Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.



Carole Pfeffer recalls one of her student starting college not knowing how to make her bed. Because of dependent students, she and members from the Center for Learning and Student Success (CLASS) created Dear Classy Owls to help students transition from high school to college.

“Their parents are their best friends. The first time something cool happens, instead of calling their best friend, they call their parents,” said Pfeffer, coordinator of CLASS.

Dear Classy Owls is a freshman-only academic program that answers questions and gives advice to students. Its goal is to help freshman with their first year of college and to help them succeed before they can be at risk for failing.

The program has weekly sessions every Thursday with a new topic of discussion at each meeting. At a session called Mid Semester Reality Check, students brought their syllabi and scores to calculate their current grades.

Pfeffer, along with Jennifer Bebergal, the director of student retention and Laura Pipe, assistant director of the Living Learning Communities, came up with the idea of Dear Classy Owls with some inspiration from their freshmen students.

“This generation needs more helping; they are more hand held than previous generations,” said Pfeffer.

Cassandra Fabien, a freshman nursing major who attends Dear Classy Owls, claimed she had difficulty adjusting to new college freedoms.

Bebergal, Pipe and Pfeffer make the program interactive, rather than a lecture style session. During the Homesickness and Technology session, Bebergal and Pipe asked students to show what they like about FAU, what they miss about high school, anything fun about themselves and what they want out of their first year of college by drawing pictures.

Two freshmen mentioned getting a good education as their top expectation from FAU.

“What I want out of FAU is to get all As on my transcript,” said Alix Baldini, a freshman psychology major.

Enrique Ducassi, a freshman marine biology major, claimed he missed his friends from high school.

The program offers a certificate to students who attend 4 or more sessions under the theory that more students will attend if offered an incentive. There is, however, skepticism as to whether the program is actually helping any students.

According to Pfeffer, some professors add Dear Classy Owls into their syllabi as extra credit for students while others require attendance in this program in order to get an A in the course. Because of these incentives, Bebergal is concerned whether students are attending on their own initiative.

Fabien claims one of her classes require attendance to the program. “We are under contract. In order to get a B we must go to at least 2 sessions, in order to get an A we must go to 4 additional ones.”

Although there is currently no program that accommodates other classmen, Pfeffer encourages all students to participate in their one-on-one advising.

“We may not advise them on which classes to take but we can help find the resources they need to be successful.”

In the mean time, Pfeffer, Bebergal and Pipe are working on a program for sophomores, exclusive to their learning community.

“If it goes well, we might extend it to everyone,” said Pfeffer.

Dear Classy Owls meets every Thursday in the Student Services building, room 223 at 3:30pm. For more information, visit their Web site, check them out on Facebook or follow them on Twitter.

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