The Thrive career sequence starts with EDUC 131, Career Exploration. This course incorporates career development theory and tools or resources to help students discover their interests and educate students on career opportunities that may not have considered. The class provides first-years and sophomores with the framework to determine what they want to do when they graduate, based on their skills and interests.
Next in the sequence is EDUC 231, Career Planning and Job Searching, which is ideal for juniors and seniors looking to prepare for the post-grad job hunt. The course teaches adaptability, resilience and strength in career development while offering tools to support students in their respective searches.
Students have reported that Career Exploration helped them decide on a major, get an internship and get to know themselves better. Meanwhile, Career Planning has helped students get experience searching for jobs with hands-on activities. It even delves into how to negotiate salaries after receiving a job offer. Students looking to prepare for their careers will find this course useful.
Navigating the Research University helps students acclimate and get connected
EDUC 130 is a great fit for transfer students or others who don’t feel like they know about all that’s offered at UNC. It sheds light on important resources on campus while incorporating learning science by exploring motivation, growth mindset, resiliency, self-advocacy and the meaning of a liberal arts education.
EDUC 130 instructor and transfer student coordinator Luke Fayard said the class pairs well with EDUC 330, The Science of Learning, to help students acclimate to UNC. He said students have provided overwhelmingly positive feedback about the course, especially when they take it in the summer and start off strong at UNC.
“Nearly every student speaks to how grateful they were to have had the chance to take EDUC 130 because of how it opened their eyes to all the resources UNC has to offer, and it made them feel so much more at home and prepared for fall,” Fayard said.
“I’ve had new transfer students tell me that, after taking EDUC 130, they were able to help some friends of theirs who had been here for years, because they were exposed to so much information that helped them with their UNC experience.”
Thriving@Carolina and Beyond teaches the secret to thriving during and after UNC
Thriving@Carolina and Beyond, or EDUC 231, helps students find well-being on a deeper level with psychological exploration. The course teaches students research-based interventions such as gratitude letters to boost positive emotions. It also enables students to find their purpose by helping them determine what brings meaning to their lives.
The course teaches well-being theory through an acronym called PERMA: positive emotions, engagement, relationships, meaning and achievement. Akos explained that the class explores how all of these factors are powerful, and related to increased learning, improve relationships and more.
“The thing about happiness is that it’s not just smile and be happy,” Akos said. “The science of well-being and positive psychology has some deep empirical support for people’s well-being... If students engage really well, they get a lot out of it. We have a bunch of program and course evaluations that show a deep student impact.”
Thriving After the First Year connects students with high impact opportunities
EDUC 190 (Special Topics in Education - Thriving After the First Year), available to sophomores and juniors, all students except first years, centers on the idea that engaging with high impact practices improves student satisfaction and achievement at UNC. The course explores the following high impact practices: global opportunities such as study abroad, internships or experiential opportunities, undergraduate research and service-learning.
Omar Simpson, transition course coordinator and EDUC 190 instructor, said the class helps students identify high impact practices to engage with on campus and outside UNC. As an instructor, he supports students while offering feedback throughout the HIP engagement process.
He said the course connects students with opportunities for high impact practices and funding sources by getting them in touch with point people and campus resources and making applications for HIPs a required assignment.
“Many students are finding their unique way through several of the opportunities that are presented in the course,” he said. “From our current classes, we have students going to all kinds of places over the summer with summer internships and global opportunities.”
The Science of Learning
EDUC 330, The Science of Learning, applies learning theory to the modern world, incorporating scholarship in educational and cognitive psychology as well as learning science. EDUC 150 (Science of Learning Intensive) is a one-hour condensed version for exposure to the learning science content.
While it might seem like theseis courses are is only meant for students who feel like they are struggling to maintain the grades they want, that is far from the truth. Akos said even those who aren’t struggling can benefit from this course.
“Students at UNC often get good grades, but I’m not sure they engage in deep learning, where they are motivated to apply it in different ways and can expand and synthesize it to different contexts,” he said. “We teach self-regulated learning and metacognition so students can take control of learning and achieve their goals.”
According to Akos added that, Thrive@Education wants to hear more from students about issues with which they need more help. The program is always looking to collaborate with different units and departments on campus, already featuring partnerships for transitions, learning, well-being, career development, financial literacy and more. Akos welcomes all student suggestions.
For more information about UNC Summer School 2019 courses, see its website.