute to our discussions – is an important component of your grade.  After all, this class is designed to help you make the most of your college education, and you can't succeed at that by being only a passive participant in the classroom. Consistent, punctual attendance is thus the minimum expected of all students, and after four absences, you will lose half a letter grade in this category for each additional class missed. You do not need to explain your absences to me – I understand that sometimes illness, childcare issues, uncooperative automobiles or unforeseen emergencies prevent you from coming to class – but use those allowed days for real emergencies, as I will not differentiate between “excused” and  “unexcused” absences. Doing well in class participation, however, means more than just coming to class: students who come to class regularly but don't participate can earn no better than a "C" in this area (and other factors like lateness, lack of preparation, repeatedly failing to bring books or other required materials or exceeding the allowed number of absences will bring that grade down).  So how can you do better than that? Read the material carefully before class.  Participate actively, thoughtfully and respectfully in discussions of it. Engage actively and thoughtfully in in-class group projects.

Journal (30%): Students will complete weekly journal entries based on prompts given in class. Students should bring their journals to ALL class meetings, as I may collect them at any time. Complete guidelines for regular journal entries are posted on CourseDen.

Final Project (20%): Students will work on a group project at the end of the semester. Students will present their projects to the class in the last several weeks of the semester and will then participate in a discussion with the larger group about their presentations. Each group will also submit a portfolio of work that went into the project including an overview of each participant's contributions, a listing of your research sources and a 2-3 page write-up of the project. Further details about the project will be provided later in the semester.

Quizzes and Daily Class Assignments (10%): Students will periodically take in-class quizzes or have in-class writing assignments. Students will also periodically receive brief daily assignments designed to prepare students for future class discussions.

Campus Events (15%): Students will attend at least three out-of-class campus events during the semester and write a short response to them (250-300 words each). Students must attend one academic event (such as a panel discussion on current events or a speaker sponsored by an academic department), one cultural event (an on-campus film screening, a student performance at the Townsend Center, a music recital or art exhibit) and one service or social event (this may include a campus service project, an athletic event, or an event sponsored by Student Activities). In your written response for each event, you should address the following issues:

·         Why did you choose the event, and what were your expectations of it?

·         What did you learn from the experience – about the topic, about the campus, about the participants, about yourself or your interest in the subject or type of event? You may certainly describe your reaction or emotional response to the event, but go beyond that: consider why or how you reacted to the event as you did. Use your critical thinking skills – they're not just for your textbooks!



Additional Information and Policies:

Grading: When I grade your work, I'll be looking for several things. At a basic level, you need to complete the requirements of the assignment: if I ask for a two page paper, and you write me one page (or a page and a line), you haven't done the assignment. But I'm not just interested in seeing you fill space; that's a waste of everybody's time. Rather, I want to see that you've given serious thought to the assignment, that you're using the task at hand to push yourself, to strengthen your thinking and writing skills and to give serious consideration to how best to engage yourself in your college career. Finally, you need to communicate clearly: grammar and spelling are for life, not just English class, because they help you get your message across to your audience. Thus, proofread your work to ensure that what you mean to say is what you're actually saying.


I do not give 'makeup' assignments, and I don't offer 'extra credit' opportunities here or in other classes: you will all be assessed by the same methods on the same assignments.


Academic Honesty Policy: Academic dishonesty involves any attempt on your part to claim ideas and/or specific phrasing that you have gotten from elsewhere – including, but not limited to, Wikipedia, the dictionary, The New York Times, Sparknotes, an article you found that just sounds "better" than you think you could say it or your Aunt Sally – as your own or to fabricate sources or evidence so as to make your argument sound stronger. Plagiarism thus includes actions such as copying papers or online responses from the internet or other sources (including word-for-word copying and paraphrasing without citation), cheating on exams, turning in work written by someone else or turning in work that you previously submitted for another course.

Special Needs: If you have a registered disability that will require accommodation, please see me at the beginning of the semester; I will be happy to discuss your situation. If you have a disability that you have not yet registered through the Disabled Student Services Office, please contact Dr. Ann Phillips in Student Development (678-839-6428).


