This is an abstract for a work-in-progress paper covering a new course developed at the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA). UTA is a designated Hispanic-Serving Institution with a global enrollment of over 58,000 located in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex of Texas. UTA, led by the Division of Student Success (DSS), developed the new course specifically for first-time freshmen across the university. The goal of the course was to increase retention by instilling a sense of belonging, promoting interaction with faculty, and providing an undergraduate Peer Academic Leader (PAL) to aid new students in their transition to the university. Each College/School at the University developed a portion of the content for the course that would be taught by faculty from the College or School. The other portion of the content was standardized by the DSS and taught by a PAL. Colleges and Schools were given a choice of the percentage of class time that would be used to cover discipline-specific content. This portion could be anywhere from 10% to 50% of the total available class time. The COE opted to delegate the maximum 50% of the course content to engineering related topics. The COE and the School of Social Work were the only two academic units to choose to be responsible for the maximum amount of content. A committee of faculty from various departments in the College of Engineering (COE) developed the college-based content for the course. Colleges and Schools were also required to provide faculty for 25-student sections to deliver the discipline-specific content. The DSS hired and trained PALs to deliver the university standardized material. This work-in-progress paper will discuss this parallel content design and delivery of the course between the COE and the DSS. Lessons learned during the development and initial offering, first semester reflections and preliminary results will also be covered.
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