Associate in Arts Program students learned about opportunities on the Newark campus during the Majors and Minors on Main event.

Majors and Minors on Main

Associate in Arts Program students, parents learn about life on UD's Newark campus

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12:47 p.m., March 25, 2014--Students graduating in May from the University of Delaware’s Associate in Arts Program (AAP) and their parents were welcomed to the Trabant University Center on Friday, March 21, to hear about the wide range of academic opportunities and student-oriented programs available on UD’s Newark campus. 

The ninth annual Majors and Minors on Main event, which also included an informational fair, attracted about 200 students scheduled to complete their course requirements this spring at AAP locations in Wilmington, Dover and Georgetown. About 30 parents also attended the event. 

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Jack Bartley, director of the Associate in Arts Program, urged students to expand their horizons and explore the wide variety of academic opportunities and student social activities that comprise the UD undergraduate experience. 

“I would like you to expand your peripheral vision,” Bartley said. “I would like you to keep in mind that there are many options out there, and that at some point, you may want to change your major.” 

Having more options means that students have more pathways to take as they continue their academic journey at UD, Bartley said.

“Things have a way of progressing,” Bartley said. “You want to be aware of what’s around you and what you’re going to be able to do.”

Ann Ardis, deputy dean in the College of Arts and Sciences, commended students preparing to move from the close-knit environment of the Associate in Arts Program to life on a much larger, vibrant and engaged campus community.

“You have developed a set of friends and faculty mentors in your experience on all three of the Associate in Arts Program sites,” Ardis said. “You will be living in a larger community, but you live in your neighborhood first, so bring your friends with you to this campus.” 

Ardis also noted that opportunities to learn exist outside the confines of individual majors and their respective curriculum.

“Take advantage of the opportunities to learn from people who are majoring in something different and use what they are learning to keep learning yourself,” Ardis said. “My other point is to learn to ‘lean in’ and take advantage of the leadership opportunities here.”

Regina Donato, associate director, Alumni Relations, noted that students become alumni upon their graduation from the Associate in Arts Program.

“When you go to your graduation in May, you’ll get your alumni pin and become part of the UD Alumni Association,” Donato said. “The Alumni Association offers many services that will be available to you.”

A panel of representatives from several academic disciplines offered suggestions on issues ranging from handling academic stress to majors and minors offered in the sciences and humanities and the growing cross-disciplinary approach to solving major societal issues. 

Panelists included Carol Henderson-Belton, chair, Department of Black American Studies; Eric Rise, associate professor of sociology; Frank Newton, assistant dean, College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment; Colleen Kent, academic adviser in the Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics; and Lynn Worden, assistant professor of human development and family studies. 

Avron Abraham, director of the Center for Academic Success, concluded the panel discussion by suggesting that students consider what they want to take with them when they leave UD.  

“We want you to think about being creative and innovative and being a leader,” Abraham said. “We are here for you, and we want you to be the next generation of leaders.”

Following the panel presentation, representatives from a wide variety of UD academic units and departments offered advice to students during an informational fair.

While students visited the fair, the first-ever discussion panel for parents featured Jose-Luis Riera, dean of students, and Nathan Franklin, manager of Student Financial Services. 

The presentations highlighted student social opportunities, such as joining registered student organizations (RSOs), and what to expect financially as students transition to the Newark campus. 

Brandon Magathan, a finance major from Milton who studied at the Associate in Arts Program’s Georgetown campus, said he was pleased with the wide range of disciplines represented during the panel discussion.

“I really appreciated Avron Abraham’s talk about being able to get back up when you are knocked down by something like getting a lower grade than you expected,” Magathan said. “I like how he said you can gain from such experiences.”  

Magathan also noted that the representatives at the informational fair provided useful information on the majors available across campus. 

“They really represented their departments well,” Magathan said. “I thought the people who discussed financial aid and the options in the dining hall plans were very helpful, too.” 

Renee Fisher, academic adviser in the Associate in Arts Program, said both students and parents appreciated the panel discussion and the help provided from departmental representatives at the informational fair.

“I thought it was an amazing and inspirational day for students and parents, and was very informative, as well,” Fisher said. “We also were impressed at the number of parents who participated and the enthusiasm of the students and their excitement about making the transition.” 

Bartley said that the presentations for parents regarding finances and student life elicited many favorable comments. 

“One parent came up to me after the presentation and said, ‘Thank you so much for all the events today. It was very informative and just what I needed to understand what this transition would mean for our family.’”

Article by Jerry Rhodes

Photos by Lane McLaughlin

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