» By CHRIS COPPEDGE – ccoppedge@my.apsu.edu

APSU looks to reach out to freshmen and nontraditional students with new class bundling and expanded child care programs available during registration for the Fall 2012 semester.

The bundling involves 24 freshman sections of writing classes, history classes and the APSU 1000 course. New students will be guided through this aspect of the registration during summer welcome.

“When an incoming freshman books into a bundle, they will also become part of a group of 20 or so other freshman that will be in precisely those same sections with them,” said Tristan Denley, provost. “This creates a synergy between those classes and the faculty involved and a learning community of students.”

While the university already provides child care for students who may also be parents, this too will undergo changes. Beverly Boggs, associate provost for Enrollment Management and Academic Support, explained the current child care center plans to expand its hours for parents registered for courses that hold classes after 5 p.m.

“The plan is for the registration in these evening classes to trigger an e-mail that contains the enrollment form the center currently uses,” Boggs said. “We hope this will allow greater flexibility for parents of young children in their class section.”

As led by President June Knight, the Nontraditional Student Society seems very pleased with the new arrangement. “We believe this is a great idea because APSU’s goal is to help each student become successful,” Knight said.

Knight believes nontraditional students with families want to feel the university will allow them to fulfill both their student and parental roles.

“We hear from many nontraditional students that when their children are sick, or their babysitter situation doesn’t work out, that some of the professors do not excuse that absence,” Knight said. “If APSU is willing to alleviate that pressure for the nontraditional students, then NTSS fully supports it.”

“I think it’s a great idea to group students together,” said Paul Storms. “It’s the kind of thing that can help people make friends from the start.”

Others disagree.

“It smells too much like high school, and I came to college to get away from that,” said Tyler Swanberg.

Freshman Alex Arnold said he wouldn’t have taken the option even if it had been available for his registration last year.

“When you have an overpopulated campus like this, it’s harder to get that sense of community between students,” he said.

The bundling and child care programs were created by the university’s team whom participated in the Tennessee College Completion Academy forum during 2011’s fall semester, Denley said.

The Tennessee Report website notes in a press release the Completion Academy is “a state-level simulation of the national academies developed by Complete College America, a national organization committed to increasing U.S. college completion.” TAS