Department of History Launches New Eight-Week Student Success Initiative

Michele Johnson
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Michele Johnson

The Department of History, with input from the Fulbright College Office of Student Success, has launched a new student success initiative aimed at providing an alternate pathway for students to make degree progress despite having academic setbacks at the beginning of the semester.

Thirty-two students enrolled in a specially designed modern American History course in the second eight-week semester (March 4 to April 30) taught by Michele Johnson. The initiative, informed by education research firm EAB's call to "untether from the academic calendar," responds to the increasing demand from undergraduate students for multimodal educational options. 

This need is especially apparent for those who would otherwise experience graduation delays under a traditional academic calendar. Students facing a "D" or "F" in a course typically either stay in that course to sustain scholarship eligibility or drop the course, leaving them behind in their path towards graduation.

By offering HIST 2013, a general education core curriculum course, in the second-eight week session, students can continue to make degree progress and maintain scholarship eligibility without either damaging their GPAs or extending their time to graduation. HIST 2013 is the only general education core curriculum course offered in an eight-week session in the 2019-20 academic year.

"History is excited to offer an opportunity for students to advance in their degree programs and support the chancellor's call to support student success on our campus" said James Gigantino, chair of the department. "Dr. Johnson is the perfect choice to lead this initiative. As a first-generation high school and college graduate, Johnson knows how difficult navigating unfamiliar academic spaces can be and has a strong desire to support students' advance toward graduation."

This is the third student success initiative launched by the Department of History this year. 

In summer 2019, the department collaborated with the Accelerate Student Achievement Program (ASAP) to create a specially designed course for ASAP students to support their transition into college, a program the department and ASAP will expand in summer 2020. 

In fall 2019, the department partnered with the 360 Advising Program and Office of Student Success to create a combined student learning community. Twenty-five students simultaneously enrolled in a specially designed U.S. History course and a University Perspectives course taught by veteran instructor and now academic advisor Brian Hurley, a program that will continue in fall 2020.


Jim Gigantino II, chair
Department of History


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