UC Irvine students cannot have missed the many changes across campus. Construction and rebuilding are the most noticed, but one of the most significant changes has occurred without many students taking notice: UC Irvine has welcomed a new dean of undergraduate education. As of July 1, Sharon Salinger has been the dean of undergraduate education, replacing Meredith Lee, who retired after 31 years at UCI. Salinger comes from UC Riverside, where she worked as the history department chair and an administrator for 25 years. As the dean of the division of undergraduate education, Salinger will make policies and oversee programs affecting student retention, course offerings, academic advising and mentoring. Salinger has already made plans that she will implement this year. \”The most exciting program we\’re thinking of putting together is a response to the task force in undergraduate education,\” Salinger said. \”We\’re going to put together year-long sequences for incoming freshmen, 75 students a course maximum … and team-taught by faculty who will take a particular question and show students how different disciplines think about it.\” These year-long sequences will be similar to the Humanities Core Course. Salinger said that she will work to offer courses that spark the students\’ interest. \”We are thinking about some service-learning [topics], where students will take courses to prepare them for [a specific] interesting problem in society,\” Salinger said. \”Hopefully we will be attaching paid internships to the students, so they can go out and work in the community and then bring that back to the class … and speak to student interest.\” Salinger also plans to make more team-taught classes for first-year students, built into the first year team-taught sequences that are planned to start in fall 2006. \”I am trying to think of something that gives students the sense that their coming to UCI will connect them socially and intellectually to the campus from the moment they set foot on [it],\” Salinger said. Salinger wants to incorporate peer mentorship into these types of programs, helping students navigate the campus and teaching them to access solutions to many of the problems they might face as new students on campus. \”If it were up to me, my dream world would be students who were totally connected and who, when they left here, were so turned on to whatever they were studying that they would continue it for the rest of their lives,\” Salinger said. Salinger hopes that students will look back at their UCI experience as among the best in their lives. One of the many possible changes that students can expect to see this year will pertain to the breadth requirements. \”The task force on undergraduate education did a very interesting and thorough study that is going through the committee process, the committee on education policy and they are looking very seriously at the breadth requirements,\” Salinger said. Salinger also plans to work hard to bring about the possibility of a first-year advising office. \”No matter the students\’ majors, they would all be advised out of one central office. … If they are advised here and it turns out that [their major is not for them] then the options are easy,\” Salinger said. Salinger plans to help alleviate the problem of large classes. \”We have to move towards dividing big classes into smaller groups such as division sections,\” Salinger said. Salinger said that she would like to hear from students about what they think would enhance their undergraduate education and how UCI can better support their educational goals.
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