Students express frustrations with Foundations


Morgan Parrish

Foundations is a new year long introductory course that replaces SC 101.

by Regan Freland, Staff Writer

Before this academic year, Simpson College students would get acclimated to college classes and life through an introductory course called SC-101. This class was only one semester long and students could choose which topic they were most interested in. This year that was changed to Foundations. 

“Foundations is meant to provide a foundation for your college experience by providing an academic background for everyone, so there is a common intellectual experience within the students,” Sal Meyers, Director of Foundations and chair of the psychology department said.

 This class allows first-year students to get accustomed to the different resources on campus as well. These classes are integrated with writing and critical thinking skills to help kickstart the success of students. 

The decision to change from SC-101 to Foundations was made a few years ago. 

“The reason we decided to make Foundations a year-long course is because research has shown that year-long programs are more effective to help students become acclimated to college and to being successful in college. They increase persistence so students are more likely to graduate if they’ve had a year-long first-year program,” Meyers said. 

Next year, Foundations will fit right into the new general curriculum that Simpson is implementing. 

“This is a common change for institutions to make as they evolve with the times,” Meyers said. 

There was a big emphasis on diversity, equity and inclusion for Foundation courses. This decision was motivated by the mission of the college. The students’ first semester focused on the civic engagement aspect. 

“We want our students to become meaningful members of the world and communities they are a part of,” Meyers said. 

The second semester’s focus was more pointed to diversity, equity and inclusion. 

“We learned things about the civil rights movement and things that apply to real-world problems that are occurring. I am learning and taking something from that,” first-year Mike Madeira said. 

Some students agreed that their fall semester of Foundations was useful, but they didn’t get as much out of Foundations two, which is taught in the second semester of their first year.

“I feel that I learned a lot of the concepts and things that were intended to be taught in Foundations one, and now Foundations two just seems redundant,” first-year Katelyn Smith said. 

Other students echo some of the same sentiments. 

“First semester was super beneficial because we built a lot of connections with different people on campus and we were exposed to a lot of resources, but in the second semester, I feel like the professors weren’t really educated on how to teach it or what to do,” Lowe said. 

Some of the professors of these sections felt a similar way and were honest with their students. 

“Teaching a new course is difficult,” Foundations professor Spencer Waugh said. “Every time you have a new course there is going to be some frustration and bumps along the road.”

Students in Foundations are given a mentor throughout the year who meets with the students and makes sure everything is going okay. These mentors are called SC Leaders. This year, the leaders were given two sections of Foundations to be in charge of. That is a total of 32 students per mentor. 

“Being in charge of two sections with 32 students is just not feasible,” SC Leader Cam While said. “I’ve kind of reached the point where I don’t really care. My students don’t respect my time and I’m tired of trying to make things work with them. It is difficult when there’s not a lot of support, and I am just kind of over it.” 

Meyers and her team are aware of this issue and are already working on making it better for next year. There was a survey sent out about Foundations one as well as a meeting with faculty discussing what worked, what didn’t work and what they can make better for the future. 

“We have come up with a little money and each section of Foundations one will have their own SC Leader in the fall,” Meyers said.