New program provides richer experience for math and science majors
KENNESAW, Ga. (Oct 18, 2017) — The College of Science and Mathematics (CSM) at Kennesaw State University successfully launched a new program this fall for 130 first-year students who plan to major in math or science. These high-achieving students, identified on the basis of such factors as math SAT or ACT scores and high school grade point averages, entered Kennesaw State as a cohort.
Designed by CSM faculty and administrators, the Advanced Majors Program (AMP) focuses on a select group of high-achieving students and provides them with opportunities to become more involved in the college. Part of the goal is to give students the feeling of a close-knit college experience and not have them become overwhelmed by the fact that there are more than 35,000 in the Kennesaw State student body.
“These students will take courses as a cohort, and they will participate in other activities together,” said Dean Mark Anderson. “This fall, the focus is on the first-year seminar course KSU 1101, CHEM 1211 and MATH 1113 or MATH 1190.”
These AMP students will gain access to more scholarships and benefit from increased exposure to all the extra-curricular activities in the college. Guest speakers, career workshops, and field trips will help prepare students for their future aspirations. This unique approach is designed to give them a richer educational experience and solidify their ranks as they move toward graduation.
Along with the additional scholarship opportunities, by their sophomore years, AMP students also will have the opportunity to work side-by-side with faculty on cutting-edge research projects and present their own research, which should help bolster their credentials for graduate school or when it comes time to launch their careers. They will also be eligible to apply for exclusive research opportunities in the college, such as the Birla Carbon Scholars Program, or participate in the faculty-led Mentor Protégé Research Program.
There is currently no other program in the University System of Georgia that is quite like it.
“We anticipate this program will build community among the students and lead to improved retention in their chosen major and retention at KSU for their entire undergraduate studies,” Anderson said.
While AMP is not an honors program, its goal is to allow academically talented students to complete degree requirements using integrative, student-centered versions of courses.
Associate Professor of Biology Jennifer Louten, the director of the AMP initiative, initially expected to tap about 100 students.
“We identified high achieving applicants for our cohort and actively recruited these students to attend KSU and participate in this program,” Louten said. “Although we started relatively late in the spring, a robust number of students – 130 – have joined the program. We will continue to add a new cohort of students every year.”
Shortly after the beginning of the fall semester, the students selected for the inaugural AMP cohort were invited to a special CSM meet-and-greet reception. Billed as a “Backstage Pass,” the event introduced them to current students doing research with faculty in the college, other new students in the program, CSM student organizations, and faculty and staff involved with the program.
An important aspect of AMP is that it provides a guaranteed seat in courses designed specifically for advanced majors. That’s a huge consideration, given enrollment for the Fall 2017 semester is up 6.5 percent compared to last year. Students are able to reserve a seat in science and math courses that have been redesigned to be more integrative, incorporate real-world examples, and focus on developing critical-thinking skills.
In addition to academic advisors for guidance, AMP students will have access to faculty advisors to consult with concerning questions about classes, degree programs, and future career options. Another benefit of the program is the potential to take graduate courses as an undergraduate.
“As seniors, these students could decide to take graduate-level courses as part of an accelerated master’s degree program, for example,” Anderson said. “It’s more student-centered learning.”
According to Louten, “We want to AMPlify their education. This is an inclusive program that offers the type of educational experiences and extracurricular exposure that will prepare students for their future goals as they progress together through their degree requirements.”
– Robert S. Godlewski
A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers more than 150 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its more than 35,000 students. With 13 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia and the third-largest university in the state. The university's vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the region and from 92 countries across the globe. A Carnegie-designated doctoral institution, it is one of the 50 largest public institutions in the country. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu.