Get to Know Your Professors this Fall

Your first semester is not too soon to get to know your professors.  Not only will you feel more confident about course material from going to their office hours (really, they schedule them for you!), but also you will learn more about the department, the discipline/field, research opportunities, and the university.  Make a point to go to office hours once a week for each of your courses.  If you don’t have specific course questions, bring in an article that might be of shared interest.  An additional option is to invite your professor or advisor to lunch and bring another classmate or advisee with you.  Establishing a good academic relationship will help the faculty member to write you a substantive letter of recommendation should you need one for a summer job or internship.

Check out the piece by former Student Academic Resources Intern, Claire Wright ’16, entitled “How Do I Get to Know My Professors?”   She has some good suggestions.  Note that while you can still take a professor to lunch, the process is different now.  You will be hearing more about it from Dean Mike, the Vice President for Student Affairs, sometime in early September.

 

Get a Writing Mentor! Apply by 9/18

Writing can be scary, but let us help you start the new year out strong! Apply for a Writing Mentor! A Writing Mentor will meet with you privately each week to help you with writing in all of your classes. Mentors are trained to help you at all stages of the writing process, whether it be brainstorming, structure, grammar, style, or time management. By having a mentor, you will be able to continuously improve your writing throughout the semester. Start out strong, and end even stronger!

We work with students of all writing abilities and in all disciplines, and all services are, of course, free.

Please apply here, by Monday, September 18th at 8:00 AM. We will notify new mentees by the 20th.

We look forward to working with you!

Best, Emery Frick, Ford Fellow in the Writing Programs

307 Shapiro Writing Center, 116 Mt. Vernon St., Middletown, CT 06459  (860) 685-3125   writingworks@wesleyan.edu

Academic Support Resources

So where do you go or who do you call if you need academic support or study resources to help ensure your success in mastering course material, managing your time, or clearing your head to focus on work?

Check out the amazing list on the

Student Academic Resources homepage!

Some resources to highlight include your class dean–Dean Brown–and your faculty advisor (for academic and general advice and referrals), your professors (for each course), peer tutors (for course material, available after the drop/add period), the peer advisors (especially for study skills and planning), accessibility services (for a range of accommodations), the dean for international student affairs, the Writing and Math Workshops, the Quantitative Analysis Center, and the Language Resource Center.

There can, at times, be a fine line between academic and personal life, so if you need to regain your academic focus and figure out something that has been distracting you from your coursework, don’t hesitate to call Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) to set up an appointment with a therapist or contact one of the chaplains in the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life (ORSL).  The Health Center and WesWell are also good resources in this regard as are the Office of Equity and Inclusion and the new Student Equity Resource Center.

We want you to be intellectually engaged, challenged and successful, so take advantage of the resources in place to support you in the process.

Thoughts from a Peer Advisor: On Being a Student-Athlete

Welcome to Wesleyan! One of the most common questions peer advisors get asked is simply, “Will I have time to get all my school work done if I’m also an athlete?” Being a student-athlete at Wesleyan is an incredibly rewarding and fulfilling way to spend you’re time here, but it can also be stressful. But not to worry! There are tons of resources at your fingertips to help you stay on top of your responsibilities on and off the field (or, for me, in and out of the pool).

Going into my freshman year, my greatest anxiety about starting school came from my fear that I simply would not have the time to finish homework or study for tests while swimming nearly year-round. I quickly realized that the key to balancing my time was to make a detailed schedule at the start of every week and stick to it. I would write down everything that needed to be done for each of my classes at the start of the week, include all the time I had committed to training, and make sure I had time to myself to have fun and relax. You would be surprised at how helpful laying out your schedule can be, especially when it feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done.

But not everything has to be done on your own. I asked my swim coach if he had any advice or if he could help me stay on top of everything. Communication was key. Not only did he assure me that I was capable of completing everything and achieving goals in the pool, he made it clear that he was as committed to my success in the classroom as he was to my success as a swimmer. He would have my support if I needed extra time to study and had to sit out a practice or if I needed to leave practice early in order to make it to Biology lab. Though it may not even be necessary to have to miss a practice, it is comforting to know that your professors and coaches are not fighting for your time – they are fighting for your success.

But perhaps you are worried less about staying on top of schoolwork and more worried about having some time to yourself outside of the library or the gym. As I’m sure you know, Wesleyan is full of opportunities to have fun and be free outside of both of those venues.  I strongly encourage every student-athlete to try something new! Between theater, music, dance, clubs, and many others, there are definitely ways to divide your time and have fun away from a sports team.

