The Gateway to Belonging program director announced several goals and initiatives regarding the new OU course at an OU Faculty Senate meeting on Monday.
The GBO course is one of three courses in a “First year of experience” suite after passing the Oklahoma House Bill 1775 – a bill rewritten from the original legislation regarding medical situations at high school sporting events to implement restrictions on certain theories of gender and diversity taught in schools.
According to Adrienne Carter-Sowell, director of the Gateway to Belonging program, GBO’s pilot semesters include the fall semester 2021 and the winter semester 2021. For the fall, 27 sections with 35-seater caps and formats in person or remote are offered. The course is available at the Norman campus and the OU Health Sciences Center.
Carter-Sowell said the course gives students the opportunity to examine how they have formed their own beliefs and opinions, and how they can listen, learn and interact with each other to get “the most” out of their experience. university.
“The goal is to increase their understanding of the structures and experiences at the group level that have shaped the communities and identities of their classmates here at OU,” said Carter-Sowell.
The course has seven faculty members who “bring their backgrounds and disciplines together” to develop activities and lead discussions on how to develop a sense of belonging, foster connection and maintain belonging on a daily basis, a said Carter-Sowell.
“We’re really proud of the fact that we have a very interdisciplinary presentation of basic concepts,” Carter-Sowell said. “Even though we have a book that provides social psychology content, it’s not a social psychology course. We really focus on self-study (and) providing homework that allows students to really develop and apply the constructs we have covered.
In a May email to The Daily, a spokesperson for the OU wrote that students were originally required to take the Gateway to Belonging course as a compulsory first-year credit. The passage of HB 1775 forced the OU to make the class an optional course alongside two other choices for the first year requirement: Global Perspectives and Engagement and Ethical Leadership Development.
Carter-Sowell said students enrolled in the course will provide course evaluations mid-term and at the end of the term to analyze the experiences of those taking the course and those who don’t.
“In conclusion, if you really want to understand something, you should try to change it,” Carter-Sowell said, quoting German-American psychologist Kurt Lewin.