Popular one-credit courses promote transferable skills, trustees learn

The popular array of one-credit courses housed in the Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies offer students choices that promote development of transferable skills related to professional and academic success.

Mark Schaub, dean of Brooks College, said enrollment in those courses rose 162 percent this year compared to the 2021-2022 academic year. Schaub gave a presentation before the Board of Trustees' academic and student affairs subcommittee February 24 at the L. William Seidman Center on the Pew Grand Rapids Campus.

Brooks College has two prefixes for one-credit courses: the University Studies (US) courses are geared toward career exploration and internship opportunities; Interdisciplinary Studies (IDS) courses meet changing student needs, support university initiatives and focus on contemporary interest topics.

Examples of IDS courses include "Research Hacks for New Students," "Mindfulness as a College Success Tool,"  "Dialogue Across Difference" and "Intercultural Competence Through Study Abroad."

two students sit at a table with a microphone between them, the table has blue draping
From left are Annabel Maag and Danielle Blanchard, two first-year students who addressed trustees February 24 about their positive experiences with one-credit courses offered by Brooks College.
Image credit - Lauren Seymour
Mark Schaub speaks into a microphone while seated at a table, a student to his left and Dean Jennifer Drake to his right
Mark Schaub, dean of Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies, said enrollment in those courses rose 162 percent this year compared to the 2021-2022 academic year.
Image credit - Lauren Seymour

Schaub brought two first-year students who said they learned about these one-credit courses during summer orientation. Danielle Blanchard, a psychology major from Muskegon, said taking the Dialogue Across Difference class was a great decision.

"That class made an incredible impact on me," Blanchard said. "I learned how important it is to look at people with good intentions in mind. It's taught me to move through the world without fear."

Schaub said the one-credit US and IDS courses are taught by faculty members across campus. He also said these courses have positively impacted retention. "There's a clear connection between these classes and keeping students on a path toward graduation," he said.


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