ICPS 101 increases program enrollment

By Dave Heaton

Enrollment in NIU’s pilot program has increased this year because of the expansion of ICPS 101, a course designed to help new students adjust smoothly to college life.

This year 180 freshmen enrolled in the course, a one-credit elective class offered only in the fall to first-semester freshmen.

Ken Reeves, coordinator of the mentor program, which is another part of the pilot program, said this is a significant jump in enrollment compared to past years. He said since the class was expanded to include other departments of study, more faculty members volunteered to teach the course.

Also, the increase in instructors allowed more spaces to be available, plus students of all majors were able to enroll.

Before this year, Reeves said the class was only offered to students in the College of Professional Studies, but now is offered to all incoming freshmen.

Sandra Kuchynka, academic counselor for the College of Professional Studies, said the pilot program offers freshmen two choices. They can enter the mentor program and have a faculty member assist them in any problems they run into or enroll in ICPS 101, “University Experience.”

Kuchynka said students who take the class have a “higher persistence rate,” and they tend to have higher grade point averages than those who don’t take the course. She also said students who take the class stay in school longer.

Kuchynka said the course is not like the “traditional” classes at NIU because the classes are small, allowing for more personal interaction between students and instructors.

Reeves said the course is important because it teaches students about the diversity on campus. He said students also learn how to select courses for their major and basic necessities, such as “literally how to find their way around.”

Kuchynka said many students told her that they thought the course should be a requirement for all freshmen.