Hear from our ACE Summer Program faculty as they discuss their experiences supporting students in their first college classes and provide advice for students who are considering the program. These are faculty members who have taught Summer ACE courses in past years. Stay tuned for updates about the Summer 2023 ACE course offerings!
Lauren Braunstein- EDF 2085: Education, Diversity, and Global Society
Of all the outcomes of teaching EDF 2085 Education, Diversity, and Global Society, my favorites are seeing students connect their own schooling experiences to broad societal issues like racism, sexism, heteronormativity, and language. Students gain a new set of conceptual tools to make sense of their experiences in life and in schools. I also love seeing students engage in difficult conversations about important issues in society.
I hope that students begin to see themselves as creative agents of change by the end of the course. Every student has a unique starting point from which they can challenge societal norms around issues of race, gender, sexuality, ability etc. I also hope that students that students begin to see themselves as global citizens.
I would advise students to take advantage of campus resources as much as possible. The first semester in college can be very overwhelming but, with support, it can be a transformative experience. I also would advise to develop strong social and academic networks. These networks will help with studying, group projects, and building a sense of community. Finally, the ACE program moves at a fast clip – stay on top of your deadlines and ALWAYS communicate with your instructor when you have questions or concerns.
Students gain real-life skills in being changemakers in any formal or informal educational setting. For example, as part of the course students develop a social-justice workshop on a societal issue of their choice, like poverty, LGBTQ+ rights, or racism. They can take their fully developed workshop into their communities to make societal transformation occur.
Bree Casper - ANT 2410: Cultural Anthropology
My favorite aspect of the course is opening students minds to the different ways people live around the world. Students can expect to learn the principles of cultural anthropology which consider culture, diversity, and human variation around the world.
- I hope students learn that different does not mean bad. I hope they learn to embrace and value diversity and human variation.
- I also hope students learn what it takes to be successful in college level courses. Much of my coursework and assignments is focused on helping students develop the skills they need to succeed in college.
- Short-term: Be flexible and critical. Now, more than ever it is important that students be flexible in learning and life, as so much of the world is in flux. At the same time, stay critical of systems and information. Critique is the first step to improvement.
- Long-term: never stop asking questions. Curiosity will serve you well, no matter the field or subject matter.
Cultural anthropology emphasizes a holistic approach to solving human problems. By understanding people from their own point of view, we are better equipped to solve relevant problems like racial injustice, inequality, health disparities and more. Students will take the perspectives they learned in this course and use them to change the world in the ways they see fit.
Zulmaly Ramirez - IDS 2378: Foundations of Interdisciplinary Knowledge and Inquiry
One of my favorite aspects is that this course is geared for first year students, and this is the population I work closely with. This class will prepare you to think creatively and solve problems within and across disciplines. It aims to build on the knowledge that you bring from high school or other academic or life experiences, and to prepare you for your future courses within the general education curriculum and your major coursework.
a. Explain how knowledge is personally, culturally and disciplinarily constructed.
b. Break down complex problems to examine, propose, and support potential solutions.
This is such a different experience than high school that you should allow yourself to ask for help and support when needed. Navigating the first year can present challenges, but together we can work through these and have a successful time at USF.
Through applied critical thinking, students in this course will examine social problems through the lenses of these major disciplinary domains, preparing them to engage in collaborative and interdisciplinary problem solving, which is very important as they start their career after college life.
bRENDAN cOOK - HUM 1020: iNTRODUCTION TO HUMANITIES
I love the fact that we get to do so many things so quickly. We can be listening to music one day and tasting candy the next. Our visits to the community garden and the art museum are a highlight.
I hope that students come away from the class with a new appreciation for the variety of art. I would want them to realize that there are so many things to learn about!
My short-term advice is for students to be prepared for the fast pace of the course, and to know that we have a lot to learn every day. My advice for the long term is to take each day as it comes and try not to worry about any one course or test.
Andrew Mason - IDS 2378: Foundations of Interdisciplinary Knowledge and Inquiry
I am honored to teach the Foundations of Interdisciplinary Knowledge and Inquiry where students choose a real-world issue or problem to solve (such as creating sustainable cities, eradicating poverty, eliminating gender gaps, etc) in alignment with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Student will take their social issue and examine it through five different disciplinary “lenses” – STEM, social science, business, humanities, and health – to evaluate how experts within that field would approach solving that problem. The course culminates with small groups creatively pitching what would an interdisciplinary solution – one that combines all lenses at once – look like?
I hope that students leave the course with a better understanding of the interconnectedness of the academic disciplines – and that their future professional goals are more fluid can be tailored to their precise and unique interest.
My immediate advice is to “shrink it down,” as quickly as you can – make a few or two in your courses. Trust me, you’re all in the same boat. Everyone is waiting on someone to break the ice – be that person. People will remember you for it – and you’ll potentially make some lasting friends in the process. My longer-term advice is one I’m sure you’ll hear a lot – but you have to get involved. College is about so much more than what happens in the classroom; it is about making every moment count. Network, get out of your comfort zone, try new things, eat new food, learn a new language, go to a foreign film – do all the things that you wouldn’t normally ever see yourself doing. Because the very act of doing them will give you confidence to keep being bold. Find “your people” here at USF, and then dig in!
Employers in every sector are looking for creative thinkers – engaged problem solvers who can think around a problem. The point of this course is to help you see that there is more than one way to tackle and problem, there is more than one lens through which to see the issue, and there is more than one solution by which to solve. The more students develop this skill – to think critically and from an integrated interdisciplinary mindset – the more competitive they will be in the real world.