New BU 100 'first-year focus' curriculum prepares students for success

October 12, 2018

This year ushered in some changes to the introductory class that all new Bellarmine University students must take in their first semester.

The curriculum for the BU 100 first-year focus course was revised to align with Bellarmine’s new Quality Enhancement Plan, which focuses on exploring self and community.

The curriculum was developed through the Quality Enhancement Plan committee. Their goal was to provide a transitional experience for incoming students, with space to explore identity and community with their peers.  

To achieve this, the new curriculum calls for more identity and community-centric activities than in years past. The previous curriculum was effective in helping students understand what resources are available to them throughout their college experience. However, it included limited activities related to self-discovery.

The different lesson plans for each week include balance and transition, grit, values and beliefs, and more. Each class is led by a faculty or staff instructor working alongside an upper-level student.

“This course has exceptionally clear outcomes, pre-designed activities and a focus that goes beyond traditional college success mantras and instead focuses on building a unique and personal learning environment that will help students in and out of the classroom,” said instructor Michael Strawser, an assistant professor in Bellarmine's School of Education.

First-year English major Celia Mikels appreciates the conversations on how to be involved in college life without overdoing it. “In class, I have learned about the realities of balancing life as a college student,” she said.

“Our class had a great discussion on what it means to be an active, engaged member of the Bellarmine community,” said Stephanie P. Reilly, a BU 100 instructor who is Bellarmine's director of alumni programs and events. “We explored the concept of citizenship and discussed ways students could use their strengths to make a difference.”

Bellarmine's Quality Enhancement Plan states: “An individual’s values, beliefs, and identities are shaped by that individual’s experiences, which in turn informs how that individual perceives others. Understanding these dynamics is key to helping our students navigate the various community interactions that form such an important part of their collegiate journey.”

Article by Logan R. Viens, intern in Bellarmine's Office of Communications & Public Affairs.

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