Office of Academic Affairs
Coordinated Undergraduate Education (CUE)
Coordinated Undergraduate Education (CUE) Initiative
Component Program Descriptions
The College's CUE programs have been grouped into four categories: (1) Programs to Improve Student Success at Critical Junctures; (2) Faculty Development Programs to Enhance Teaching; (3)Writing Across the Curriculum; and (4) Pilot Programs.
1. Programs to Improve Student Success at Critical Junctures: At the college, research has shown that the critical junctures are the first year of a student’s college experience; the transition from the first year to the sophomore year; taking and passing required CUNY examinations; entry into the major and preparation for graduate school and the professions. To address each of these, the college proposes the following programs:
- Summer Skills Development Academy (SSDA) will address the academic needs of first time freshman, continuing freshman, and transfer students by offering two distinct but connected academic sessions. The first session will address the developmental course needs of continuing and transfer freshman students to facilitate retaking and passing of CUNY assessment examinations. The following classes will be offered: Arithmetic and Basic Algebra (MTHP 009), Elementary Algebra (MTHP 010), Critical Literacy I (ENGR 005), Critical Literacy II (ENGR 006), Composition I (ENGW 005), Composition II (ENGW 006), and ESL Reading and Writing. In session two, students who successfully completed session one will accelerate their academic progress either by taking credit-bearing courses or the next level of developmental coursework. Although session two targets new freshmen, it will also provide extensive developmental services to continuing and transfer freshmen. Specifically, these students will be provided intensive instruction in reading, mathematics, and writing. Students will receive instruction in the areas of critical thinking, leadership development, information literacy, and numeracy. Additionally, students will participate in symposia that are led by the college’s most accomplished senior faculty and staff.
- First-Year Experience (FYE) is a college-wide initiative designed to provide both academic and non-academic support for students continuing into the fall semester from the Summer Skills Development Academy. FYE integrates existing services, such as those provided in the SEEK and Freshman Year Programs, and promotes college-wide collaborations to effect student success from pre-admission to the end of the second semester. The college will use three models for learning based upon a student’s level of preparedness as measured by the CUNY Placement Exams, specifically Accelerated Learning (AL), for students who require two or more developmental courses; Integrated Course Learning (ICL), primarily for students needing one developmental course that emphasizes a cooperative relationship between instructors to allow for integrated syllabi; and Collaborative Learning Communities for all students. Learners will be placed into content-centered, thematic block programming, consisting of clusters of general education and developmental courses and freshman seminars.
- Transfer Student Activities introduces enhanced services for transfer students, including cross training of academic advisors to conduct on site evaluation, collaboration between the admissions department and the Student Advocacy and Support Services Center (SASSC), hiring of a transfer coordinator, implementation of a transfer student survey, updating the MEC CUNY TIPPS program in collaboration with chairpersons (only 10% of MEC courses have not been evaluated) and a Transfer Evaluation, Advisement and Registration Fair. At this Fair, students are given the opportunity to have their transcripts evaluated, to receive academic advisement and to register for appropriate courses. Transfer students who enter the college with probation or dismissal status are identified through a collaborative effort between admissions and the SASSC. These students are mandated to take an Academic Improvement course which is required for all students on academic warning and probation. The next step is to assess the retention, persistence, and graduation rates of transfer students after we have implemented these strategies.
- Mentoring for Success Program (MSP) is an on-going effort to improve student retention and graduation from the first semester to graduation. Mentoring for Success Program (MSP) has two key components: Faculty-Student Mentoring and Peer Mentoring to provide structured guidance and learning opportunities for all students through a coordinated faculty-student engagement outside of the classroom. Working in partnership with a mentor, each student has access to a trusted coach/advisor in their discipline who brings to the process his/her personal expertise and MEC knowledge and insight.
- CPE Initiative is a two-pronged initiative combining publicity about the CPE with more stringent procedures with regards to registration stops and mandatory interventions for students with multiple CPE failures. The publicity component includes student information sessions (CPE Speak Out), a CPE informational video on close-circuit TV, creation of CPE posters and palm cards, and a redesign of the CPE area of the MEC website to include a video about the CPE and the CPE interactive tutorial. In fall 2006 a new six-hour CPE workshop will be developed for transfer students and students with two failures. Students with one CPE fail or forfeiture must complete the online CPE tutorial. The college will train advanced undergraduate tutors (CPE Student Fellows) to lead our short workshops, using the online CPE tutorial.
2. Faculty Development Programs to Enhance Teaching
Center for Learning and Teaching Excellence (CLTE) will 1) stimulate faculty commitment and discussion related to assessing, analyzing and revising curricula and instruction in order to promote effective student learning; 2) provide information on current research trends in postsecondary curricula and instructional methods to promote faculty development; 3) facilitate and disseminate faculty research, projects and initiatives related to curriculum and instruction throughout the college; local and international community; and 4) promote faculty scholarship. Consistent with these goals, conferences, workshops and discussions sponsored by the CLTE serve to promote faculty development, collaboration across disciplines and community engagement.
