What is the Ultimate Freshman Experience?
This answer is different for almost every college student. For some, it may have been living in the dorms. For others, it’s when they accepted a bid to a fraternity or sorority. This year, however, the Ultimate Freshman Experience is FEX 101.
FEX 101 is a one credit Freshman Experience class, offered by the Academic Development Center.
Last year, the Academic Development Center created the new course and it was so successful the Provost’s Office decided to double the number of sections offered for this academic year.
Dr. Perri Lee Robert, vice provost for Undergraduate Affairs, says the course not only is an opportunity, but also an asset to the freshman curriculum. “Students find it incredibly helpful for their first semester, and the rest of their college career.”
Jim Fatzinger, director of Freshman Programs and associate director of the Academic Development Center, agrees.
“The Goal of FEX is to expose a student to anything they are going to eventually encounter at the University of Miami,” he said. “FEX 101 is a combination of academics, college survival skills, and it is a ton of fun!”
FEX 101 offers a multitude of opportunities. Classes have guest speakers from range of departments. This year FEX 101 features speakers including University of Miami President Donna Shalala, Study Abroad Director Elyse Resnick, and Assistant Director of Multicultural Affairs Nanette Vega.
“I just wish I had an opportunity to take a course like FEX 101 my freshman year, it could have saved me the work of figuring out the University of Miami myself,” said Student Government President Michael A. Johnston.
“The opportunities that come with this class took me at least two years to experience on my own. I think this program is one of the best opportunities the university offers to freshman.”
Last year, Johnston was a Teacher’s Assistant to Gregory R. Singleton, Associate Dean of Students and director of Greek Life.
Every FEX professor has chosen a student to assist with all aspects of the course. Consequently, each freshman can develop a close relationship with an already well-adapted college student.
“I had a great time assisting with this class, I still keep in touch with most of the students,” Johnston said.
FEX 101 focuses on two main areas – academics and mentorship. Since the classes are kept small and personal, each student is able to develop a great relationship with a major administrator or professor at the university. This is an opportunity that does not come often at college.
“FEX was redesigned based on the students and faculty who took the class last year,” said Fatzinger. ” The interest response from last year’s freshman was unbelievably high, and I am very excited for next year.”
Some of the academic issues FEX 101 covers are time management and test anxiety, both of which pose problems for most freshmen. Many times in college, there may be a class that has only one or two tests for the entire semester.
Sometimes, one test may cover more than 500 pages of a textbook, four months of lectures and a three-inch binder of notes. And the test may be worth your entire class grade. Few freshman have experienced this before.
“This class gives the incoming freshman a competitive edge to a brand new college curriculum, making sure they succeed,” said Fatzinger.
FEX 101’s enrollment has tripled since last year, now able to accommodate more than 580 students. For the incoming freshman class, spaces in this class will be very limited.
“Students reported that the class was extremely helpful, and we want everyone to succeed for the rest of their lives,” Roberts said.
For more information about FEX 101, go to www.miami.edu/fex101. Also, contact Jim Fatzinger at 305-284-3520 or via email a Jim.B.Fatzinger@miami.edu