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.

Honor Code and Code of Non-Academic Conduct Online Tutorial — due August 25

Wesleyan has a vibrant living-learning community that values the independence and responsibility students have in their intellectual and residential life.  The Honor Code is in place to help ensure academic integrity and the Code of Non-Academic Conduct exists to help students navigate their new community.  Both seek to ensure a community where students can pursue their educational goals.  The Honor Code and Code of Non-Academic Conduct tutorial is designed to help students gain a better understanding of the expectations and the processes regarding violations of each Code.  It is online as of today, August 3, and must be submitted by August 25.  For more information, see the Student Handbook.

What You Need to Do to Earn the B.A. or…Wesleyan’s Degree Requirements!!

You’re thinking, “What??  Why do I need to know about requirements for the degree now?  I haven’t even started and have four years to get on this stuff.”  Well, this is on of those “it’s-never-too- early truisms” needed to get a handle on what you have to accomplish to graduate and walk across the podium on Andrus Field to receive your diploma in May of 2021 (which is eons away).

So that there are no questions or issues as you make decisions along the way, the following is the bottom line needed to earn the Bachelor of Arts at Wesleyan:

  • 32.00 credits with no oversubscription
  • 16.00 Wesleyan-specific credits
  • six semesters in residence
  • G.P.A. of 74.00
  • completion of one major

Check out the Faculty & Student Advising Handbook’s Academic Regulations and Degree Requirements and also its Common Advising Questions section for more information.  Contact Dean Brown if you have questions.

Advice from a Peer Advisor: What to Bring to Wes!

SO, WHAT SHOULD YOU BRING TO WESLEYAN?

The month before college starts is a great time to begin thinking about what to bring to school. Wesleying, the student-run blog, posts an annual packing list for first-year students. This is their one from last year, but keep your eyes out for the most current post.

Wesleying’s post is extensive, and honestly I don’t have everything on their list (what even are drawer liners?), but just make sure, at the bare minimum, you bring: sheets/blankets/pillows, medications, a towel, shampoo/soap, shower shoes, and clothes appropriate for all seasons (you’re going to need shorts, but also a warm winter coat/snow boots). If you were assigned to one of the dorms with no air conditioning, such as the Butterfields or Nicolson, a fan is a must. It can be hot in Middletown in both September and May.

The school supplies you should bring to college are much more flexible. Think about what type of materials you used in high school. Did you like using notebooks? Three-ring binders? Your computer? I personally prefer a cheap 1-subject notebook and folder for each class. Walmart sells notebooks during school supply season for 19 CENTS! But if you know that you prefer binders, journals, composition books, the back of napkins, by all means, bring those. Also, this year I have discovered the wonderful uses of multicolored pens for studying, and it changed my life. You can get a pack of eight different colors for $2.35 (also at Walmart). I have been using these for the past year and none of them have run out yet!

If you know that you prefer to take notes on your computer, it would still be a good idea to bring a few notebooks and folders just in case you change your mind. Also, occasionally professors will not allow you to use your laptop in class.

Additionally, keep in mind that a planner is a must for college, whether it’s on your phone or a physical one. Every year Wesleyan supplies free planners to students. Last year you could just pick one up at Usdan (the main dining hall). The free ones are usually nice and have both weekly and monthly calendars.

If you are working on a tight budget, or just prefer to be more sustainable, consider going to Waste Not, the annual sale of lightly used items. The sale usually occurs the weekend before classes start. They have mini-fridges, microwaves, chairs, rugs, etc.

If you forget anything, no worries, you are within walking distance of Rite Aid, as well Weshop, and you can order things from Amazon/wherever to the package center. But keep in mind that the package lines can be absurdly long the first few days of classes, so try and avoid ordering too much stuff online in those first few weeks unless you like chilling in lines.

Lastly, Faisal wrote a PA blog post about packing a few years ago that may also be helpful to read. He suggests investing in a three-hole punch if you like to use binders, which I concur is smart.

Those are my quick tips for packing. If you have any questions about what to bring to Wesleyan, feel free to email me at jleete@wesleyan.edu.

Jackie Leete ’19, Academic Peer Advisor

Fellowship and Scholarship Opportunities

Many nationally competitive scholarships and fellowships require nomination from Wesleyan University. As Associate Director of Fellowships, Internships and Exchanges, Kate Smith is a resource to interested applicants and supports them throughout the process. Kate is located within the Fries Center for Global Studies in order to support interested applicants connect their study abroad and language learning to future fellowships and scholarships. Fellowships and scholarships are available to applicants throughout and beyond their time at Wesleyan University. The most successful applicants start as early at their first year in an effort to ensure that academics, research, internships, independent projects, and more reflect their personal and professional interests as well as resonate with the mission and purpose of individual fellowships and scholarships. To learn or to meet with Kate, please visit: http://www.wesleyan.edu/cgs/fie/fellowships/index.html.