3. Writing Across the Curriculum
Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) is designed to work within the College’s structure across departments. It is dedicated to implementing curricular innovation an institutional practice. Along with CLTE, WAC represents institutional resources for sharing exemplary teaching practices and providing a catalyst for reflective thinking. Along with CLTE, WAC will collaborate with the Freshman Year Program to focus a series of workshops to address pedagogical issues in teaching first year students. WAC will also make a Writing Fellow available to document the work done in those workshops in a form that can be used as a permanent resource for FYP. To support student learning campus-wide, WAC will work within the Academic Departments through the WAC Departmental Coordinators to implement plans for Writing Intensive (WI) courses in the majors and in the CORE curriculum. It will also work to create the structure for designating and documenting WI courses at MEC. WAC will work with one of the faculty whose teaching practices are considered exemplary to create a handbook of exemplary WAC practices, with input from faculty. This material will be distributed to new faculty at a set of workshops devoted to WAC. WAC will work with the CPE Liaison and the OAA to raise awareness of the CPE among both students and faculty through its campaign to create a campus conversation about the CPE. In addition, WAC will expand its offerings of Faculty CPE Workshops, piloted during the AY 2005-2006, to raise faculty awareness of the specific skills for which the CPE tests. WAC will also create a video that documents pedagogies used at the College focusing on student experiences of teaching writing at MEC, and on pedagogical practices that both students and faculty consider exemplary. Finally, the college will establish a Writing Center and will train a group of Junior Writing Fellows (student tutors) who will work in the Writing Center.
4. Pilot Programs
- General Education at MEC: Revising the CORE is designed to inform and stimulate the reengineering of the CORE curriculum beginning with the College’s unique history, and an appreciation for the continuing conversation about General Education that has been ongoing at the college since its inception. The proposed program seeks to build on the College’s core dialogue to connect our past to our future. The project consists of three phases to be implemented in AY 2006-2007. The first phase will continue the CORE Faculty Dialogues (ongoing since 2004) and the work done by the CORE Committee, focusing on the roles and purposes of general education and assessing the current CORE in relation to the socio-political, historical, and economic issues that influenced perspectives in higher education nationwide, and specifically, in Brooklyn, New York, that gave birth to the College. In phase two, as MEC enters its 36th year, the college will produce a brief video that documents the evolution of general education and approaches to the CORE at the College, featuring a significant number of College founders and initial faculty who remain at the College or are active in the community. In phase three, we will use the recommendations of phase one and the documentary as a reflection piece for a faculty development retreat to review and redefine CORE goals and to initiate a revision of the CORE curriculum.
- Capstone Project is for senior year students to focus on projects that foster interdisciplinary learning and practical experience as part of their general education requirements. Integrating ideas across disciplines and then relating theory to practice in the field to address questions and problems will serve as a culmination of students’ academic and community-based learning experiences. The capstone course prototype will be designed by a multidisciplinary group of faculty from the schools of the college under the guidance of the Office of Academic Affairs. Capstone courses in the academic disciplines based upon this prototype will be required of students across disciplines. In the capstone courses, students will integrate learning from their majors, other disciplines and from the CORE curriculum to create a senior project that must involve a community-based experience. The prototype for the capstone experience will be designed in fall 2006 and the courses will be piloted in spring 2007.
- Collaborative Community-Based Learning (CBL) is a strategy that will provide students with experiences in the community as part of their course requirements in order to help them integrate theory with practice while encouraging civic engagement. Courses infused with community-based learning examine an array of social issues, combining real life experiences, skills, theory, reflection, and assessment methods to help students serve in the community and learn more effectively. As vehicles for CBL, the college will use existing and successful local and national programs in which it participates – The American Democracy Project (ADP), Political Engagement Project (PEP), and Student Leadership Program (SLP). Through the CBL initiative, faculty will have opportunities to produce scholarship and publications based on action research.
- Gateway Math Project will create online interactive tutorials with an integrated assessment engine that address gateway mathematics courses at the college, and enable students to be successful in Pre-Calculus and beyond. The tutorials will be used in all developmental mathematics courses through Pre-Calculus. It is also expected that this package will play a longer term role as tutorial aid for any field of study using quantitative tools. A series of interactive aids, similar to applets, which will guide students through the processes used in solving various classes of problems. These tutorial and study aids will serve simultaneously as problem sets and solution manuals, by generating thousands of variations on a theme through the use of randomization tools, and allowing students to enter parameters for a specific problem and presenting them with a solution. The MAPLE Mathematics System, which the college licenses, will be used as the programming environment for developing the proposed gateway program. The tutorials will to be available on a web server hosted by the college, accessible through any current browser. The site will be restricted to registered MEC students and faculty, and will require authentication.
CUE Coordinator: Janice Zummo