IUP opened the University College to new students who are “explorers,” rather than “undecided students.”
The University College is designed to help students who are ready for college but not sure what they want to major in. It is designed to give them “the best possible start” for freshmen who need some support in choosing their majors and career path.
The ribbon-cutting ceremony Aug. 27 had more than 200 people attend, including university support specialists Chartice Wyatt and Jeremy Risinger, President Michael Driscoll and Michele Norwood, associate vice provost and director of the University College.
Norwood opened the event by saying, “The University College is built on collaboration and a renewed focus to support all of our students.”
“The goal is to help you make this important life decision, in an informed way, by the end of your first year,” Michelle Fryling said.
“Other colleges may offer you one ‘undecided’ major; we offer you seven. They are subject-based, exploratory options. You’ll pick one, which will be your starting point for finding the major that inspires you.”
The seven exploratory majors range anywhere from science to English, from the arts to business management and marketing, from fashion to nursing.
First-year classes are designed to count toward graduation and to help keep you on track.
When students select a major their first year, there’s a good chance they’ll end up changing their minds or doubt that the path is the one they want to follow. This leads to being behind in classes, college taking longer and more money being spent.
With the University College, it won’t necessarily be the case.
“New students are able to try out classes in the majors they are considering,” Fryling said. “They’re able to get specialized advising and learn about career paths in a way that is academically safe.”
The University College, called “North Star” by Driscoll, is open to not only incoming freshmen but also to continuing students who are still trying to find their place at IUP.
“The college is our ‘North Star,’”Driscoll said. “Our hope is that it will help students navigate the planet that is IUP.”
“Be open minded and be willing to accept the help that IUP has to offer,” Angaziya Malenge (sophomore, sociology/human services) said. “Don’t be afraid of failure; it’s a part of learning. Enjoy the college moments, try new things and don’t let anyone keep you from pursuing your dream.”
Peer mentorship plays a big part in the University College. Linked classes are also offered by professors from different departments.
“The University College is the physical home of wayfinding for all of IUP,” said Timothy Moerland, provost and vice president for academic affairs.
The University College is located on the ground floors of the IUP libraries. Places that are affiliated with or part of the University College consist of the new student orientation office, walk-in tutoring center, Academic Success Resource Room, Kathleen Jones White Writing Center, Office of the Student Advocate and Major and Career Exploration Center.