What Five-Star Fridays Means for Your Student01/24/2018
Thank you for entrusting the higher education of your student to us. As part of our ongoing process of enhancing quality learning, student success and service to the needs of our students, this fall we will implement an innovative class schedule and new student success program named “Five-Star Fridays.”
It is intended to give students like yours more opportunity for one-to-one contact with faculty, advisors, tutors, etc. during that important first year of classes. As they progress, we will guide and encourage them to use Fridays for practical, career-focused learning in the form of internships, co-op jobs, research, professional development, networking and the like.
The Five-Stars Friday initiative and our new approach to scheduling will assist students with their organization and preparation, and make possible more flexible learning opportunities. It will make scheduling job and internship interviews easier for all students. It will also facilitate greater student preparation for entering the workforce, and potentially allow our working students to earn even more money towards their education while studying at UA. As students use the new schedule wisely, it will certainly enhance their experience and increase the value of their degree. It will also help prepare them for emerging flexible workplace trends.
This initiative has been studied since last fall, was vetted by faculty leadership, student government and administrators, and includes input from high school principals and guidance counselors. More than 5,000 undergraduates responded to a survey about this concept.
What Are Five-Star Fridays?
Most students will attend classes Monday through Thursday and then participate in practical, career-focused learning experiences on Friday. Courses will be taught for the same amount of classroom time and involve the same academic rigor as before. They will just be organized a bit differently throughout the week to allow for a more concentrated and purposeful set of experiential learning opportunities.
This initiative, unique among universities in our region, is an institution-wide commitment to provide your student with even more opportunities for collaboration with faculty and peers, expanded academic counseling and tutoring, as well as cooperative education, internships, practical skills development, work, co-curricular activities, community service, lab work, research, advising, tutoring and more.
Students also will be encouraged to use Fridays to attend special events. This schedule will give students three days of concentrated time to prepare for classes, engage with study groups, and participate in meaningful study and research.
The new scheduling will be applied throughout the University, but exceptions will be made when necessary. Deans, department chairs and school directors will work with faculty members to identify and accommodate courses that require daily engagement with students, as is the case in music, dance and art.
While this may seem like a novel step for our region, it builds on established practices. A number of major universities in the Washington, D.C., area have departments that do not schedule Friday classes so students can intern with government agencies that day. In addition, the use of two-day classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays has existed here for decades and is a standard practice across the country.
Finally, let me assure of this: as a daily witness to the professionalism and care extended by our faculty and staff, I have no doubt that come next fall, our students will receive ample opportunities, incentives and reminders to use their Five Star Fridays wisely.
Please visit our Five Star Fridays webpage for more information, or send your questions and suggestions to me. I would be happy to provide answers.
Matthew J. Wilson
The University of Akron