University College's mission remains the same after 70 years
Heather Brown, The Oklahoma Daily
This year marks the 70th anniversary of the University College, which has grown considerably since its creation and now boasts more programs that help students than ever before. In 1942, the OU Board of Regents gave the new college jurisdiction over all OU students who have not yet been accepted into degree–granting colleges, according to a University Senate document from that year.
70 years later, the purpose of the college remains almost identical, yet the college has a much larger presence now, education professor Jerome Weber said.
Each year, the college serves about 5,500 students, including incoming freshmen and sophomores who haven’t declared a major, said Nicole Campbell, interim dean of the college, in an email.
The college offers programs like UC Action tutoring, Student Success Seminars, major exploration coaching and faculty mentoring to help students adjust to college, Campbell said.
“The transition to college is monumental — full of changes that profoundly impact students,” Campbell said.
Weber created many of these programs, notably the freshmen seminars and gateway classes, during his 19-year tenure as dean from 1971 to 1991.
This fall, 1,467 students enrolled in a total of 71 gateway classes. These courses, which help prepare new students for life at the university, focus on honing students’ study and time-management skills, Weber said.
The freshmen seminars, which have 231 enrolled students, help freshmen take an interesting class while completing their general education requirements their first year.
CIA and Congress, From Hieroglyphs to Manga and Pre-Law 101 are among the seminars listed for this fall, according to oZONE.
“While I teach only graduate courses now, I’m more convinced than ever that the University College concept is really a very good concept,” Weber said. “I think it is a place dedicated to success and well-being of new undergraduate students, and I think that is very valuable.”
Three deans worked at the college after Weber, leading up to the leadership of Doug Gaffin in 2002.
Gaffin established the Center for Student Advancement, helped initiate the UC Action tutoring program and helped plan the construction of the Lissa and Cy Wagner Hall, which was completed in 2009, Gaffin said in an email.
The new building houses the college and is described as a “home base” by Campbell because it holds all of the college’s resources—from its advisers to its private study rooms—in one space.
Buchanan Hall originally housed the college until the 1980s, when it moved to Carnegie Hall, Weber said.
In commemoration of the anniversary, the college printed special anniversary T-shirts for incoming students in the summer, Campbell said. The college does not have any planned anniversary celebrations at the moment.
Campbell sees how much the college has grown and wants to continue pushing forward by expanding the UC Action tutoring and Major Exploration programs and creating more special sections of the gateway courses that are tailored more toward the students’ own academic interest, she said.