GT 2000: From Proposal to Reality

An Interview with Dr. Lacy Hodges by Cory Hopkins, April 2016

Please share with me the history of your proposal.
In 2013, the President's Mental Health Task Force Report, as part of a plan to reduce the stress level of students at Tech, recommended the creation of "a GT 1000 class for transfer students." Building off of this, OUE recognized that such a transition class would be beneficial to transfer students, but their unique needs meant it should exist separately from GT 1000, which really focuses on the needs of students who are new to the university environment. So GT 2813, a special topics class for transfer students, was created. By Fall 2015, the demand for space in our GT 2813 classes was greater than our available space for enrollment, which helped us to see how much the incoming transfer students to Tech needed this class. After the success of GT 2813, Dr. Girardot approached me about turning our current special topics transfer student seminar class (GT 2813) into a standard class.

Why do you think a class like GT 2000 is so essential?
Georgia Tech has an amazing support system in place for its first-year students, and clearly recognizes how important the first semester is for retaining students and helping them to feel as though they're part of the Georgia Tech community. Unfortunately, up until fairly recently, there hasn't been a similar support structure in place for transfer students at Tech. Research has shown that transfer students, especially transfer students to large research institutions, undergo "transfer shock" and they tend to fall behind their peers during their first couple of semesters at their new institution. Tech can be particularly challenging to new transfer students because of its rigorous academic pace. In order to ensure that our transfer students are successful academically and personally, it's essential that they are given the tools and support they need to transition smoothly to Tech.

How do you feel about the reception of your proposal?
The reception of my proposal has been amazing. Dr. Girardot has been incredibly supportive and helpful throughout this entire process, and I couldn't have asked for a better reception from the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee. The committee unanimously approved the proposal and many members of the committee expressed their feelings that the course is indeed needed as they recognize the need to support our transfer students as they transition to life at Tech.
Is there anything else you'd like to add?
In addition to GT 2000, there are transfer seminars offered by some departments-both CHBE and ECE offer classes for transfer students to help better prepare them for the challenges of their coursework at Tech. We're hoping that GT 2000 can complement these classes and that we can expand our GT 2000 course offerings so that other departments who would like to offer discipline-specific sections to their incoming transfer students can take advantage of our class and curriculum (much like our GT 1000 discipline-specific sections currently do).