Tag Archives: News

Op-Ed: FYE- More Damage Than Good?

Kee’Ara Smith, Staff Writer

In the hopes of helping first year students become successful at Georgia Southern, a mandatory course was created called FYE also known as “First Year Experience.”

The course provides outside classroom experiences for students. Within the course, students are asked to go to events on campus and create a “passport” to show proof of their engagement on campus.

Over the years, FYE classes have changed drastically.

According to Dr. Christine Ludowise, Associate Provost in the Student Success & Advising, the switch to primarily faculty instructors is fairly recent, the FYE course was created at different times at the two original institutions.

“On the Statesboro Campus, first- year experience (orientation to the University) has been in place for almost two decades.

It has gone through several revisions during that time. The discussions for the current revision began in July or August of 2018,” said Ludowise.

The class was usually taught by an advisor. However, over time budget- cuts, lack of advisors, professors and low enrollment has caused the class to now be infused with another course the student is already taking. The new curriculum merges the FYE class with an english, history or core-curriculum course.

According to Ludowise, the stipends which previously were paid to those who taught FYE 1220 have been redirected to help fund the faculty and staff equity adjustments.

“Faculty and exempt staff who value teaching FYE 1220 should speak with their chairs and supervisors about how teaching the course could be considered as a meaningful component of their contributions to student success.

As noted by the faculty members on the redesign team, faculty need to have a clear understanding of how teaching FYE 1220 will count in some meaningful way for them,” said Ludowise.

“My FYE class helps with things I should know around campus, like resources.” -Shakerion Ficklin, Freshman

The Provost’s Office has asked the Deans to work with their colleges, departments and faculty to clearly articulate how teaching FYE 1220 and CORE 2000 will count in faculty evaluations and towards their important milestones. These milestones include tenure, promotion, post-tenure, merit-evaluations, etc.

Of the 105 individuals teaching FYE in Fall 2019:

46 are Academic Advisors [44%]

25 are Faculty (6 of 25 are administrative faculty, such as Department Chairs) [24%]

26 are Staff [25%]

8 are Graduate Students [7%]

In Previous Years FY Instructors ratioed:
CY 2013: 133 individuals; 71 faculty [53%], 62 staff [47%]
CY 2014: 139 individuals; 79 faculty [57%], 60 staff [43%]
CY 2015: 137 individuals; 80 faculty [58%], 57 staff [42%]
CY 2016: 133 individuals; 80 faculty [60%], 53 staff [40%]
CY 2017: 119 individuals; 89 faculty [75%], 30 staff [25%]
CY 2018: 131 individuals; 106 faculty [80%], 25 staff [20%]

“Until the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), rules changed in 2016- 2017, academic advisors and other staff members regularly taught the FYE course on the Statesboro Campus. It is my understanding that academic advisors and other staff members also taught the FYE course on the Armstrong Campus, prior to consolidation,” said Ludowise.

During the 2019-2020 school year the Georgia Southern FYE staff decided to include diversity and inclusion talks within the course. Recent events such as the Statesboro campus’ book burning have proved this addition to be unsuccessful.

“I think it did help them to be more involved than they would have been otherwise.” -Dr. Carol Andrews, Former FYE Professor

“My FYE class helps with things I should know around campus, like resources. I learned how to calculate my GPA and look at what classes I need to take in the future. It is pointless in some ways, because all we do is talk about school, which is repetitive because I already know a good bit of stuff pertaining to campus life. I don’t get the hype about the book, because we barely read it; which was a waste of money,” said freshman Shakerion Ficklin.

“I feel like the FYE classes are a nice effort. I understand what the goal is, but the execution is not there. I went to class because I had to. The class had no impact on helping me transition from home to college life,” said junior Kadaja Williams of her FYE experience.

After asking students about FYE classes, the question still remained, “What is the purpose of this course?”

A newly retired Armstrong professor of over 40 years and former FYE professor, Dr. Carol Andrews, also gave her perspective on the program.

“I have never thought it especially useful although I did enjoy the increased interaction with students. I think they considered it a waste of time, especially the class meetings.

The Passport Project was the most positive aspect of the course because it involved students with campus activities and support services. They griped about it, but they produced interesting, often creative, digital portfolios illustrating their experiences.