Classroom Etiquette: When you’re in class, that is the thing that you’re doing – the only thing. Thus, talking on your cell phone, texting, listening to headphones, getting up to leave in the middle of class, sleeping, doing work for other classes, writing out your bills, knitting or otherwise engaging in activities not related to the discussion for this class will not be tolerated. Multitasking is not your friend during class sessions – it disrupts your focus and means that you’re missing material, not to mention losing points from your grade. Moreover, it’s rude to those around you, both the professor and your fellow students. I expect you to conduct yourself professionally: come prepared, pay attention, turn off and stow cell phones and other electronic devices. Stay awake – I do notice and take note, whether or not I take time away from other students’ learning to wake you up. All students are expected to participate in classroom activities and discussions, and in doing so, each student is expected to show respect for others and their contributions; mutual civility creates an atmosphere in which everyone can explore a variety of positions and ideas.


Late Policy: Late assignments will be assessed a penalty of one half of a letter grade for each day that the assignment is late. Assignments that are more than four days late (including weekend days and holidays) will receive an automatic "F." Extensions will be granted only if you have a verifiable medical or other sufficiently serious ("seriousness" will be determined at the instructor's discretion) excuse and you request an extension (in person, via email or phone) before the paper deadline. Regardless of your situation, no extensions will be granted beyond the four-day late period. Having papers or exams for other classes, a schedule conflict with work or other responsibilities, or simply being "swamped" are not sufficiently serious excuses and will not result in your being granted an extension. Late penalties for papers turned in outside of class will be assessed based on when I receive the paper, since if you do not hand it to me directly, I cannot verify when you turned it in. For the final project portfolios, NO LATE WORK WILL BE ACCEPTED.


Schedule of Readings and Assignments:

Students should have completed all reading assignments and Cornerstone written questions by the date they are listed on the syllabus. This schedule represents my current plan for the course; circumstances throughout the semester may necessitate some revisions, which will be announced in class and posted to the CourseDen page.


M         8/16      Introduction: Making the Most of Your University Experience

W         8/18      Cornerstone, Ch. 3 (CHANGE): Available on CourseDen


M         8/23      The Liberal Arts Core and Academic Resources

W         8/25      Continue discussion of Ch. 3


M         8/30      Cornerstone, Ch. 4 (PERSIST)

W         9/1        Cornerstone,Ch. 7 (LEARN)


M         9/6        LABOR DAY (no class meeting)

W         9/8        MAP-Works Survey, Pt. 1 (meet in Adamson 126)


M         9/13      Cornerstone, Ch. 8 (READ)

W         9/15      Continue discussion of Ch. 8


M         9/20      Freedom Writers Diary, Freshman and Sophomore Years

W         9/22      Cornerstone, Ch. 9 (RECORD)


M         9/27      Continue discussion of Ch. 9

                        Library Assignment

                        First Campus Event Response due in class.

W         9/29      Guest Speaker: Dr. Bill Schaniel, International Programs


M         10/4      Collegiate Learning Assessment (meet in Coliseum 2102)

W         10/6      Discuss Cornerstone,Chapter 6 (THINK)

                        Last day to withdraw with a W


M         10/11    Freedom Writers Diary, Junior and Senior Years and continue discussion of Ch. 6

W         10/13    Guest Speaker: Lt. Ned Watson, Public Safety

Th-F     10/14-15            FALL BREAK


M         10/18    Assessing Information: Online and Print

W         10/20    No class meeting: work on journals and events response.


M         10/25    Cornerstone, Ch. 5 (COMMUNICATE) and 12 (RELATE)

W         10/27    Freedom Writers Diary, Epilogue and Additional Diary Entries

                        Second Campus Event Response due in class.


M         11/1      Cornerstone, Ch. 11 (INFORM)

W         11/3      Continue discussion of Ch. 11

                        Project proposals due in class


M         11/8      Research and analysis workshop

W         11/10    Guest Speaker: Debra Dugan, Health Services


M         11/15    MAP-Works Survey, Pt. 2 (Meet in Adamson 126)

W         11/17    Group Presentations


M         11/22    Group Presentations

W         11/24    THANKSGIVING BREAK


M         11/29    Group Presentations

                        Third Campus Event Response due in class.

W         12/1      Final lecture and discussion


Presentation Portfolios due: Dec. 8 by 11 am