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Success Courses

Success Course Definition

Success courses are designed to help undergraduate students make successful transitions from a previous level of education, or experience (e.g., the military), into the University, from undeclared status into a major, and/or from undergraduate studies to graduate studies or careers. Some courses teach general skills for college success, while others focus on what is needed in a specific discipline or college, or on the exploration of possible majors or careers.  Success courses are usually designed for a specific population that is identified in the course description. Excluded from this category are courses required in the major.  Success courses are distinguished from other courses by the fact that their content, based on contact hours or learning outcomes, includes at least 50% of one or more of the following topics:

  1. Self-exploration and development

    • Processes of self-evaluation and self-assessment as underpinnings for individual personal development and lifelong learning.

    • Making connections with key resources (people, units, and services) that contribute to persistence and resiliency.

    • A variety of learning strategies and how to enact them (e.g., time management, note-taking, exam preparation).

    • Development of the oral, written, and group communication skills necessary to be successful at the university level generally and/or in specific disciplines.

    • Development of critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

  2. Major-exploration

    • Initiation into the culture of the University and/or a particular college or discipline. 

    • Exploration of academic programs to help undeclared students or students in transition select an appropriate major.

  3. Preparation for careers or graduate school

    • Development of the oral, written, and group communication skills necessary to be successful at the graduate level or in specific careers.

    • Evaluation and exploration of students- interests, values, aptitudes/skills and lifestyle preferences in relation to their career plans.

  4. Tools that can help students succeed in their major

    • Making connections with key resources in the unit (people, services, and materials) that contribute to persistence and success in the degree program.

    • A variety of learning strategies specific to the major and how to enact them.

Policies for Success Courses

  1. No more than 3 units will apply toward a student's graduation requirements.

  2. Success courses cannot be repeated, with or without the Grade Replacement Opportunity (GRO).

​Guidelines for Success Courses

  1. Success courses may be offered by a college or department. The instructor, department or college offering a course should limit enrollment to students for whom the course is designed.  

  2. Instructors should have a graduate degree or be enrolled in a graduate degree program and should be approved by the department head or dean. If the course relates to success in a specific major, the instructor's graduate degree should be in that discipline. Instructors are expected to have substantial understanding of the teaching and learning process.

  3. Grading System:  Success courses may be offered for Pass/Fail or for Regular Grades so long as the grading system is made clear to students in the class and grading is carried out in a manner that is consistent with other courses. The grading system is determined by the offering college and applied consistently to all sections of that course, regardless of when it is offered.

  4. The instructor, department, and/or college offering a course may choose the delivery venue.  Courses may be offered online, in the classroom, or with other formats.  

  5. Some students may be required to take a success course as long as the reasons (such as requiring it for students on probation to give them a better chance for academic success) are specified in writing and the requirement is approved by the appropriate head, dean, and the Assistant Vice Provost for Instruction and Assessment.

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