By Stephanie Butzer
Students will bring in their own excitement for Elon University’s 2013–2014 school year, but the faculty and staff are pushing for new and better strategies to ensure students are more successful and satisfied than ever before.
Academic and student aid departments have been organizing fresh measures to introduce in the fall semester. In addition, new professors and courses that span many areas of study will add more diversity and value to Elon’s already detailed classes.
Those who enjoy Elon’s go-green attitude will be thrilled to discover the Office of the University Registrar has changed to a paperless environment, according to Rodney Parks, an employee in the office. The environmentally savvy change will give students the opportunity to access many functions online, such as ordering transcripts. Degree audits have also been changed to a more readable web format with color-coded sections.
Parks said the registrar can Skype with students who cannot meet in person to discuss transferring credits from other schools.
“The goal will be to be a national leader in student-centered services within a two-year period,” Parks said.
The Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning will offer new courses this year, according to Peter Felten, the executive director of the Center. Some highlights include Greek language and culture studies with Kristina Meinking, an honors course exploring questions about life on other planets taught by Tony Crider and Anthony Weston and a teaching and innovation course taught by Kevin O’Mara.
“The deans keep their fingers on the pulse of curricular changes, new faculty and such,” Felten said.
The School of Communications will welcome six new faculty and staff members who are going to bring more knowledge to business journalism, public relations, advertising, interactive media and sports management courses, said Paul Parsons, dean of the School of Communications.
“The faculty this fall will complete a year long curriculum discussion about how best to prepare students for the rapidly changing world of communications,” Parsons said. “In the new curriculum, which would be implemented in 2014-15 at the earliest, I anticipate a greater emphasis on multimedia, mobile media, visual communication design and media analytics, within the context of a liberal arts education.”
Students who earn grades worthy of the Dean’s List and President’s List will be able to receive tangible certificates to display their honors. Student transcripts will also show the term averages and will break apart transfer credits, which were previously lumped together, so the student and third parties know where the credits came from.
Lastly, seniors graduating in May 2014 will get a pleasant surprise upon graduation: The diplomas will be much larger than in previous years.