Faculty Reflections: Best Non-Major Class

As advisors, we often hear students say things like, “I’m all done with the classes for my major; what classes should I take next?”

If you find yourself in this situation, there are actually many different options. Some students look into research or teaching assistantships, internships, or honors projects. Other students consider picking up a minor or taking extra classes for their major.

One option not enough students seem to consider is simply taking courses that are personally interesting to them. It is too bad because college is a great opportunity to try out new things and learn about topics you wouldn’t normally get a chance to learn about. Plus, those classes might end up being some of the most influential experiences you have.

In that spirit, we asked some faculty to describe a class that took that wasn’t a requirement of their major, yet had a significant impact on their personal or professional life. Here’s what they had to say.

Dr. Wilson-Doenges: I loved the class “The American Novel” which I took as a Humanities Gen Ed requirement my sophomore year at Boston University. I never read so much in one semester in my life, but that class ignited a passion for reading for fun that I have carried with me ever since. One of the books we read in that class, Winesburg, Ohio, sparked my interest in suburbia that charted a course for my future research interests in environmental psychology. Great class, great teacher, great books!

Dr. Jill White: I took a Physics class – Physics for non-Science majors – that utterly changed how I see things. Even though it was supposed to be stripped of math (it wasn’t), and geared toward those of us who hadn’t taken all the hard science pre-reqs, it was still very challenging. But it was SO WORTH IT. The class gave me a view of our universe that I would never have had without it. After every single class, I would walk around in a kind of daze, thinking “Wow, this place we live in is amazing!” And it gave me the ability to talk to people at parties about everything from quantum mechanics to electricity. I could also read newspaper and magazine articles about new space and/or particle findings without them being too far over my head. The funny thing was how much I found that the stuff I was learning in Physics mapped on, or helped me understand what I was learning in the religion class I was also taking that semester. Call it the “semester that blew my mind”.

Dr. Kate Burns: I had many non-psychology classes in college that I enjoyed so it’s hard to narrow it down to one. One course that I still think about today is “Philosophy of Science”. The class really pushed me to think about what science was and how this definition has changed over time. The professor was great and I fell in love with Thomas Kuhn. I still have one of the books from this class in my office (it’s by Kuhn, of course).

Internships: A Student Perspective (Special Bonus Edition)

In preparation for fall registration, which will be upon us before you know it, the PF is proud to bring you interviews with not just one, but two students who recently completed internships! See below to learn more about how the students (Chris Kuhn and Bao Thao) found their internships and what they learned. If you are interested in pursuing an internship yourself, make sure that before you do anything else you read the appropriate human development and psychology internship policies and then consult with a faculty member who would be an appropriate sponsor for you. Please also remember that internships are not the only way to gain this great, applied experience; volunteer work and paid employment opportunities can be equally valuable.

Brown County United Way by Chris Kuhn

1. Where did you complete your internship?

Brown County United Way

2. How did you find out about the internship and go about getting it?

I talked with my Psychology advisor about opportunities in the community that I could get involved with. She was a board member for the Brown County United Way, and suggested that I intern with their organization. She set up a meeting with who was to become my internship supervisor, and we went from there.

3. What kinds of things do you get to do on your internship?

I interned specifically with the Community Partnership for Children department of the Impact Council. My main project was working through data to collect information on the developmental milestones of children age 0-3. The data was used to create a tool that could be used to measure healthy development in the community’s infants. Besides working on that project, I was able to observe the 2-1-1 Call Center (a hotline that connects community members with local services.)

4. How do you think the internship relates to what you have learned in your classes?

Many of the classes that I had taken relate to the healthy development of children. Infancy and Early Childhood stressed the importance of childhood development and how it has long-term implications throughout life. The work I was a part of showed the effort the community was making in order to ensure that healthy development.

5. How important has this internship been to your educational experience at UWGB, and why?

The internship brought my knowledge full circle with its real-world application. Sitting in class, students are only able to learn about the topics in theory. Being able to experience the issues in an applied setting really highlighted the lessons that were being taught in class. Drawing the connections between class content and application was a very valuable learning experience.

Phuture Phoenix by Bao Thao

1. Where are you doing your internship?

I did my internship with Phuture Phoenix and worked on campus and at Preble High School.

2. How did you find out about the internship and go about getting it?

I talked to my advisor about my future plans, and she suggested that doing the Phuture Phoenix internship would help me to get experience and work towards my future goals. I also saw the internship advertisement in the Pink Flamingo newsletter. From there, I contacted the Phuture Phoenix advisor and was then given an interview.

