Committee evaluating Symposium and Self & Society courses

Truman State University’s Self and Society and Symposium courses are currently being reevaluated. Since fall 2019, the two classes have been a graduation requirement for every Truman student regardless of their major. 

All Self and Society classes are three credit courses intended to cultivate the habits of curiosity, good scholarship, ethical consideration and community engagement. They are essentially dissecting how one fits into society through the lenses of nursing, biology, theater, storytelling and many others available in the Truman catalog. 

All Symposium courses are one credit hour, with classes every Monday at 4:30 p.m. Symposium courses are meant to ask the “big questions.” Students will try to find answers to such questions through small group discussions and related digital literacy assignments. Both of these classes are only offered during the fall semester. 

Amanda Langendoerfer, dean of interdisciplinary studies and creative inquiry, said, “These classes are fairly new. I would say about three to four years they’ve been offered.” 

With classes so young, Langendoerfer acknowledges there may be some tweaks in order to improve these courses.

Dave Leaton, co-chair of the first year experience committee, said the courses are transitional, designed to help facilitate the transition from high school to college. 

He said he thinks since students are moving on to new school material and a new lifestyle, it is important to take classes that assist in making a four year plan, scheduling and studying strategies. 

“There’s so much going on,” Leaton said. “The first semester, you have to think about learning campus and living in college — treat that like another three credit hour course.”

The first year experience committee is made up of various Truman professors working to better every Bulldog’s freshman year. They are responsible for Self and Society, Symposium courses and Truman week. The committee is currently working to improve these classes but may need some student input as to what they can do better. 

Leaton said, “Absolutely, they [students] can email me. The First Year Experience doesn’t have an email, but certainly, they could message me or Don Krause.” 

Freshman Joey McBrayer said, “I had the Symposium INNOVATE, which was mostly focusing on the economy of Northeast Missouri. We would come up with solutions for the disconnect between Kirksville and Truman … It was fine since it was super easy group work, so it wasn’t too bad. It definitely could have been more annoying, but as it was, it was fine.” 

He would only give criticism by changing the S&S classes to Tuesdays and Thursdays only.