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18 January 2012

Spring semester sees several changes on the horizon

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Photo Illustration by Marlena Skrobe//Photo Editor

Student Government (SG) will be working to implement new academic programs, reintroduce umbrella rentals and host events for the student body during the spring semester.

Students will soon be able to design a new class by proposing an idea, writing a syllabus and finding a textbook and faculty adviser. Design-a-Course will be ready in the 2012 fall semester, SG Press Secretary Michael Piacentino said.

The Office of Assessment and Accreditation is currently working with SG to ensure that these courses will be accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, and that they will count toward graduation.

“Allowing students to design their own courses, create their own majors, and really take control and ownership of their coursework at UM will set this university even further apart from other universities around the country,” Piacentino said.

This program is modeled after a similar, successful initiative at the University of Virginia. At Virginia, the faculty adviser officially grades the courses, but students do much of the administrative work, reported The Daily Progress, a publication from Central Virginia.

These courses at UM will also be student-led and available for registration on myUM by next semester.

“I’ve never heard of making up classes before,” sophomore Andres Morfin said. “I’d be interested to see what sort of results we get. But then again, you have to have standards, so you don’t have really useless classes.”

SG is also still working with the administration to establish the Create Your Own Major program that would also allow for more student involvement in the academic process.
Umbrella rentals, which were available on campus during previous SG administrations, will be brought back to campus after the logistics are worked out. Students will most likely pay a refundable deposit for the umbrellas. Taking into account changes to the reservation and info desks, SG has yet to decide what location will be the best option in the long run.
“You can never see out the window if it’s raining or not, so you have to go back upstairs to get your umbrella and then you’re late for your lecture, so I think umbrella rentals will be really good,” junior Zoe Shoosmith said.

SG is also hosting a Welcome Back I-Lounge Mixer for members of all student organizations that have offices in the I-Lounge and University Center as a way for students to gather after the break. It will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday night and feature food, music and group activities.
U-Factor, a UM spinoff of the popular reality-TV show the X-Factor, will take place on Mar. 21 on the UC Patio and will allow all performance groups on campus to compete and showcase their talent.

Groups will pay a refundable deposit to secure their position and those that are interested should email Melissa Guller at m.guller@umiami.edu.