Fall 2008 Stories
Classes Designed with Students New to Evergreen in Mind
by Michelle Gulden
Are you returning to school after a long absence?
Are you a new student to Evergreen?
Do you need to refresh some basic college skills?
If any of these questions ring true, you may want to take a closer look at an Entry Points class, designed with the new student in mind.
Student Jeff Russell found an Entry Points class invaluable. Russell, a retiree, returned to school after 25 years for “the love of education,” and enrolled in the year-long program Making Your Place. This class helped Russell make the transition back into college life by giving him “a very good understanding of the Evergreen philosophy. Because I got to know my classmates as the year progressed, I became more confident when voicing my opinion in seminar,” says Russell, who is in his senior year at Evergreen.
Entry Points classes typically have all levels of students from freshman to seniors, but are particularly useful to students who are new to the college, according to Susan Preciso, Evening and Weekend Studies literature faculty, especially since Evergreen has a very different structure.
This fall, Preciso and philosophy faculty Stephen Beck will be teaching a year-long 12-credit program, Work and the Human Condition, in Evening and Weekend Studies. Through literature, philosophy and history, the program will take a look at the origins and influences on the work ethic in Western culture, how it is important in one’s life, and how it affects the social system. The benefits of a year-long program for new students are great, Preciso says. “A year-long program allows students to explore a question or idea from a number of different perspectives over time. When students get to the end of the program and reflect back, they tend to have a different perspective than they had originally.”
"This is not English 101. We take students at all levels and help them to become more confident and resourceful writers."
— Steve Blakeslee
Work and the Human Condition is a good choice for new students, Preciso adds. “What we do in an Entry Points program is make sure that we have a place for students who are transferring from other colleges, coming back from a long time away, or just starting their college work, to establish some habits of mind and practices that we know they will need as they continue, such as library and research skills, improving writing skills and reading critically.”
There are many other Entry Points classes available that vary in duration and number of credits. (see below for a list). Writing faculty Steve Blakeslee is in his 12th year of teaching at Evergreen and has taught The Practice of Writing since 2002. This Entry Points course, offered fall quarter, helps students to develop effective writing strategies and skills that can serve them not only in school but throughout their lives. The lessons of the course apply equally to academic, technical and creative writing. Sometimes prospective students ask Blakeslee if The Practice of Writing is a basic level English class. He is quick to dispel the notion. “This is not English 101. We take students at all levels and help them to become more confident and resourceful writers. It’s a great opportunity to explore central principles that even professional writers periodically revisit,” he adds.
So take a closer look at the various Entry Points classes Evergreen has to offer. One may be just right for you.
Michelle Gulden is a junior in Evening and Weekend Studies, focusing on American literature and human resources.