ACP is mandatory for Roosevelt students, but is it necessary?

ACP is mandatory for Roosevelt students, but is it necessary?
By Tom Cicero
tomonthetorch@gmail.com

Academic Communities of Practice courses are said to be for incoming freshman, to help introduce them to Roosevelt University. However, I am currently a junior and am still enrolled in an ACP class. Why? Because I need to take it in order to graduate.
That’s not to say that there is no point to ACP courses. Surely, there are things to be learned in any sort of class, but do students really need to take three ACP classes?
At a certain point, the material covered begins to get redundant.
One of the reasons for this redundancy is some of the professors who teach the classes. Professors can volunteer to teach ACP for a semester, but some of them are lead into volunteering.
It is easy to tell the difference. Some professors are very enthusiastic about what they are teaching, which makes the class enjoyable, but some of them seem unprepared, or even uninterested in what they are teaching.
Michael Frontera, an academic advisor at the university, said that ACP courses are in a transitional phase.
“It might take more time than we [would] like to address those students’ concerns, but it’s a process,” Frontera said. “I think that [the administration] are working through which instructors would be best for the ACP courses. I think as the program progresses we are going to see more and more teachers who really like teaching the ACP classes.”
Luckily, my ACP professor is very enthusiastic about what she is teaching, and it shows.
I am in ACP 250 Immigration Today, which is an example of a useful, important version of the ACP course. Through novels and essays, we discuss the lives of immigrants in the U.S. and the struggles they go through in trying to live in a new country.
It is an in-depth class, and it handles a subject that students should be educated about in order to better understand immigration and its impact on society. On top of that, the teacher’s style and informed lectures are interesting.
Zack Haybart, a sophomore taking his third ACP class, had a similar experience with one of his ACP professors.
“The first semester last year [in ACP], I didn’t like the books we were reading, and the class was really opinionated,” Haybart said. “[The] second semester, I had a great teacher who was really into political science, and I am really into political science, so it was really interesting to me. I enjoyed the books we read a lot more, and the teacher too.”
However, the freshman year classes are focused on the university and literature. Both of those classes are great for people who are interested in history or English, but for myself, a human resource management major, I am not and was not interested in those subjects, yet I had to take them.
Also, most of these classes are non-transferable to other universities, so their use is tailored specifically to Roosevelt.
One could level the same argument against other general education classes that freshmen have to take, like math and science. However, the skills acquired in those classes, regardless of which fields students go into, will surely be viable in the future. Math is a skill that students can use through life. Knowing when the university was founded and by who, is not.
Perhaps the biggest problem with these classes is that students could be taking something more akin to their interests and majors.
I find it hard to envision a future where things I learned in ACP would land me a job.
Sophomore Alexandria Judd said she felt the same way about ACP courses.
“I don’t think that it’s really helping me later on in life,” Judd said. “I think that the subjects the classes teach are helping me gain knowledge in certain areas but not things that are applicable to my life.”
The idea of having classes specifically designed for freshmen is smart, as it can provide these students with an introduction to the university. However, the first two ACP classes are not being utilized effectively.
Since we live in the city of Chicago, the university should really utilize this to its advantage. It should take students around the city to get them comfortable traveling in an urban setting. Also, there should be teachers specifically for ACP courses, instead of having to pluck them from other departments.
Haybart made great suggestions towards improving ACP courses.
“There should be multiple options for ACP classes,” Haybart said. “They should have an ACP for each department, and you get to pick which department interests you.”
Frontera shared some things the university is currently doing to improve the program.
“I know that ACP has been a really big work in progress,” Frontera said. “They are constantly working on it to address these needs. The class is fluid, they are trying to stay open to what students want. Seeing that the purpose is connected to activism, I think that there should be requirements towards community service.”
ACP in theory is a good idea, and with some work it could be a good program in practice, too.



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