Study Abroad, Cultural Immersion, and Language Courses

A warm welcome to Wesleyan from the Office of Study Abroad, located in the Fries Center for Global Studies. Wesleyan considers study abroad to be an essential part of a liberal arts education for students majoring in any subject. A meaningful cross-cultural experience sharpens our understanding of ourselves in relation to the world in which we live. It is the best means for achieving the intercultural expertise and multilingualism that our students will need for exercising leadership in an increasingly interconnected world.

It may seem early to think about something that typically happens your sophomore, junior, or senior year, but advance planning is key to making sure you are academically prepared when the time comes to  apply for a program. It is important to keep up with your language courses – some programs require the equivalent of five semesters as a prerequisite. You should also work with your advisor and the Study Abroad staff to identify the best year or semester to fit study abroad into your academic plans. With this careful planning, students of any major may participate in this unique opportunity for global learning.

Contact information: Fries Center for Global Studies, Fisk Hall 201, studyabroad@wesleyan.edu, (860) 685-2550, www.wesleyan.edu/studyabroad

Deadline for Course Registration Preferences — August 1, 5 p.m.

The time is drawing near to submit your ranked preferences for seven First Year Seminars and seven intro/general courses.  Check that you have a balanced schedule and that your plan of study:

  • has three of four courses in each of the three divisions (NSM, SBS, HA);
  • includes at least one in a subject you love and at least one in a new area to explore;
  • is distributed over the week and within the day (not all jammed up together);
  • has diversity in size and and format (small seminar, bigger lecture); and
  • has courses with different kinds of assignments/assessments.

If your interests lie with a more structured major, keep an eye on the introductory/gateway course, but other than that explore, explore, explore.  Take advantage of Wesleyan’s great liberal arts curriculum, and you will begin fulfilling the GenEd Expectations and refining your Competencies (see 7/26 posting).

On Thursday, the second day of orientation, you will be meeting with your faculty advisor, who needs to approve your plan to make it official.  You may revise your plan after that discussion or after you talk to department faculty at the Academic Forum that afternoon.  You can make these course changes during the Adjustment Period the next day on Friday morning and/or during the Drop/Add period, which runs through the first two weeks of classes.

So don’t sweat it now.  Read the Advising Guidelines, view the videos, and enjoy your exploration of WesMaps, Wesvising, and the planning process.  Then press submit!

Check your WesPortal after 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday, August 22 for the results of the scheduling program—your course enrollments for the semester.  You will also see your faculty advisor assignment as well .

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.

Why Foreign Language Study is A Good Idea for Every Student!

Dean’s Note:  This is a great piece about the benefits of foreign-language study at Wesleyan.  As entering first-years, you are in a prime position either to begin a new language, especially if you want to reach the level needed to study in a country whose language Wes teaches, or to build upon your previous learning for greater fluency and deeper cultural immersion.

Why Foreign-Language Study is a Good Idea for Every Student  

We assume if you have reasons to learn a particular language (to study, work, travel, or live abroad or for resources not fully available in English translation), you already know why it is important. Here are reasons to study any language besides English or whatever you regard as your native language:

  1. Many employers, professional schools, and graduate schools see serious study of a second language (potentially, a double-major) as evidence that you can (a) put yourself more easily in others’ (colleagues’, clients’) shoes and (b) communicate more effectively even in English.
  2. You will never know your own language and culture more deeply than by studying another–by looking at it from the outside. Learning to thrive with the unfamiliar is often linked to creativity in many intellectual and professional contexts.
  3. Language learning teaches you to think more clearly and sharpens your brain’s ability to make sense of the world.
  4. Deep study of another culture through its language brings home how much of value will never be made available in English.
  5. Puzzling out another language and culture will help you understand (and empathize with) the difficulties of non-anglophone immigrants, colleagues, clients, and travelers in the U.S., even if you never leave American shores.
  6. Learning another language well makes it easier to learn any language in the future. Even if you never need this, the experience–especially if you study abroad–will make you far more confident in your ability to face any intellectual or professional challenge.  
  7. Foreign-language courses fit easily into study plans: offered on highly varied schedules, they provide a stimulating (and fun!) break from problem-set driven, heavy-reading or arts courses.

Wesleyan offers:

Arabic language and culture: http://www.wesleyan.edu/academics/faculty/aaissa/profile.html

American Sign Language: http://www.wesleyan.edu/lctls/courses.html

Classics (Greek and Latin): http://wesleyan.edu/classics/

East Asian Studies (Chinese, Japanese, Korean): http://wesleyan.edu/ceas/

German studies: http://wesleyan.edu/german/

Hebrew language and culture: http://www.wesleyan.edu/academics/faculty/dkatz01/profile.html

Romance Languages & Literatures (French, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish): http://wesleyan.edu/romance/

Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies program: http://wesleyan.edu/russian/

Any other language: http://www.wesleyan.edu/lctls/silp.html

Take the Placement Exam if you have questions about the level at which you should begin, and if you have questions prior to your meeting with your faculty advisor, do not hesitate to contact Dean Brown’s office at 860-685-2758 with questions.