Many attend, raise questions at UGS forum

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Paul Woodruff, Dean of the School of Undergraduate Studies, and Larry Abraham, a professor in curriculum and instruction, held a forum Wednesday afternoon allowing students to openly express their frustrations with the Undergraduate Studies Program. The “Town Hall” meeting is an effort on behalf of UT administration to help new students feel welcome and looked after.

Photo Credit: Andrea Macias-Jimenez | Daily Texan Staff

While the myth about first-year signature courses disappearing has been dispelled for now, many freshmen are concerned about transferring to other colleges within UT.

The School of Undergraduate Studies held a town hall forum open to all UT students, staff and faculty on Wednesday evening to discuss problems students were facing. One such issue is that UT may no longer require students to take a UGS or first-year signature course. UGS associate dean Larry Abraham said that negotiations were taking place to ensure that the UGS courses would still be required.

“As of now, the UGS course will be fine,” Abraham said.

Students discussed the fact that they were not sure how to go about changing their majors. The lack of information on past transfers to other colleges, such as the McCombs School of Business, was cited as a problem.

Another concern raised during the forum was the fact that the process of transferring out of the School of Undergraduate Studies is not fully understood by high school seniors applying to UT. Dean of UGS Paul Woodruff said that he would work with the UGS advisers during their retreat next semester to try to clarify the mission of the School of Undergraduate Studies.

“We want to provide students with a life boat, with resources that they can use, before things get difficult,” Paul Woodruff said.

Woodruff said another problem facing students was that some courses are restricted to students in that major, so other students interested in the major cannot take those courses. Woodruff used the example of some engineering classes being restricted to engineering majors only, which prevents other students interested in engineering from taking them.

Along with some other students at the forum, Woodruff said that raising awareness about courses available at UT the summer before freshman year may help students with their degree plans as well as decrease the six-year graduation rate at UT, the number of years it takes a great majority of students to graduate.

Truc Nguyen, financial director of the UGS council, said Wednesday’s forum was the best one the council has hosted so far, especially since the turnout was one of the largest it’s had.

“It’s good to have students and faculty together to discuss how to attack these problems and hear their ideas,” Nyugen said.

Printed on Thursday, November 17, 2011 as: UGS town hall addresses college concerns