Channels Program Updates
The Round Table sat down with modern languages professor, Daniel Youd and discussed updates to the Beloit Channels Program, which is set to launch next fall. There were initial concerns with the program in regards to honors terms as the Channels Program would modify the requirements or application needed to attain funding and resources for honors projects.
Some students and staff were even wondering if there would be an honors term next semester. Youd dismissed these concerns by saying “No. The most important thing for students to know is that that’s not a true rumor.” On the contrary, Youd explained how Channels plans to expand on the already utilized honors term program. “We’re interested in actually capitalizing on what we see as many of the successes of the honors term program,” Youd said. In the future, he says, “we would like to align the Channels Program with the Honors Term program so looking ahead and this is probably good for students to start to think about connecting [their projects with Channels.]” Youd also added that, “there is a high likelihood that there might be priority given to honors term projects…[that] align with some of the Channels themes.” But this decision is not cemented yet and is still subject to change before the program’s official launch.
The five themes that the Channels Program centers on at the moment are Entrepreneurship, Sustainability, Health and Healing, Arts, and Justice and Rights. Classes, clubs, and other activities on campus will be labeled under a certain Channel, giving students an opportunity to get involved with activities that have their interest that they would not have participated in otherwise.
Another point of confusion among students is exactly who is this new program for? Though there are many aspects of the Channels Program that are meant to help first-year and second-year students determine what field of study they are most interested in and get them involved on campus, there are also parts of the program that are designed to help third and fourth-year students. “I can also see juniors and seniors who have already declared their majors also getting involved in Channels because of the important component is the professional network component of the Channel,” Youd said. “And these give students networking opportunities that will propel them into the professional world.”
When asked about the progress of the program’s development Youd responded by saying it has been “excellent! We have a huge amount of buy-in by the staff and faculty. The programmatic element was approved by the Academic Senate in the December meeting which gave us a real feeling of confidence. There is a lot of staff and faculty involved, I believe there are nearing 100 people probably working on different Channels in various programs.” Youd also mentioned a two-day workshop over winter break where the program connected with alumni who “are very eager to serve as professional network mentors” Each of the five Channels will have a professional network associated with it where students can get in contact with “alumni, friends of the college, and community members who want to help students understand a particular field.” The Channels also had a “very strong presence” at the Admitted Students Open House (ASOH) that took place last week on Sunday, Feb. 12. Though the program is set to launch next semester in fall 2020, Youd explained that there will be a “soft launch” on Thursday, March 26th in the Weissberg Auditorium in the Powerhouse where students will be able to get a feel for what the new program has to offer.
There were other, albeit smaller, concerns that the change to the honors term program would negatively affect Beloit’s attendance at academic conferences as many academic projects usually entail the student participating in some shape or form at the conference. In response, Youd stated, “my initial response is why not go to conferences and participate in conferences with faculty members. It’s a way to develop yourself professionally so I can definitely see that fitting.”