3. What kinds of things do you do on your internship?

As a fall semester intern (compared to a spring semester intern), I had the opportunity to experience, behind the scenes, about 1,400 fifth grade students come on campus and spend a day in the life of a college student. We did much planning for the two Phuture Phoenix days, and it was another year of success! Also, throughout the semester, I co-ran an extracurricular activity at Preble High School called FLITE (Future Leaders Inspired Through Empowerment). During this time, high school students came in to gain college knowledge and hear from different professionals in a variety of careers (arranged by us). In addition to that, I tutored at-risk high school students at Preble High School and served as a role model to them.

4. How do you think the internship relates to what you have learned in your classes?

The internship relates a lot to my Middle Childhood and Adolescence class. This was because I worked with students that were in the adolescence stage, and I used much of the knowledge I gained from this course. Another class that my internship experience related to was Multicultural Counseling and Mental Health where cultural competence and cultural sensitivity is important, for I worked with many students of different cultural backgrounds.

5. How important has this internship been to your educational experience at UWGB, and why?

This internship has made a big impact on me. It has helped confirm that school counseling is what I want to go into, and that high school students are the population I would prefer to work with. I feel that this internship has given me more experience and has benefitted me in many ways. Even though my internship has already expired, I decided to continue tutoring because knowing that not only has this internship made an impact on me, but that I have also made an impact on these students gives me great satisfaction.

Did you know…About the Methods Requirement?

In this feature, we address the methods requirement for majors and minors. Did you know…that Human Development and Psychology double majors need to take both Developmental Research Methods and Experimental Psychology? Those with a Psychology minor only (i.e., not also a Human Development major) can take either one of these courses, and Human Development minors only (i.e., not also a Psychology major) are not required to take either one. For single majors, you will need to take the course specific to your major (Experimental Psychology for Psychology majors and Developmental Research Methods for Human Development majors).

And… “Welcome” Dr. Martin!

No, you’re not misreading that headline. Dr. Ryan Martin is the new Chair of Psychology, taking over from Dr. Wilson-Doenges who had served as Chair for past 6 years. If you need a course substitution form for psychology or have a psychology curriculum question, you should ask Dr. Martin. If you need your psychology internship, TA, or RA form signed, you still need to talk to Dr. Vespia instead, as that form is signed by the Interdisciplinary Unit (Human Development) Chair. As fellow co-editors of The Pink Flamingo, we can say with no bias whatsoever that we know Dr. Martin will do a great job.

Did You Know…About the Human Development Diversity Requirement?

In this recurring feature, we address common questions we hear and important facts we want to share. This month we highlight the Diversity Requirement for the Human Development major.

Did you know…that the diversity course (required only for Human Development majors under catalog years 2007-08, 2008-09, & 2009-10) shows up your SIS as “unmet” for every student until their advisor asks the Registrar’s Office to slot a course in for it (even if you have already fulfilled the requirement)? Unfortunately, the computer system just can’t handle the automatic programming for this one. To meet the requirement, you need to take an ADDITIONAL ethnic studies, world culture, or travel course (above and beyond what you took for your Gen Ed requirements and beyond those classes you will count as upper-level Human Development electives). If you are a foreign language major or minor, an upper-level foreign language class (not a grammar class) that is not counting for Gen Ed can also work. If you have taken a course that you believe meets this requirement, but it is still showing up as unmet (check your SIS report to confirm that FIRST), then contact your Human Development adviser so he/she can work with the Registrar’s Office to fix the issue.

Research Assistantships: A Student Perspective

When we first started writing The Pink Flamingo, we interviewed some students engaged in internships, research assistantships, and teaching assistantships. We decided to conduct some new interviews with recent students. In our first installment, Matt Machnik tells us about his RA with Dr. Martin.

1. Who were you working with for your research assistantship (RA)?

Dr. Ryan Martin

2. How did you find out about the RA and go about getting it?

I first heard about the research assistant opportunities during classes. I talked to different professors about the opportunities that were available. I periodically checked the Human Development Want Ads until an RA opportunity became available that was of particular interest to me. Then, I simply emailed the professor involved with the project, filled out an application, had an interview, and was offered the RA.

3. What kinds of things did you get to do for your RA?

I was able to be involved in just about every step of the research process. There were weekly meetings held during which Dr. Martin, the other RAs, and I would discuss the different studies we were working on during the semester. We continually worked on the methodology for each of the studies, and each of the RAs was given opportunities to provide suggestions for how to improve, or “fine tune,” them.

In addition, I had the opportunity to run data collections. This was my favorite part. This involved actually carrying out the different studies we had planned. I thought it was especially enjoyable because it was great to see people completing the measures we spent so much time preparing. Afterward, I would code the data in SPSS. This process was especially helpful, as it allowed me additional practice with SPSS.

