WHAT’S LA 100?
LA 100 is one of eight core courses Franklin College students are required to take before graduation. Typically, students take the course the first semester of their freshman year.
The course meets once a week. The idea is for students to be educated on what means to have a liberal arts education, as well as what it means to be a student at Franklin.
At its core, LA 100 is a partnership between Academic Affairs and New Student Programs.
The goal is to give students the foundation to be successful at college and the ability to persist through graduation.
TEACHING METHODS VARY
The LA 100 course is taught by multiple professors, each with their own teaching methods and background.
Although the course is outlined with what instructors must cover so students across the board are learning the same things, the way professors teach the material is up to them.
Jenna Day, coordinator of new student programs, said her office provides instructors with a list of activities and readings but allows instructors to have some autonomy.
“Just like students are different learners, faculty are different instructors,” Day said. “This helps them to meet the student where they are so they can be open to the information.”
Sophomore Dean Elrod, an LA 100 student mentor, shared one disadvantage of having multiple instructors and open syllabus he’s heard other students complain about.
“[Having a variety of teachers] can reflect on grades,” Elrod said. “One class, where there is an English professor, might grade papers harder than someone who does not have that background.”
But because it’s only a one-credit hour class, Elrod said it shouldn’t be something for students to worry about.
“One credit hour is not going to make or break someone,” he said. “In the end, this class makes you more prepared for other classes.”
FOCUS ON DIVERSITY
One of the key topics this year in LA 100 is diversity.
Day said this shift in focus was due, in part, to an incident that occurred last school year when a student was suspended one semester for sending racist Snapchats.
That’s when students on campus requested more diversity discussion.
“I wouldn’t say that it’s directly related, but I would say that it is part of a response,” Day said. “In the spring, the president, faculty, staff and students had an open forum where they talked about some of those things but not necessarily the specific actions.”
TWICE A WEEK?
Dean Ellis Hall, who also instructs an LA 100 course, proposed to bump the class up to meeting two times a week.
This would move LA 100 to a two-credit hour class.
“It’s challenging to meet only once a week. I would love to meet with them twice a week. I could see them more and engage with them more,” Hall said.
Freshman Tara Sander said meeting more than once a week would make it less enjoyable.
“If it was changed to twice a week, I don’t think it would be as enjoyable of a class,” Sander said.
Elrod said meeting more than once a week would have more disadvantages than advantages, especially since it doesn’t strike the interest of the students in the first place.
“I think that would make students resent it more,” Elrod said. “It’s not a class that will help in your direct major, even though you need it to graduate. Doing an extra hour will make them space out more.”
UNDERSTANDING THE IMPORTANCE OF LA 100
Some students argue that LA 100 is unnecessary to have as a class and that it is a waste of their time.
Sander said it all depends on the amount of effort students put into it.
“It’s definitely how much students participate,” she said. “If you put the work into the class, you get a lot more out of it.”
Day added that, while it might seem elementary and basic at the time, LA 100 is important because it’s the first time a freshman or transfer sets foot on the campus.
Many of the basic things students need to know for the rest of their years at the college, Day said, are taught in LA 100.
“You can’t have a house without a foundation,” she said. “Once you leave the class, then at that point, first-year students will have the tools in their tool belt to build whatever house they want to build.”
Hall said that students have to trust they will gain valuable knowledge and experiences the class—just like Franklin College plans for them to do.
“You don’t always get it until you’re done with it,” he said. “Life has a lot of things you are required to do. … At the end you might not think the class was valuable, but hopefully if you went through it with a positive attitude, and you learned something.”