The Benefits of BW

A couple of years ago, Baldwin Wallace University implemented First-Year Experience (FYE) courses into the Core curriculum. The purpose of these courses is to allow first-year and transfer students to explore interesting topics that are not usually found in the classroom while helping them adjust to college life. After a few years of the program, there is one question: do these classes help students achieve and adjust at Baldwin Wallace?

Samantha Dobbins-Cobb, a double-major in International Business and Music (applied), took Creative Storytelling with Professor Jordan Saul. The class dealt with the art of storytelling. Some of the topics included how to create engaging characters and plotlines in literary works.

“I am interested in storytelling and I have a lot of stories in my head,” Samantha remarked. “One day I want to write a book.”

She said she really enjoyed how the professor taught the class and felt it was a positive experience for her. The class helped her to learn to relax because college can be stressful and overwhelming for her at times. Samantha was able to get inspiration from her peers and one of her favorite parts was sharing stories with the class.

Brandon Zlotnik, a Computer Science major, took Codes and Code Breaking with Professor Randy Molmen. The class discussed codes, inscriptions, and encryption methods. Overall, Brandon said he enjoyed the professor and the material in the class; however, he felt that the required journals, mandatory events, and essays did not help him transition to college as much as his independence from home.

“The class didn’t really didn’t help with my transition to college, but it did help me choose my major,” Brandon said. “If topics were targeted at majors, and helped prepare people for their major, I feel they would get more out of it.”

He suggested this because he felt the classes should focus on giving students exposure to their chosen field to help them explore what they like and don’t. His favorite part of the class was watching the movie The Imitation Game. The movie follows the creator of computer science and his creation, the Alan Turing machine.

Samantha Villanueva, a Creative Writing major and Fine Arts minor, took an Honors section of Playing with the Past with Dr. Kohn. The class was about the trial of Socrates, the Greek philosopher. The students played a roleplay game where they had to take the roles of different characters from Greek history and debated to achieve their character’s political goals.

“The negotiations were my favorite part,” Samantha said. “It helped me to communicate my thoughts a lot easier.”

She wished there was more on time management, a skill she finds important to being successful in college. However, she said she enjoyed working with Dr. Kohn, and the class helped her choose her Creative Writing major.

Overall, the First-Year Experience courses seem to be effectively helping students explore their talents and interests at Baldwin Wallace. The faculty at Baldwin Wallace are always looking to change the Core curriculum to help students be successful and find their passion. These classes were positively received by the interviewees, and hopefully the classes will be adapted over the years to better help incoming students transition into their first semester in college.