Ribeau speaks at USG meeting

For many students, a four-year education at a university would be worth nothing without receiving a little piece of paper reading “bachelor’s degree.”

But to BGSU President Dr. Sidney Ribeau, a college degree is worth more than just a diploma.

At last night’s Undergraduate Student Government meeting, Ribeau had an open discussion with USG senators concerning student engagement in the classroom.

Ribeau said he fears many students do just enough to pass an exam or class and fail to take advantage of learning opportunities.

“How do we go about getting students more serious about owning their education?” Ribeau asked the senators.

Mike Woodall, at-large senator, said part of the problem could be due to large class sizes.

Woodall said many students in large classrooms are intimidated to ask questions or participate in discussion in front of so many other students.

“Freshmen coming in sit in large lectures where students are less likely to engage,” he said.

But according to the BGSU Web site, less than two percent of lower-division courses are taught in lecture sessions with 100 or more students.

That may be due to BG experience courses and participation in learning communities.

Off-campus senator Dominique Simms credits her quality education to her learning community, Partners in Context and Community, which is for education majors interested in teaching at inner city schools.

“I think every student should have the opportunity to be involved in a learning community or a small classroom environment,” she said.

Abigail Ruggles, treasurer, said her best experiences have also been in smaller classes.

“The classes where I’ve learned the most were the classes with the most discussion time,” she said.

Senators also said some students don’t take lower-level courses seriously because they don’t apply to their majors.

Ribeau said BGSU majors are designed with purpose, and lower-level courses do tie into major courses.

“General education is supposed to have a connection to what you’re going to be studying later on in your education,” he said. “If you think about your really good teachers, he or she finds a way to really bring it all together.”

Aside from student engagement in the classroom, Ribeau spoke to USG about the Bursar system and the upcoming Centennial Campaign.

He said the University hired a consultant to assist in the transition from the Bursar system to the BG1card, after being informed that the Bursar system was illegal.

Ribeau and the BG1 task force are being careful to listen to sudents during the transition process.

“We need to do this in a way that causes the least amount of disruption to the students,” he said.