Guilford Edge begins in fall 2019

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Learning collaboratively, teaming for success, rallying campus spirit and incorporating ethical leadership. These are the four pillars of the Guilford Edge, a series of College-wide changes that was approved in February by the Board of Trustees and will begin to be officially implemented at Guilford in fall 2019.

“The Guilford Edge is about creating a shared student experience for every student, a shared experience of Guilford College for every student,” said President Jane Fernandes.

According to Fernandes, the four pillars of the Edge will be implemented through an emphasis on collaborative learning in both classes and cocurriculars, increased integration of career preparation into Guilford’s curriculum, group ethical decision-making opportunities, the creation of a team of advisors for each student and campus-wide events intended to bring the Guilford community together.

Some of these changes will begin to be implemented in fall 2018.

“What you might see this coming fall 2018, we’ll probably start the integrated career program, so you may see some people who will be working with students on their decisions that they make here at Guilford and how that will lead them to possible careers,” said Fernandes. “We hope to have some more community-wide events. You saw some pilot tests when we had Arts on the Quad this year, when we had Meadowfed. We just had the (International Festival). Things like that, those are small attempts to make one-hour times where everybody’s free to come together, and we want to keep doing things like that.”

Other changes associated with the Edge, such as the 12-3 schedule and curriculum changes, won’t be implemented until fall 2019. The 12-3 schedule will shift Guilford’s academic calendar from a traditional 15-week semester, where students typically take four classes, to a 12-week period where students will take three classes and a three-week period where students will take one intensive class.

While all Guilford students will follow the 12-3 schedule starting in fall 2019, students enrolled before then will have the option to complete either the current general education and major requirements, or opt into the new requirements that will be implemented in fall 2019 with the Edge.

“I’m sure that every student who is here now will be graduating based on the program that they entered with. Because the program you enter with, that’s like a contract with the students,” said Fernandes. “And the students who enter in 2019 will have a different contract, but I also heard that there’s some possibility of current students who want to try a course in the new way. We may be able to make arrangements for that to happen.”

Faculty have already begun to revise the syllabi for their courses under the Edge. According to Fernandes, all faculty members will be eligible to participate in the curriculum revision and receive stipends for their work.

“They get paid, they’re getting a stipend to work over the summer,” said Fernandes. “The Board of Trustees understands, the Board of Trustees approved the Guilford Edge. They understand that it’s a lot of work for the whole community, so the faculty will be paid to do the work for curriculum reform during the summer or whenever they do it.”

Community Senate President and senior Hector Rivera Suarez believes that faculty members should communicate with students as they revise their syllabi.

“I know that it’s something that I’m not going to be impacted by, but a point that I made was that the most beneficial thing that professors can do right now when they’re adjusting their schedules is talk to their students, especially those who are graduating who have been through multiple classes with them, about what kind of changes in that syllabus would be impactful to the (first-years) coming in,” said Suarez. “I definitely think that Guilford College has a huge resource of students that could be used a lot more than it’s currently being used.”

Suarez stressed the need for the administration to communicate with students about the changes associated with the Guilford Edge.

“I personally think that it’s going to be a very beneficial program to first-years coming in in the class of 2019 and that we just need to take it, like be open to new opportunities, but I also said that as far as I know, there’s not that much student involvement in conversations surrounding the Guilford Edge,” said Suarez. “So in order for the Guilford Edge to be beneficial to those students who will be sophomores, juniors and seniors who have not experienced the Guilford Edge, they need to be included in these conversations so that they feel comfortable when those changes happen.”

According to Vice President for Marketing Roger Degerman, the administration is in the process of communicating the changes to students.

“We just spent a lot of time in our most recent meeting going over, ‘We got to get to these students fast and furiously, they’re coming near the end of this semester,’” said Degerman. “And so not only to catch them before we lose this academic year, but also plans for when we come back in the fall, so this will be an ongoing experience.”

Fernandes expressed similar sentiments.

“It’ll take awhile. It’ll be a big endeavor for the College, and everybody, almost everybody, will be part of it,” said Fernandes. “If students, faculty, staff and administration all work together with the board, I know nothing can stop us.”