There is no doubt that student-athletes have busy lives. There are times when we have to make sacrifices, but it is always worth it. Not only do we get to be proud of our success in school, but we also have a whole separate part of our life, with a second family, that has our backs. Though having two demanding commitments can be stressful, we (the peer advisors), class deans, our professors, coaches, and are all here to offer support. Our number one goals are to see you achieve and to make sure you’re happy during your time at Wes. I am confident you will do great things as a student and as an athlete! See you soon!

Aidan Winn ’18, Academic Peer Advisor

End-of-Fall-Semester Travel Plans — Hold Off on Ticket Purchase

While it may seem early to be thinking about this, some of you are already looking at plane, train, or bus schedules for a trip back home or elsewhere at the end of the fall semester.  Don’t buy your ticket yet!  Wait until you know your final exam schedule.  While some courses have papers, others have sit-down exams that can be scheduled up to the last day of finals, so you should wait until you have confirmed your course schedule before purchasing any tickets.   You should not assume that you will be able to take your exam earlier than its scheduled time.

Course meeting days/times determine the exam period to which they are assigned.  There are three exam periods a day for three hours each from December 12 at 7 p.m. through December 16 at 5 p.m.

Check out the Registrar’s website for other calendars as well as the academic regulations.

Academic Reflection Essay — Do It!

If you have not had a chance to do your Academic Reflection Essay, located in your “Orientation Checklist & Resources,”  make sure that you complete and submit it in within the next week.  It is a good exercise in processing the past as you think about the future and helps you to focus in on how best to take advantage of your educational opportunities at Wes.

Although essay submission was requested for last month (ahem), this is the chance to get started on the right path.

The Four Competencies at Wesleyan

COMPETENCIES AT WESLEYAN:  Approaches to Consider in Your Plan of Study

Flexible Framework for Considering Competencies

While at Wesleyan, students engage in the deep study of an academic field once they have declared a major, and they develop academic breadth through their general education coursework. In addition, they will also build broad, interdisciplinary skills through all of their curricular, co-curricular, and extracurricular activities. Wesleyan has developed a flexible framework built on four competencies to allow students to engage voluntarily in a process of reflection (both in conjunction with advisors and on their own).

The four competencies:

  • Mapping = navigating complex environments (NCE)
  • Expressing = writing, expressing, communicating (WEC)
  • Mining = quantitative analysis and interpretation (QAI)
  • Engaging = negotiating intercultural differences (NID)

Mapping = Navigating Complex Environments (NCE)

Mapping is defined as the ability to examine the relationship of objects and spaces in the material and imagined worlds. It involves developing tools to create, manipulate, and navigate constructed and natural environments and charting movement through and interactions with space and its consequences.

Mapping courses may include courses across the curriculum, from the arts (e.g., dance, studio art, and art history), to the natural sciences and mathematics, as well as courses from interdisciplinary programs. Example skills include typography, computation, material science, modeling, and mapping.

Expressing = Writing, Expressing, Communicating (WEC)

Expressing is defined as the ability to express thoughts, ideas, and emotions to others effectively and concisely through a variety of media.

Expressing courses are principally but not solely in the humanities, arts, and social and behavioral sciences. These courses assign written, verbal, and creative projects, and performances that help students develop their ability to express thoughts and ideas to others.

Mining = Quantitative Analysis and Intepretation (QAI)

Mining is defined as the ability to use numerical ideas and methods to describe and analyze quantifiable phenomena. It involves learning about the measurement, analysis, summary, and presentation of information, including about the natural world, as well as answering questions, solving problems, making predictions, and testing and constructing theories by employing mathematical, statistical, logical, and scientific reasoning.

Mining courses are principally but not solely in mathematics, natural sciences, and social and behavioral sciences.

Engaging = Negotiating Intercultural Differences (NID)

Engaging is defined as the ability to comprehend and respect diverse cultural heritages and perspectives in relation to their wider historical and social contexts. It involves reading, speaking, or understanding a second or third language (contemporary or classical); gaining experience working, studying, or traveling abroad or in other unfamiliar cultural contexts; and participating in the political and social life of local and global communities.

Engaging courses may include courses across the curriculum, from language, literature, and culture courses, to courses in history, science in society, religion, government, and philosophy, among other areas.

The Advising Guidelines!

If you haven’t checked out the Advising Guidelines, do so ASAP.  Important advice about how to think about your planning your course of study and specific advice about a range of topics.  It includes pearls of wisdom from your class dean–really! ;)–and sage advice from professors and the academic peer advisors.  Selected topics will be featured over the next couple of weeks, and reading now (or again) will reinforce all the good info you know.