It was difficult for students who didn’t live on campus to get to some of the activities, but I think it did help them to be more involved than they would have been otherwise,” Andrews said.

“I understand what the goal is, but the execution is not there.” -Kadaja Williams, Junior

It was expressed that there was a drastic change in the curriculum. For this year, instructors resources were built around the following six topics:

Growth Mindset
Information Literacy
Achieving Your Academic Goals

Communication in Our Communities
Diversity and Inclusion
Campus Engagement and Student Success

The addition of Diversity and Inclusion raised many red flags. Uncertainty was answered with, “We have provided the tools and the necessary training for our professors to teach about this subject,’’ Georgia Southern University President Dr. Kyle Marrero said.

Marrero later mentioned that this training was not mandatory for professors during an SGA senate meeting.

Recent events within the FYE course has raised many questions but the fact still remains that “several hundred colleges and universities assign a common book to first-year students each year. Many common read programs have existed for 20 to 30 years,” said Ludowise.

“The book choice is made by a committee of faculty and students. Using a committee to choose first- year books may not be the process in the future, but it’s not an uncommon approach,” said Ludowise.

Hopefully these recent events have brought awareness to the administration in how the FYE course will be run in the future.

PSAC Hosts Courageous Conversation About Privilege

Rebecca Munday, Staff Writer

“Courageous Conversations” is sponsored by the President’s Student Advisory Committee (PSAC) on Inclusive Excellence.

The first of these events focused on “Privilege, Respect, and Social Responsibility” was held on Dec. 2 at the Ogeechee Theatre.

This event was hosted by Takeshia Brown, the director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA), and McKenzie Peterman, Assistant Director of OMA.

About three dozen people, including faculty, students and administrators, attended the event.

At the beginning of the event they handed out sticky notes and asked attendants to write their hopes and fears for the event’s conversation on the sticky note. Then, they asked the attendants to stick their sticky notes to the wall. Next, they read off some of the things that people wrote on the notes.

“The conversation and the process doesn’t end at the end of this event,” Brown said.

Then, they asked the question, “Who am I?” to the audience.

They wanted the audience to consider that question in terms of three other questions: “What communities/identity groups am I a part of?” “How has my perspective been impacted by my identity?” “How has my identity and perspective impacted the ways in which I make connections with others?”

For the third activity, the attendants were split into groups that got $200, $300, $400 and $500 to spend on privileges for sale.

Groups could buy privileges such as “sharing health insurance with your partner(s),” “Not questioning normalcy both sexually and culturally” and “Being able to feel safe in your interactions with police officers.”

The groups decided to pool their money so instead of four groups, they became two groups with $800 and $600 respectively. Finally, the entire room became one big group that got to choose 14 privileges for a $100 each.

Then, Brown and Peterman went over strategies for social responsibility: self-work, mentorship, ally ship and sponsorship, collaboration and communication.

This event will also be held on the Statesboro Campus on Dec. 4 at 6:30 p.m. in the Russell Union Ballroom.

In February 2020, PSAC will sponsor a town hall/panel discussion on “Social Justice” and in March 2020, the topic will be “Gender and Sexuality.”

Further information on these events will be posted on the Inclusive Excellence landing page, georgiasouthern.edu/ diversityandinclusion.

Courageous Conversations are open to students, faculty and staff.

Southern Café Holding Soft Opening This Week

Rebecca Munday Staff Writer

This week the Southern Café is having a soft opening with limited menu items from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., while supplies last.

On Nov. 12 they closed just after 2 p.m. because they ran out of food. It was suggested to get to the café early to ensure you get food.

“Starting next week, we will not be giving away free food anymore,” Kaleigh Lamont, who works for the Southern Cafe, said.

As for when the café will be fully open, “Full hours, full menu, not until after Christmas break,” Lamont said.

How the Southern Café looks for its soft opening. Photo by Madison Watkins.


Student Profile: Demetrius Hurst

 A First-Generation Student

Jason Chapman, Staff Writer

Pursuing a degree of any kind is no easy task. If you’re a first-generation college student, it takes even more of a resilient nature than the secondary school graduate that was groomed for college from the start. Graduating with a college degree is solely up to the person that is looking to further their own education and hopefully use that newfound knowledge to gain access to a better path of life that most are never able to attain.