Beyond that, I completed a literature review on the subject of my choice. While the prospect of having to write a paper isn’t always exciting to students, I believe it was a great learning experience. It gave me the opportunity to spend time familiarizing myself with scientific literature, as well as hone my writing skills.

4. How do you think the RA related to what you have learned in your classes?

Generally speaking, it gave me a better understanding of the research process. Since so much of what is taught at UWGB is research driven, it is apparent that this increased understanding will be of use when considering how scientific knowledge is gained. In addition, it helped improve my ability to critically analyze scientific literature – a skill that will come in handy when completing research related class assignments.

I also feel that my experience in the RA program will be of use when completing my Honors Project/Independent Study. The RA provided an excellent example of the type of work that will be involved in developing my project. In essence, the RA was a “warm up” to the research process that I will be carrying out. I would highly recommend that anyone considering doing an Honors Project or Independent Study participate in the RA program first, as it will help them become more familiar with research as a whole.

5. How important has this RA been to your educational experience at UWGB, and why?

Quite important. The experience has proved to be an asset not only when completing the coursework, but also in other projects, such as my Independent Study, as well as the internship that I am currently involved in. I strongly believe that I am a much more competent student than I was before doing the research assistantship, and this has helped enrich my educational experience here at UWGB. I also believe that the improved experience while doing my undergraduate work will also help me become a stronger graduate student. Thus, I believe the experience will pay off both immediately and in my future endeavors as well.

Editors’ Note: Wondering about getting a research assistantship of your own? Read the faculty profiles on the Human Development and Psychology websites to learn who typically works with RAs. These profiles also provide information about the research topics of interest to these professors. As registration time draws nearer for the next semester, you can also check out the department “Want Ads” to see if any openings are listed. Not all faculty members will list their opportunities there, so you should also feel free to contact professors directly to see if they are looking for RAs and find out how to apply.

Registration Tips: Understanding Priority Registration, Pre-Requisites, and Internet Courses

Keep reading for the most up-to-date tips on Fall 2011 registration!

Priority Registration
Our policy of priority registration for upper-level Human Development classes will continue this fall. That means that Human Development majors and minors (and for HUM DEV 331, 332, and 343 Psychology majors and minors, too!) will have first access to our classes during registration. You’ll notice these classes will say “Reserved” in the on-line schedule of classes. Don’t let that worry you – they are “reserved” for YOU!

Pre-Requisites and Internet Courses
We get a number of questions about pre-requisites at this time of year. If you are curious about pre-requisites for a class, click on the hyperlink for the course name in the on-line “Schedule of Classes” you can access on the UWGB website.

Note that things listed after “P:” are required to enroll (e.g., “P: HUM DEV 210” would mean HUM DEV 210 needed to be taken before you could enroll in this class).

On the other hand, things listed after “REC:” are recommended (e.g., it’s recommended that you take HUM DEV 331 before HUM DEV 332, but it’s not required). Classes might also have a pre-requisite that you have a certain major or a certain class year in order to register. Keep this in mind, especially if you look at Internet courses. Many of these are offered through Adult Degree and have as a pre-requisite a major in Interdisciplinary Studies, BAS-IST, or Nursing. You will get an error message if you try to enroll in one of those courses and are not a major in one of the above programs. These classes include Sections 183 ONLY of the following: PSYCH 102, HUM DEV 210, HUM DEV 331, HUM DEV 332, HUM DEV 343, HUM DEV 345, HUM DEV 346, and HUM DEV 424. Note that you can request special permission to enroll in these classes (from the instructor and Adult Degree), but not until some time after priority registration has ended. Additional fees may also apply because they are Internet classes, which carry an additional $60 fee and are not included in the “tuition plateau” for full-time students (i.e., have to pay separately for these classes beyond your full-time tuition).

Summer Classes and Summer Registration Reminder

We re-print the following message from Dr. Wilson-Doenges, who reminds everyone that the time to think about summer is now! Can’t get in to a class you want for Fall or don’t see it listed on the Fall schedule of classes (e.g., Psychology of Emotion and Organizational and Personnel Psychology)? Think about summer! Registration for summer is open right now, and classes are filling!

