When NIU classes began last week, 61 percent of the new freshman class were enrolled in a section of Northern’s popular UNIV 101 (The University Experience) course; a record percentage in the course’s history.
Transfer enrollments in UNIV 201 (The Transfer Experience) also set a record, nearly doubling in number from Fall 2009 with 184 students enrolled in eight sections. These one credit-hour courses are designed to help bridge the transition from high school or a previous college to a large, comprehensive public university.
Course objectives include:
- understanding the meaning of the baccalaureate experience and the process of earning an NIU degree;
- developing time management and critical thinking skills;
- strengthening decision-making, problem-solving and career exploration skills; and
- developing appreciation for living in a diverse, multicultural community.
An emphasis is placed on skill development for academic success with a focus on student responsibility for learning.
In all, 91 UNIV sections are offered this fall. Most are traditional sections enrolling any first-year student, but there are also 30 sections for CHANCE students, four for athletes, two for honors students, two connected with themed learning communities and one each for African American females, Latino students, Huskie Marching Band members and military veterans.
UNIV courses are taught by a cadre of 80 faculty and staff instructors, who are assisted by 60 peer instructors. Peer instructors are student volunteers with at least sophomore standing. Most have taken a UNIV course in their first year and want to help new students make a successful transition to academic life and the NIU campus environment.
New additions to the UNIV teaching teams this year are graduate student leaders, who have been selected and trained to assist in course instruction while being mentored and supervised by experienced instructors. Additional oversight is provided by a faculty member from the Department of Counseling, Adult & Higher Education and the course coordinators.