A headshot of Demetrius Hurst. Photo from georgiasouthern.edu.

Demetrius Hurst, a Biology Major here at Georgia Southern, is a first-generation student. Hurst was wearing a dark blue suit, had a firm handshake and stood up straight. When we sat down to discuss his journey as a first-generation college student, he never lost eye contact and spoke with an eloquence that too few people are able to attain. 

He’s not the first in his family to attend college but Demetrius is about to be the first to graduate with a degree. Coming from the rural town of Waycross, Ga, Hurst went to Ware County High School.

 “There’s not too many people who go to college because we have one high school. So, the [few] people that are going to college we [all] pretty much know who they are. It’s very important that the younger generation sees me overcoming odds and being a first-generation college student,” said Hurst.

After this fall semester ends, Hurst will have one semester left before he is able to walk across the stage and receive his degree. When he’s finished with school at GSU, Hurst plans to attend medical school at Morehead State University. Hurst said, “My aspiration is to become a doctor.”

Hurst’s younger sister has followed in his footsteps and has just gotten into college at Middle Georgia State. When he’s in Waycross, sometimes people in his community will ask him questions about college. 

“Sometimes they ask me questions about college, and [so] I tell them. And, they’re like, ‘Oh. I’m thinking about joining the military’ or ‘thinking about just getting a job.’ And, I’m like, ‘you know you got to have a plan [for the future]. I can help you with that,’” he said.

There were a lot of things Hurst had to figure out for himself in order to go ahead with his plans to attend college. He also had to surround himself around people that would only help him achieve his goals. “Who you choose to put your time and stuff towards, that is basically how you’ll be represented,” said Hurst.

By making friends with people who were expected to go to college, he changed his environment for the better. Hurst also had to go out and find people that could tell him how to succeed at the college level and prepare himself for what was to come. The person who inspired Hurst to become a doctor was a physician at his church. 

“She was the very first black physician that I’ve seen in my life. And, I was 14 years old when I saw that, so just seeing her–I was like, ‘I don’t know what I want but I want what you have.’ It was that type of thing. I like medicine. I started doing stuff with medicine and then shadowing and things like that and I actually like it,” Hurst said. 

Another thing that really helped Hurst get through college was TRIO. TRIO is an academic support service for students at Georgia Southern. It provides advising, tutoring, mentoring and informational workshops. 

“The workshops there helped me so much. They shot me the internships, how to network, how to eat, how to dress. This stuff didn’t happen overnight, it didn’t at all. It was all of the organizations that I chose to join”, Hurst said.

Getting involved on campus is a great way to come out of your shell. Hurst reveals he used to be fairly shy and while talking to him at this point, that’s a version of him that’s tough to imagine. Hurst also said, “The relationships I’ve had on campus were my biggest help. Friends and [there are] some really good professors here too.”

Hurst spoke with Inkwell staff about his experience in honor of Operation First-Generation Week last week that was from Nov. 4-8. For more information on TRIO support services and how to find help as a first-generation student, please contact TRIO Student Support Services in Solms Hall, Room 212 via phone at (912) 344-3023 or email at trio@georgiasouthern.edu.


Food Truck Undergoing Repairs

Madison Watkins, Editor-in-Chief

The food truck at its current location behind the Armstrong Center. Photo by Madison Watkins.

When walking past University Hall and Residential Plaza, students are greeted with the smells of fried food and funnel cake fries from the campus food truck. The past few weeks however, the truck has been missing from its usual spot in between University Hall and Compass Point.

Director of Armstrong Campus Dining, James Michael Morgan reported to us that the food truck had malfunctioned on Oct. 21.

According to Morgan, the truck stopped pumping water to the sinks inside the truck’s kitchen, which violates the requirements of the Department of Health.

“We ceased operations while we have a diagnostic done on the truck. Once we find the source of the problem, we will have it repaired and bring it back to service,” said Morgan.

Morgan does not yet know when the truck will re-open since they don’t know what caused the issue yet.

The George-Anne Inkwell Edition will keep you up to date on when the food truck will re-open.