AEP program to undergo changes

Changes are being made in the Academic Exploration Program to benefit students.
Students are being placed in the UNI classification because each college has a different admissions requirement and students can not be admitted until they meet them, Executive Director for Student Development and Health Services Joyce Shotick.
They are placed under a certain category in the UNI program until they reach the grades they need to be accepted into the college of their choice, Shotick said.
“UNI shows that the students are enrolled in the university, but are not in the business college or fine arts college yet,” she said.
Shotick said she wants students to eliminate using the word “undecided” and to make AEP a positive and valuable experience.
This year a reception for AEP majors was held, something most majors do, but AEP has failed to do in the past.
“We want to elevate the perception of AEP and get students excited about discovering what they want to do,” she said.
Shotick said AEP students will have the instructors of their classes act as their academic advisers until they declare their majors.
“This allows for positive interaction with advisers that know you and know what you’re interested in,” she said. “We’re offering a safety net and a circle of support.”
Sophomore elementary education major Alex Sebastian said she thinks this is a good idea.
“I was an AEP major last year, and from my experience I think the instructors need to get to know the students better,” she said. “I felt like when I was in it they just made us narrow down what we wanted into a few majors and told us where that could lead us. They didn’t really know us and what we would excel in.”
AEP helps students discover what jobs are possible through the majors they think they are leaning toward, Shotick said.
Sebastian said she thought the class could have been more helpful.
“Another change in the AEP program is accentuating the subsets which will hopefully create less confusion,” Shotick said.
She said AEP students that know what major they want to declare are sometimes still in the AEP program, but listed in different subsets depending on which college they are trying to get into. The code used to be put under AEP, but is now being changed to UNI to avoid confusion and help clear up which college students intend to go into.
“It helps give a sense of how many students are interested in each college,” Shotick said.
One thing students said they felt should change was the fact that AEP 100 did not offer any credit.
“I had to do work for the class and I would have liked to have gotten at least one credit hour,” Sebastian said.
Shotick said the seminar will not be held for credit because it is not technically a class.
“We’re presenting students with information, but it is not information they couldn’t get themselves,” she said. “We’re not presenting it to them in a different way or challenging them with applications or theories. Also, it’s not a semester- long seminar.”
Shotick said students can contribute input through AEP Director David Trillizio. She said they are also working on getting a Web site running soon.
Currently, the only feedback the program gets is through student comments after completing the course.
AEP majors are required to take AEP 100, a seminar that helps them assess themselves, their interests and capabilities and match them up with a major, Shotick said.
She said there are currently nine sections that meet twice a week for the first eight weeks of fall semester.
“There are up to 200 AEP majors. That’s about 20 percent of the incoming freshman class,” she said.