New Class Schedule Starting Fall 2020 Offers WIRED Wednesdays
| by Carol Best firstname.lastname@example.org
MNU announced a unique new course schedule for traditional undergraduate majors that will start in August 2020. Every class session will be 75 minutes in length. Classes formerly held on Monday/Wednesday/Friday will now be held Monday and Thursday. Classes previously held Tuesday and Thursday will now be held Tuesday and Friday. The new schedule leaves Wednesdays free of traditional class sessions. Instead, Wednesdays will become connection days to build relationships, expand learning through experiential activities, or connect content from different classes. This connection day--called WIRED Wednesdays--includes a variety of research, career-focused, culturally enriching, or service-learning options for students.
WIRED Wednesdays is an open door to more than a class session. Options will include allowing students to immerse themselves in fields that may or may not be part of their major. The goal is to allow students to apply what they learn in class as well as try a profession on for size to see if it fits their desired future. Some of the Wednesday events will be required based on the courses in which a student is enrolled. Some will be free for students to explore activities for other subject areas if they choose.
“This is an exciting academic development,” says Dr. Nancy Damron, vice president for academic affairs. “We are cultivating spaces and opportunities for students to engage with faculty and peers from their own and other subject areas. Beyond the content, students will see an added relational benefit. They’ll connect with faculty and peers outside of the classroom, learn about their major from an upperclassman’s perspective and get to know professors at a deeper level. This is exactly what students and parents should expect from an outstanding college experience…it is the MNU difference.”
Damron says some students will use their free Wednesdays to work at an internship or complete a practicum for their major. Some may choose to work extra hours at a job or gain additional support for a course through the Academic Success Center. No matter how they use WIRED Wednesdays, MNU leaders think the flexibility and intentional experiences will be valuable for all students.
Some content areas have integrated this approach in their classes already. Science students apply what they learn in a meaningful way that benefits them and others. Twice a month, they teach a nutrition class for residents at Shelter KC’s Women’s Center, a residential recovery facility for single, homeless women located near downtown Kansas City.
“People may not realize that nutrition is a huge part of recovery,” says Abby Spitler, Shelter KC’s manager of residential services. She has observed changes in residents’ lifestyles already. “The ladies are excited about eating better. They’ve asked for more fruits and vegetables and we have a new salad bar. Many of them are starting to exercise.”
Spitler also sees benefits to the MNU students. “I think walking into new situations is great for college students,” she says. “You can prepare, but you don’t really know what you are walking into. This is a diverse group of ladies and a community the students aren’t used to, but our residents are so loving and welcoming, they love having young people around.”
Students like Katie Inscore, a junior nursing major, have gained confidence from the experience.
“Going into the experience, I was a little nervous, but once we got there my nerves all went away,” Inscore says. “The women at the shelter were so awesome. They would ask questions, make comments, and were just a welcoming group. The experience overall helped me to simplify what nutrition is and what life skills I can take away from our nutrition class.”
MNU’s new schedule will make these types of experiences more available beginning in a student’s freshman year through graduation. In addition, the four-day class schedule will be beneficial to commuter students and for those who work while attending college.
Questions about WIRED Wednesdays may be directed to Dr. Nancy Damron at email@example.com.