In this Issue

  • Lilly Endowment Inc. awards $30.7 million grant to support the University’s Program for Leadership and Character
  • 1/25 Event: Growth Mindset: Rebounding from Academic Setbacks
  • ’26 students got their issue of Letters So Dear
  • Some continued tweaking of Daily Deac format
  • Perspective for ’25s and ’26s on getting classes in their intended major

Happy Tuesday, Deac families! I think we are hitting a bit of the January blahs: it was rainy and cold this past weekend, it was 28 degrees at 8 am today, and tomorrow’s forecast is a 100% chance of rain, high of only 46.

With cold and rainy weather, no more long weekends for a while, and the first round of tests and papers starting to hit, this part of the semester can feel like a slog or a grind. You might hear that in your Deacs’ voices. That’s pretty normal for late-January moods, so don’t panic if you sense it.

BUT…there is still plenty of great news to share today – starting with this incredible announcement:

Lilly Endowment Inc. awards $30.7 million grant to support the University’s Program for Leadership and Character

Wake got some amazing news today: “Lilly Endowment Inc. has awarded Wake Forest a $30.7 million grant to support the University’s Program for Leadership and Character and create a national higher education network devoted to educating character.”

Not only is this a big deal for Wake, but for other schools as well: “In addition to supporting the creative programming and cutting-edge research taking place at Wake Forest University, the grant will dramatically extend the impact of that work nationwide by helping public and private colleges and universities across the country develop and strengthen their own character education initiatives.” Read the full story here.

Our Leadership and Character program is exceptional, and they are constantly bringing speakers, group discussion opportunities, and more to our campus. If your Deac wants to get more involved – or you want to know more – check out their website.

1/25 Event: Growth Mindset: Rebounding from Academic Setbacks

I just found out about a session that will be held tomorrow (1/25) entitled “Growth Mindset: Rebounding from Academic Setbacks.” The session is described as: “Learn how to reframe disappointment and look toward success in this great workshop with Dr. Ashley Heffner from CLASS and Dr. Bradley Burroughs from the Office of Leadership and Character. The presenters will lead students through this casual, uplifting, and helpful 1 hour mini-workshop. This workshop will take place on Wednesday, January 25th at 4pm in Room A330 of the WellBeing Center.”

This could be an incredibly beneficial session for our Deacs, particularly our ’26s. Most of our students were shining stars in high school, and there tends to be a steep learning curve in college as students adjust to the newer, tougher academic standards. For students used to doing well in nearly everything, it can be a crushing blow to get a first paper with tons of red marks, or to find that you are struggling in a class(es) when you never struggled in high school. Those kinds of academic setbacks can take a toll on your psyche if you don’t put them in perspective.

Please share news of this session with your Deac (of any class year!) if they could benefit.

’26 students got their issue of Letters So Dear

Our ’26s got their weekly issue of Letters So Dear on Monday. Also, I wanted to mention that the Weekly Message for First-Year Families is only run in the fall semester, not the spring. (For those who were concerned you had been dropped off the list, you were not. It is a semester-long event, not all year).

Some continued tweaking of Daily Deac format

Many thanks to those who took our quick, 5-question survey about the new Daily Deac format. (If you didn’t take the survey, you can do it here). Many of you have asked that the In this Issue section be a bulleted list, rather than in paragraph form. Our design team originally opted against bullets because it felt very cold to open an email that started with just bullets, but I will give it a try for a couple of weeks and we can see what y’all think of it in a future survey.

Perspective for ’25s and ’26s on getting classes in their intended major

I have been hearing from some first-year students and sophomores who felt a bit panicky at the start of the semester that they do not have classes in their intended major. I am going to put on my academic adviser hat on and will spend the remainder of today’s column trying to reassure them (and their families!) that this is not likely to hinder their pursuit of a major. Bear with my length here, as there is logic that builds sequentially.

Our curriculum requirements are broken into 3 major chunks: Basic requirements (all students must take these classes), Divisional requirements, and Major requirements. You can see the first two sections on the Course Completion Checklist, but I will outline them below.

Basic Requirements (between 11-21 hours)

  • These are classes every Wake student has to take to graduate, and consist of, First Year Seminar (3 hours), Writing 111 (4 hours), Health and Exercise Science 100 (1 hour)
  • You also must have a 200 level foreign language class. If you place into the lowest level of foreign language, you typically have 4 classes to take: 111 (3 hours), 112 (3 hours), 153 (4 hours), and 212 (3 hours) to complete your language requirement
  • So depending on how you place, you could have as few as 3 language hours or as many as 13
  • Total Basic hours (depending on language placement) is between 11 hours (if you place into a 200 level class) and 21 hours (if you place into 111)

Divisional requirements (26 hours)

  • Divisionals are also required, but students have the ability to choose between a number of courses that satisfy this requirement: example, you need 2 humanities courses, but you can choose to take them from within 4 different departments. Students need:
    • 2 humanities courses (3 hours each, so 6 hours total)
    • 1 literature course (3 hours each, so 3 hours total)
    • 1 fine arts course (3 hours each, so 3 hours total)
    • 2 social sciences courses (3 hours each, so 6 hours total)
    • 2 math and natural science courses (4 hours each, so 8 hours total)
  • 26 total Divisional hours

Major requirements (hours vary, but it will be at least 30 hours)

  • Every major has its own requirements for specific classes and number of hours; you can see requirements in the Academic Bulletin
  • Many majors require 30-36 hours (10-12 classes of 3 hours each)
  • Some majors (e.g., business, engineering, etc.) require more hours than 30-36; students in these majors will want to consult the Academic Bulletin for their requirements. But even in majors requiring more than 36 hours, students who plan properly and perform well can graduate on time.
  • Some Divisional requirements are also Major requirements, so you can kill two birds with one stone, so to speak. Example: Econ 150 is a social sciences Divisional *and* a requirement for business majors

Students need 120 hours to graduate

  • Wake requires 120 hours to graduate.
    • If you break that into 8 semesters, it averages out to 15 hours each semester for 4 years, though your student may want to do more/less than 15 hours in a given semester.
  • When you add up all the required hours, you get this:
    • 11-21 hours of Basics
    • 26 hours of Divisionals
    • 30+ hours in your Major
  • If you have to take the maximum Basics (21 hours), plus Divisionals (26 hours), plus a 30 hour major, that adds up to 77 hours out of the 120 you need to graduate.
  • So you still need to take 43 more hours to get to 120 hours to graduate.
  • ANY credit-bearing class you take will help you get to the number of hours you need to graduate. (We refer to those classes that don’t tick off a Basic, Divisional, or Major requirement as ‘electives’.)

All that to say to any anxious first-year students or sophomores, do not panic if you are not starting your major in your first year, or if you don’t have a major class in your sophomore year. Typically you will have plenty of time for those major requirements as long as you keep track of them, and you will definitely need to take many electives in your schedule over the four years to get to that magic 120 hours.

I hope that brings some perspective – and some comfort.

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