FYE Proposal and uTech initiatives brought before SGA

Marc Ramirez, edge editor


Mark Mossman and Lori Baker-Sperry opened the Student Government Association weekly meeting to discuss the First Year Experience Proposal for the upcoming academic year. Following them was Rebecca Slater, the Chief Information Officer for University Technology to speak on some of the new initiatives uTech will be coming out with.

Mossman began by providing a brief synopsis of the FYE Proposal, stating that a key piece of the proposal is that they are proposing to eliminate the graduation requirement of taking UNIV 100. He also said that they would not be eliminating the class, only the graduation requirement which would give people more flexibility in the offering and delivery of UNIV 100 as it will be easier to waive the class for transfer students.

“It will be easier to waive the requirement for students coming in with an excessive dual enrollment, credit hours or AP hours, military credit hours, etc,” Mossman said. “It also allows us to then refocus the larger FYE program on the Y Course, which is another element of the FYE Program. The Y Course has been somewhat neglected in the past few years and we want that course to be more coherent and more organized.”

The overall goal of the new proposal is to give a better experience to first year students by making the FYE program anchored to a academic discipline in efforts to make it more successful in delivering the FYE Program that way.

The concern arose that peer-mentors have gone from just being essentially a teacher’s assistant and a mentor who acts as a bridge between teachers and students to gaining new roles. Since only six to 10 UNIV 100 classes will be offered next year, OAS students will be required to enroll in the class and students who aren’t will have the option to or not. Since less UNIV 100 classes will be offered, peer-mentors will now be required to inform students about enrolling in a Y Course but not UNIV 100 important topics that should be covered and introduced to all students. Mossman and Baker-Sperry acknowledged the concern and said that the goal is to ensure that peer mentors are not doing so many extra tasks in the upcoming year.

Next to speak was Slater about new initiatives uTech will be taking to better the students at Western Illinois University and the people who come and visit campus. For starters, uTech will be making changes this summer to the guest wifi, currently known as “WIUGUEST,” to provide an open wifi option that will not require registration for our guests on campus. The goal of this project is to simplify the process for accessing our public wifi on campus. This is seen as beneficial for visitors who are coming for either long or short amounts of time and don’t want to go through the tedious process of connecting their device to the wireless networks.

“University Technology is pursuing a project to allow students to use their Ecom user ID and password for logging in to STARS,” Slater said in an email. “This will enable students to only have one user ID and login. We estimate this project to be complete in Fall 2020.”

Students are looking forward to this because it means that they no longer have to remember multiple passwords to access Western domains. This would mean students can check their grades, classes and do their homework all by logging in with the same username and password.

“With the changing acumen and accessibility of technology to our student population, University Technology is investigating several potential new technology services on campus,” Slater said in an email. “Historically, technology services for students focused on availability of printing and computer labs. University Technology sent out a survey to investigate the level of interest in a gaming lounge on campus. We received multiple comments regarding using the funds that would be used for this service to bring back faculty positions. To be clear, this project is only in the investigatory stage to gauge interest.”

It is important to note that the funding for this potential lab would not be coming from anywhere other than the technology budget. The technology budget is restricted to noninstructional technology services which would preclude it from being used to fund faculty positions, which was a concern voiced by students