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QU seminars here to stay
Despite rumors that the university plans to phase out the QU seminar program, the university is committed to keeping QU 101, 201 and 301, Coordinator of the QU Seminar Series Professor Jill Shahverdian said. Instead, the leaders of the QU seminar series are reading student work and listening to student feedback to improve the program, she said.
Since other universities do not have classes like QU 101, 201 and 301, students do not understand them, Shahverdian said. This causes rumors that the program is ending to spread.
“We as faculty need to make sure students understand why we as a university think of these courses as so important,” she said. “Like any course, there are some students who don’t have a good experience and some who have a great experience. If you have a negative experience, they are thinking, ‘Why don’t they just get rid of it? It’s not really good.’ Not realizing that overall students have a very positive experience.”
Freshman Gawit Guevara is among the students who would prefer that the university eliminated the QU seminar courses.
“We should be able to take other classes that should be able to help us with our majors,” he said. “[QU 101] was more like everyday life lessons and pretty much as college students we should know that by now.”
According to Shahverdian, the university is tackling the complaint that the QU seminar courses do not relate to students’ majors.
“One of the things we have been working on this year is trying to do things in class that help make those connections to the other courses you are taking,” Shahverdian said.
The Personal Success Plan is one way to do this, she said. The Personal Success Plan is an essay that freshmen wrote this academic year in QU 101 where they outlined their immediate and long-term goals. Shahverdian hopes that the Personal Success Plan will be something that students will develop after their freshman year, either within their majors or in QU 201 and QU 301.
The leaders of the QU seminar series are also addressing students’ concerns that some professors give a lot of work, while others give very little.
“What we’ve been doing is talking about what does it mean to be a 100-level course or a 200-level course or a 300-level course?” she said. “It’s saying [to the professors], ‘We think that in the 100-level course that students should write about 25 pages and here’s why.’ Then professors understand and they know what they are doing fits in with the big picture.”
In QU 101, all professors will be required to assign the same six readings. Other assignments will be given based on the interests of the class, Shahverdian said.
The leaders of the QU seminar series do not want to get rid of the program because they feel it is valuable for students.
“Students are breaking free from merely repeating someone else’s ideas to becoming themselves critical, creative, and independent thinkers,” QU 101 Course Leader Professor Aileen Dever said. “You belong to a university that doesn’t only send you down one narrow corridor toward a career, but rather provides the opportunity for you to open various doors because you have been well prepared, not only to produce in one area, but to think creatively and take advantage of the many possibilities that life can present.”
Peer Catalyst Mentor Rachael Wolensky has personally grown as a result of the QU seminar series.
“This program has allowed me as an individual to step out of my comfort zone and become a better person,” she said. “I say all the time that I can’t imagine being where I am today without the QU seminar series program … The lessons I have learned in the QU series are more helpful in opening my eyes to the real world problems than many of the classes I currently take.”
Sophomore Brendan Latran feels that learning these lessons should not need to take three classes.
“Up until this point if you haven’t done anything along those lines then you’re probably doing something wrong, then your high school probably did something wrong,” he said. “I just don’t think that three of them should be required or that they should be required at all really. It is mostly about community and we’re already in a community.”