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Op-Ed: ACE Courses Disappoint in their Debut

For first year students, this week marks the end of the widely discussed ACE course, the required introduction to Emmanuel’s academic and social community.  According to the Emmanuel website, ACE, or the Academic Connections for Excellence, is meant to provide “tools for a successful beginning to your college experience” as well as an opportunity to “reflect on your goals over the coming years.”

But not all first year students are finding these tools or reflections extraordinarily beneficial.  Mairead Scanlon ‘19 remarked that ACE is “extra work and almost unnecessary.”  She is certainly not alone in this opinion.  Whether in the dining hall or sitting in class, one can hear the groans and complaints over the repetitive lectures and dull homework assignments.

“I think my time would be better spent on my academic classes,” said Natalie Biermann ’19. “I like the idea behind ACE, but I think it could be executed differently.  The discussions are too elementary.”

Several of the ACE advisors believe the connections and information about useful resources on the Emmanuel campus are valuable to first year students.  When asked for suggestions for students to get the most out of the course, Susan Aguiar, an advisor to a section of ACE, responded:

“Just be open to it.  It’s not meant to be a large time commitment for students, but hopefully they are willing to actively participate in the discussions, especially in the small group.  Students should also ask a lot of questions.  Even if they are worried about asking in a group, they can always follow up through email with their facilitator.  Also, if things are not going well for a student, they should use their facilitator as a resource to help them get through what issues they may be experiencing.”

Many first year students have ideas on how the ACE course could be enhanced.

“It could be improved by not giving homework assignments and making it more personal,” said Scanlon. “I would like to learn more about topics that will be valuable in academics such as how to cite different sources and how to make appointments at the ARC. It could also be improved by having guest speakers such as our academic advisors and career center advisors.”

“Since we are in the midst of the program, it’s hard to step back and evaluate it,” said Aguiar. “But hopefully in the weeks following the end of the program, we will be able to get honest feedback from the students to help us improve the program for next year’s students.”

Posted by on October 4, 2015. Filed under Opinions & Editorials. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.