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Learn success, earn credits

This term, students can study how to become successful – both in college and in life – and for the first time can earn credits for the effort.

Three courses in college success, the shared dream of three teachers, will offer help to struggling students as well as to those who want to improve their chances for achievement. Each of the three courses is listed in a different department. Each of the teachers has a plan for guiding students through the quicksand of university life.

All the courses will emphasize a list of eight skill areas designed to assist the student: understanding the resources available; personal and academic goal-setting; time management, motivation and overcoming procrastination; healthy lifestyle choices; money management, budgeting and financial aid; note-taking and test-taking skills; writing skills, critical-thinking skills and communication skills; and stress-management and coping skills.

“We’re especially reaching out to returning students after an absence from college and to students suffering transfer shock,” said Karen Ledbetter, psychologist and teacher of one of the courses.

Interdisciplinary Studies 199, a three-credit course, is titled College Success. The teacher is Liane Gough, academic adviser at the Information and Academic Support Center. The class meets Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10 a.m.

This course is designed for students who are academically struggling. It will operate on a case-management approach.

Jena Johnson, an adjunct professor, will teach Counseling 199, University Survival and Success, also a three-credit class. It will meet once a week at 4 p.m.

Johnson will operate out of a text and emphasize significant detail in academic success, including effective Internet browsing.

Ledbetter will teach Public Health Education 299, College Life Skills, a four-credit course. It will meet Tuesdays and Thursdays at noon. She will employ a series of self-help books with a broad perspective. The course will include experimental approaches to changing and improving behaviors, including stress management.

Dan Fortmiller, director of the Information and Academic Support System, traditionally conducts study skills workshops at the beginning of every term. However, these are short term and not for credit. The new courses allow students to improve their college skills over a full term while compiling credits.

“In addition to helping students to access resources, the classes will teach them to become self-starters,” Ledbetter said.

This may be especially helpful to community-college transfers, she said, because they will get extra help they may not have gotten at community colleges.

“These courses will help students navigate through the system,” Gough said.

Although all incoming freshmen are required to take Freshman Inquiry, which teaches some survival skills, Gough said, “These [new courses] are in addition to what they learn in Freshman Inquiry. There is more focusing on the nuts and bolts of college survival.”

Ledbetter added, “We are especially reaching out to people unfamiliar with the university system who need some skills to make the best use of their other classes.”