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Question for U-Albany Prof?

UAlbanyProfUAlbanyProf Registered User Posts: 45 Junior Member
edited March 2011 in SUNY at Albany
I'm on the faculty at U-Albany. My daughter's applying to colleges this year and I've benefited from reading posts in many of these forums. If anyone has a question they think I might be able to answer, I'm happy to give it a shot.
Post edited by UAlbanyProf on

Replies to: Question for U-Albany Prof?

  • kindernykinderny Registered User Posts: 1,385 Senior Member
    Actually UAlbany is my D's current first choice. She is very bright, not at the top of her class, due in great part to the special h.s. program she goes to. She says she can't wait to go to a "regular school" where professors lecture, there are tests and papers, along with the occasional project. She was turned off by the honors college, but we are concerned that in the general population she will be bored as we heard many of the lower level, gen ed classes find large numbers of students talking, texting and generally apathetic to the professor. Is this really the tenor of many classes? Also she is totally not a partier (and I am quoting her, not just saying it because I am her mother), is she going to "find her people" there? She is an introvert, and loves books, not sporting events, bars, or going out. (If comparing by TV shows, she is The Big Bang Theory not Jersey Shore. ) It is a shame the Renaissance learning community program was cancelled as that might have worked for her. She is not planning on pursuing science, where she might find her peeps, but a liberal arts degree to get into the 5 year MS program for Library and Information Science. Any advice? comfort? insight?
  • UAlbanyProfUAlbanyProf Registered User Posts: 45 Junior Member
    The Info Science major is very popular at U-Albany and a strong one. Yes, during the freshman year she'll undoubtedly have some large "lecture center" courses. One or two might be in the 500 seat classroom, but others will be more on the order of 100-130. But those are the intro courses which mainly serve to fulfill gen-ed requirements. After she begins to do more work in the major, the classes become much more manageable-- anywhere from 15-40 students--where the professor can really get to know the students. The nice thing about the university is there really are a lot of resources--both in terms of a great variety of majors and minors (students often change their mind), clubs, organizations, famous people coming to speak on campus, etc. The downside is that there is less hand-holding. I'm teaching a class of 120 right now and there's really a mix of students--those doing the reading, paying attention, asking questions and getting engages, and some that just don't show up, and when they do have kind of a glazed look on their face. Students that can take some initiative really thrive. I've actually co-written research papers with outstanding seniors. For those that need more guidance I'm sure the first year could have moments of frustration as it is a big place. I know they do a good job in the residence halls of getting to know the residence, planning activities, etc. But as you might guess there will always be a great number of influences in the dorms, and students ultimately choose where to gravitate. In sum, all the tools they'll ever need to succeed in life (developing good writing skills, analytical skills, public speaking skills etc.) are there for the taking if the student is willing to reach out and grab them.
  • kindernykinderny Registered User Posts: 1,385 Senior Member
    Well that is a comfort. She is pretty motivated- more interested in the library side of things- but good at computers so the MS for Library and Information Science should suit her. As I understand the program, she will do the equivalent of an info science minor and a liberal arts major (typically History or English but she is more likely to go interdisciplinary- Medieval and Renaissance Studies or something like that). The computer science classes,if she takes the right ones, can work towards the info science requirements for the MS. Academically I had visions of the first year classes being the equivalent of Professor Binns (Harry Potter reference- with the students falling asleep and others totally ignoring what is going on in the class). I am not concerned about the academics as long as the students in the class don't actively get in the way of those that want to learn.
    I am thinking she is less likely to seek anything out on campus for amusement and just go back to her room. She is not much of a joiner. I wish the campus had a quiet dorm- it is the only SUNY that she considered that does not mention one on their website regarding residential life.
    Do you think it is important to actually sit in on a class or two? (She is going to accepted student days for both UAlbany and SUNY New Paltz but they are not when classes are in session.) Is there any advice/things to think about that you would give specific to UAlbany for a prospective student?
  • UAlbanyProfUAlbanyProf Registered User Posts: 45 Junior Member
    It's certainly never been my experience to have serially disruptive students in class. She'll be able to go to class and absorb the material. Yes, definitely come to the accepted student Open House. (I think I'll actually going be there staffing a table on the Sunday one.) You'll have a chance to meet 2-3 faculty from different departments as well as talk to people from Res Life, Financial Aid, etc. I'm not sure it's crucial to try to attend an actual class although you'd be welcome to set that up if you so desired.

    The two pieces of general advice I offer are:

    1. Try not to miss any classes. When frosh first misses a class, they discover that they don't need any note, that the instructor isn't going to call them or home, and that the world keeps on spinning. I.e. while it's "easy" to blow off attending classes, that temptation has to be resisted. I've never had a student fail a class who consistently attended.

    2. Find out from friends and others who the really great teachers are and take a class from them, even if it's not in your major or Gen Ed. College is a time to get inspired and motivated, and really good faculty can do that.
  • kindernykinderny Registered User Posts: 1,385 Senior Member
    Thanks so much for the advice. I will pass it on. We will be at the Sunday one, too. We should have a secret handshake or have jackets made- "CC knows best". ;)
This discussion has been closed.