IN-PERSON AND HYBRID COURSES:

HUM DEV 353: Family Development (4W2, afternoons, Dr. Denise Bartell)

PSYCH 438: Counseling Across the Lifespan (4W1, mornings, Dr. Kristin Vespia)

PSYCH 415: Organizational and Personnel Psychology (4W1, HYBRID, afternoons, Dr. David Radosevich)

ONLINE COURSES:

COMM SCI 205: Social Science Statistics (6W1, Dr. Georjeanna Wilson-Doenges)

HUM DEV 210: Introduction to Human Development (6W1, Dr. Dean VonDras)

HUM DEV 331: Infancy and Early Childhood (4W1, Dr. Melissa Schnurr)

HUM DEV 332: Middle Childhood and Adolescence (4W1, Dr. Lloyd Noppe)

PSYCH 401: Psychology of Women (4W2, Dr. Christine Smith)

PSYCH 417: Psychology of Cognitive Processes  (6W1, Dr. Jennifer Zapf)

PSYCH 424: Psychology of Emotion (6W1, Dr. Ryan Martin)

PSYCH 435: Abnormal Psychology (4W1, Dr. Ryan Martin)

Please note that all of the classes listed above are offered through our department and are open to students who meet the basic pre-requisites. Other PSYCH and HUM DEV classes listed on the summer schedule (i.e., those with section numbers that begin with a “1”) are offered through the Adult Degree program. You will have to request special permission from the instructor and the Adult Degree program to register for those.

Recycling Registration Resources

RecycleMania is going on right now at UW-Green Bay.  What better way for The Pink Flamingo to pitch in than by “recycling” some classic registration resources from the past?

FAQs About Registration and Advising

This Just In…New Procedure for Declaring a HUM DEV or PSYCH Major or Minor

Research Assistantships: A Student Perspective

Teaching Assistantships: A Student Perspective

Internships: A Student Perspective

Summer Classes and Summer Registration: Coming Soon!

It’s hard to even imagine summer right now, as the temperatures drop and winter storms are in the forecast, but what better way to beat the winter doldrums than to register for summer school?! We hope that the list of summer offerings will go “live” to students this week. Summer registration is set to begin for all students on an easy-to-remember date: January 11th (get it? – 1/11/11!). Human Development and Psychology hope to have a range of offerings for you this summer, with a couple of in-person classes and many more on-line options. Watch for that course list – coming soon!

Follow-up: Tips for Hybrids

In our last issue, we told you about the new hybrid classes being offered in Human Development and Psychology (see here for article).  Since this is new to our departments, it’s fair to assume that most of you have not taken courses like these before and might be a bit more nervous than usual about your schedule in the Spring. 

Rest assured, The Pink Flamingo is here to help.  Below are several tips that we put together by talking with hybrid/on-line course instructors to try and help you make the most of these classes.

Anticipate Differences in the Course Structure
Different hybrid courses are going to be structured in different ways, especially in how they use the scheduled meeting dates.  Some instructors may use the meeting dates for exams while others will use them for group work, discussions, guest speakers, student presentations, etc.  You should plan on there being differences and make sure you know how your instructor plans on using the meeting dates.

Don’t Get Behind
Because hybrid courses are largely on-line, they will likely be more self-paced than an in-person class and there will be more you need to do on your own.  Depending on the course, this might include listening to lectures, keeping up with additional readings, participating in on-line discussion, etc.  Depending on how organized, motivated, likely to procrastinate, etc. you are, falling behind might be a problem.  You should plan on spending just as much time on these each week as you would an in-person class and it’s best to work on things a couple times a week instead of waiting until a deadline and trying to cram everything in.  In addition to doing better in the class, you’ll probably learn more too!

Solve Technical Problems Right Away
Related to not getting behind, make sure you solve any technical problems that come up immediately.  If you are having problems accessing something for the online component of a class, don’t wait to try and solve the problem.  Contact the Learning Technology Center to get their help (learntech@uwgb.edu, 920-465-2286) as soon as possible.  Keep in mind that their hours are from 8:00am to 4:30pm, Monday through Friday so waiting until the last minute might get you into trouble.

Don’t Miss Meeting Dates
Missing class is never good but it’s even worse when you only have two to four meeting times in a semester.  In fact, it’s likely that attendance at those class periods will be required with significant consequences if you are missing.  Before you sign up for a class, make sure you can make all the meeting dates.  Likewise, unless something unavoidable happens (e.g., illness, family emergency), don’t miss them (this is actually a pretty good rule for any class, hybrid or not!).

Get Involved and Ask Questions
The fact that much of the course is online shouldn’t keep you from getting to know your classmates or your instructor.  You should make sure to introduce yourself to your instructor and your classmates, to get involved in class discussions, and to ask questions.  Just like an in-person class, what you get out of it will depend greatly on what you put into it.   

If you have Concerns, Ask Questions
Finally, if you are nervous about the structure of the class, have questions about how the meeting dates will be used, or any other questions, ask!  Your instructors know that most of you haven’t taken courses like this before and that you might not know what to expect and are happy to answer your questions.