VOLUME 32, NUMBER 7 THURSDAY, October 5, 2000

Nigel Marriner joined the Office of Student Affairs in June as first-year experience coordinator. He previously worked at SUNY-Geneseo, where he assisted in developing the college's First Year Experience Program.

send this article to a friend

What is UB 101?

UB 101 is typically identified as a first-year transition course. It is designed and implemented to assist students in making the transition to higher education by giving them a small, interactive, classroom environment that focuses on providing resources and fostering peer relationships. We cover a wide range of topics, such as time management, study skills, personal wellness, computer technology, library and campus tours, and money management, as well as whatever else the instructors deem important to cover in their classes. I drew an analogy during Orientation of UB 101 being similar to a Swiss Army knife. Through UB 101, students will receive a variety of "tools." Some of these tools they may use everyday, such as time management and study skills, and others they may use only sporadically, such as registration information or counseling issues. However, all these tools are important to have in their pocket should they ever need them.

What percentage of the freshman class is taking the course?

Of the 3,100 students that make up the freshman class, we had 1,368 students, or 44.1 percent, enrolled in sections of UB 101.

What are the advantages of students taking the class?

One of the greatest advantages of this class is the fact that it is taught in a small-classroom environment. Most of the UB 101 students are part of block scheduling, which allows a cohort of students to have the same set of classes. When this is complimented with UB 101, students are able to share more closely some of their experiences with other members of their class. Most of their other classes are in large classrooms and UB 101 allows them the opportunity to work and interact with each other in a smaller and more intimate environment. They are able to share more deeply in each other's successes and to see more clearly that others share their challenges, especially when they all share the same classes.

Who teaches UB 101?

The instructors for this class cover a wide range of individuals from across campus. We have a quite a few professionals that teach the class from areas such as academic advising, athletics, admissions, computing and marketing, as well as Student Affairs. In addition, we have a number of doctoral and graduate students who are participating. One of the key elements of UB 101 is that we also have an undergraduate teaching assistant (TA) in each class. This TA is available to share some of their life experiences with the class and to act as a mentor. They participate in the planning and implementation of the class lesson plan. This has been a very successful component of the overall program, as the TA is able to form a different bond with the students.

What's new with the program for this year?

This year we initiated a reading program based on Sen. John Glenn's memoirs. This was to compliment Glenn's scheduled appearance on campus Oct. 11 as part of the Distinguished Speakers Series. All students in UB 101 have the opportunity to attend. Glenn's experiences are very inspirational and we hope that by sharing more of his life with our students, they will better understand the opportunities and potential that awaits them. In addition, this year we have incorporated "service learning" into the course curriculum. Graduate students from the Office of Student Activities compiled an extensive database of agencies in the Buffalo community with whom our instructors and students may choose to interact. This is another way in which we are hoping to foster relationships for our first-year students, as well as help them to understand the wider community and the wider world of which they are a part.

Undergraduate retention has increased about 7 percent over last year. Has UB 101 played a role in that increase?

I believe that UB 101 has played a significant role in retention over the past year. In our analysis of the sophomore class, we have found that students who participated in UB 101 were 7 percent more likely to continue with their studies than non-UB 101 students. UB 101 provides the hands-on tools and resources and foster the peer relationships which help our students succeed and which lead to heightened retention rates.

What question do you wish I had asked, and how would you have answered it?

I wish you would have asked "What is the key to UB 101?" I would have responded that the key is "relationships." We give students the chance to form relationships and it is those relationships that help them through the challenges of higher education. We have caring and purposeful volunteer instructors, we have caring and involved upper-class TAs, we provide the opportunity to form relationships through community service. Most importantly, however, is that we give students an opportunity to form relationships with other first-year students and to learn and to struggle and to succeed together.

Front Page | Top Stories | Photos | Briefly | Q&A | Electronic Highways
Sports | Events | Current Issue | Comments?
Archives | Search | UB Home | UB News Services | UB Today