The new undergraduate program, IDEAs in Action, will begin for first years in the fall

UNC will require a new general education program known as IDEAs in Action for incoming freshmen and transfer students enrolling in fall 2022. The program will help students design their own educational course at the University.

The acronym IDEAs emphasizes that students identify pressing questions and problems, discover ideas, evidence, and methods that illuminate those questions, evaluate those ideas, and act on those evaluations.

The new program will require students to take foundational first-year courses designed to help students navigate the transition to the college environment.

One such course is “Interdisciplinary Studies 101: College Thriving.” The aim of the course is to equip students to participate in the opportunities of a research university.

“I think the ‘College Thriving’ course is going to be a real game-changer,” said Nick Siedentop, Curriculum Director for the Office of Undergraduate Programs, “I think for students, they’re all going to have that kind of experience in a small classroom, where they really learn how to be successful in the classroom and learn the skills to be successful in the classroom.”

As part of the new Freshman Foundations component, students will take a three-credit hour Freshman Seminar or Introductory course, as well as a four-credit hour Triple-I course involving data literacy for Ideas, Information and Inquiry Program.

“The Triple-I program is one of the key elements of the new curriculum, and it’s a requirement for all incoming freshmen,” said Cary Levine, associate dean and director of the Triple-I program. large courses that bring together three teachers from different disciplines to teach a common subject.”

Levine said he encourages students never to think that one discipline is enough to tackle a particular problem.

“Courses like Triple-I courses, at the very least, remind students that no matter which discipline you choose, there are others thinking about the same subject, but from very different perspectives. and very different tools and very different methods,” Levine said.

Siedentop said the Office of Undergraduate Programs is excited to launch this new program in the fall, with the new program elements available to all undergraduate students.

“Students often had to really seek out some of these high-impact experiences, like a freshman seminar and a research experience,” Siedentop said. “While in the new curriculum, it’s built into the requirements so that all students have the opportunity to participate in these high-impact experiences.

Under the new program, students will take one course for each of nine targeted abilities, which will total three credits each.

Focus Capacity courses aim to build the capacity to identify and act on ideas, evidence and arguments. These courses will also enable teamwork among students through various methods.

All students must complete at least one general education requirement in each of the three major divisions of the College of Arts and Sciences: Humanities and Fine Arts, Mathematics and Natural Sciences, and Social and Behavioral Sciences.

“The whole program was designed to blend a kind of cohesive and coherent education so that students can carve out a better and coherent education for themselves,” said Li-ling Hsiao, associate dean for freshman programs.

As students progress through this program, they will be able to put their abilities into practice through real-world experiences provided by the Reflection and Integration courses.

For these, students must complete a Research and Discovery course, a High-Impact Experience course, a Beyond Carolina Communication course, a Lifetime Fitness course, and attend at least two campus life experiences.

Campus Life Experience events include activities held on campus, such as performances, panels, and workshops. All approved events will be put on HeelLife, which will also track event attendance.

ENGL 105 or 105i will still be required under the new curriculum, along with three levels of foreign language courses, which students are strongly encouraged to start in the first academic year.

For more information on the new IDEAs in Action program, visit its website.


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