About Us

The Exploratory Curriculum Provides Unique Experiences for New Students


The Exploratory Curriculum (ECM) serves first-time-in-college students with under 36 college credits searching for their best fit major across the consolidated campuses. Over the last four years, ECM has been the proud home for nearly 1,200 students. Including our largest cohort ever with the summer/fall 2020 class that matriculated 316 new Bulls.

With the 2020 school year came new challenges and the team at ECM and UGS rose to meet the occasion. With the assistance of the Assistant Director of Academic Foundations, Caroline Twatchman, ECM created our first ever virtual orientation experience. This included an engaging Canvas tutorial guide for our new students that would become the foundation for our ECM YouTube Channel. The channel currently has over 5200 total views and 9000 impressions. Since March 2020, Shane Combs, ECM advisor and his team have conducted over 800 virtual student and family appointments, as well as offered three delivery formats for our cornerstone class IDS2378 Interdisciplinary Knowledge & Learning; in-person, hybrid and 100% online.

“One of the most important lessons I have learned from 2020 is that the bond between USF student and USF employee is not predicated on physical proximity. It is based on a mutual and burning desire for change. A change within ourselves to be better, so that we finally have the strength to change the community around us,” said Shane Combs, ECM advisor.

The results of our efforts shine bright, as ECM students become the leaders of this institution. For example, former ECM student Maria Morales Ferrebus, class of 2021, is the founder of the Climate Action Coalition that walked with Mayor Jane Castor in the September 2019 Global Climate Strike in downtown Tampa. Sebastian Leon, class of 2020, drew from his experience in the USF Public Policy Washington DC internship to become a field organizer for Equality Florida.

ECM and USF alumni Courtney Landis was a band captain and honored as a Fall 2019 Undergraduate of the Year. ECM students demonstrate leadership in all disciplines, including: Peer Leaders Kazi Sabrin, class of 2023, and Callie Baier, class of 2021; award winning Orientation Leader like Nirali Shah, class 2021; Student Government Leaders  like Alexa Fatovic, class of 2020; Residence Assistants like Natalie Tiliacos, class 2019. The 2020 NSC PAL team also features 4 former ECM students Caroline Adams, Carlos Curnow, Cristina Estevez and Sommer Jass. We celebrate the leadership and everyday success of our ECM students.

 Learn more about Exploratory Curriculum.