The University of Texas at Austin
  • School of Undergraduate Studies established

    By Tara Chandler
    Published: May 29, 2008

    Studying marine environments in Port Aransas and creating a color wheel with fresh produce are some of the innovative and interactive ways first-year students are learning through courses offered by the Office of Undergraduate Studies.

    Students will now have even more opportunities to flourish during their first year at the university as the office becomes the new School of Undergraduate Studies today.

    The school will be led by Professor Paul B. Woodruff, who became inaugural dean of undergraduate studies in fall 2006. It will be the initial home for students who choose not to select another college or school before the beginning of the first year and for those who are admitted to the university but not into the majors they have chosen.

    The school will offer special advising resources to help new students explore potential majors before making a selection and to support continuing students who are considering a change of major.

    The School of Undergraduate Studies will accept its first cohort of students in fall 2009.

    The school will also develop a new central advising center, the Center for Strategic Advising, which will work closely with other advising units across campus and collaborate with existing Undergraduate Studies initiatives to provide students with opportunities to explore their academic and career interests. One of these initiatives is signature courses, designed to help students mature intellectually from promising high school students to good college students.

    The first signature course debuted in fall 2006 with Jay Banner, a geochemistry professor in the Jackson School of Geosciences, and Dave Allen, a chemical engineering professor, collaborating on “Sustaining a Planet.” It was an instant hit among students who thrived on the daily activities and discussion with fellow students and the professors.

    “It isn’t your average science course where you just memorize facts and regurgitate them,” said Grace Wang. “This class really forces you to think outside the box.”

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