May 01, 2008

Instructors needed to teach 'New Student Seminar'

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Making the transition from high school to college often isn't as easy as it appears. Southern Illinois University Carbondale is looking for about a dozen volunteers to help first-year students successfully make that move.

The SIUC course, "UNIV 101: The New Student Seminar," is a popular elective freshman-level class giving students the support and resources needed to achieve academic and personal goals, be successful and graduate, according to Meera Komarraju, assistant professor and director of the psychology undergraduate program.

All that's needed is 13 new instructors to serve as role models and mentors, guiding students along their first steps on the pathway to success. The UNIV 101 Faculty and Staff Workshop, set for 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily May 19-21, will prepare faculty and staff to teach the course on a volunteer basis. Participating does not obligate one to teach the course; rather it's a chance to check it out and see if this rewarding experience is for you. Participants must have at the minimum a master's degree and supervisor approval to attend the workshop and to teach the class.

"This course is international," said Virginia Rinella, director of the Freshman Seminar Program and Pre-Major Advisement Center. "It's designed to help students make a successful transformation from high school into college. They learn time management, the purpose of an education, the differences between high school and college and much more. It gives them the tools to operate in a new country. The confidence it builds will permeate the rest of their experience here."

Research indicates a course like this helps students connect to and become involved in their new environment, contributing to their overall success and satisfaction in University life and even beyond. UNIV 101 instructors help students identify purposes of their University education, develop important skills for success in academic and vocational endeavors, understand and meet faculty academic performance expectations, identify and utilize resources and services available to them at SIUC, and interact with positive role models in the campus community, Rinella said.

Participating instructors find teaching the three-credit hour class rewarding due to the individual and personal interaction with incoming students it provides, Rinella said. They also find the training workshop benefits them as instructors within their own field.

Pre-registration is necessary for the workshop and attendance required for those teaching the seminar this fall. To sign up for the workshop or for more information, contact Rinella at or by calling 618/453-4351.