University 101 Gratitude Assignment

University 101 is KU’s orientation seminar. The two-credit hour seminar is small, enrolling about 19 students in each section. In the course students:

  • Learn about the University and begin to define their KU experience.
  • Meet peers and professionals that will help them transition to student life.
  • Read and discuss the KU Common Book. 
  • Visit iconic campus spaces.
  • Engage in work that affirms student identities and promotes student well-being. 
  • Develop skills for college (information and financial literacy, time management, critical thinking, communication, and study skills).
  • Make academic and career plans.
  • Discover pathways to future experiences.
  • Recognize strengths and translate them into success and opportunity.

UNIV 101 instructors develop exciting assignments that provide students with frequent feedback and allow for out-of-the-classroom experiences. Students have met with performers from the Lied Center, carried-out service learning projects with community organizations, and conducted research on objects at the Spencer Museum of Art, Dole Institute of Politics, and Spencer Research Library.  

UNIV 101 classrooms are social learning spaces where students learn not only from the instructor but each other. Together we work on interesting projects, have experiences, develop skills, and learn about the University, each other, and ourselves. This work not only maximizes student learning in UNIV 101 but in subsequent courses as well.

a) Clarify their values and identity and articulate how these shape their perspectives and relationships with people who are similar to and different from themselves.

b) Explore the tenets of the Carolinian Creed.

c) Examine and develop strategies that promote wellbeing and explain how wellness impacts their academic and personal success.

d) Initiate a process toward the attainment of personal and professional goals and articulate potential pathways to employability.

Successful instructors will be intentional in all aspects of course planning and design in order to facilitate student progress toward achieving these outcomes. It is important to note that an outcome is not the same as a daily lesson or a specific piece of content. Individual lesson plans or topics may be applicable to numerous outcomes. Individual topics that could be vehicles for achieving some of these outcomes might include:

Academic strategies
Campus involvement
Campus resources
Campus safety
Career development Diversity

Financial literacy
Goal setting
Stress management
Time management
Values clarification

Instructors may also consider educational methods that promote the outcomes, such as community service, service-learning, cultural event participation, beyond-the-classroom experiences, campus partner presentations, etc.

Other Course Requirements

In an effort to achieve these goals and learning outcomes, the requirements listed below will be included in all sections of University 101.

Integrative Learning
University 101 not only orients students to Beyond the Classroom learning opportunities, but helps students articulate the significance of those experiences and how they contribute to overall learning. This component of UNIV 101 is in alignment with USC’s Quality Enhancement Plan, USC Connect, and a natural extension of existing UNIV 101 outcomes.

Each UNIV 101 section must require students to participate and reflect on at least one beyond the classroom learning opportunity. Beyond the classroom experiences may be completed by students individually, but instructors should consider that a group experience provides an even greater opportunity to facilitate reflection on learning. 

Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Community service
  • Leadership programs or workshops
  • Campus lecture
  • Diversity events, such as those sponsored by the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs
  • Cultural event such as a theatrical performance, dance and/or music recital
  • Campus club/organization meeting/event
  • Residence hall program
  • Outdoor Recreation program

Examples of reflection activities include, but are not limited to:

  • A written reflection describing the event, what was learned and how it related to any one of the UNIV 101 learning outcomes. 
  • Group/small group discussions of the event culminating in a group list of “lessons learned”
  • Reflecting on the event as part of an on-going journal for the class

Required Readings
Transitions is used in all sections of University 101 to provide a consistent source of important information for students. While it is designed to serve as a resource for incoming students it is not intended to reflect the entirety of the curriculum. Developed specifically for the University of South Carolina, this book provides a baseline of information that students will need to help them make the most of their first-year experience.

Use of Additional Readings & Resources: University 101 instructors should incorporate additional readings and instructional resources in their class to foster achievement of the learning outcomes, provide context or themes for the course, and offer different perspectives. This may include a book, articles, the First-Year Reading Experience book, local or national newspapers, or other readings/resources. These readings should be intentionally integrated into the course rather than serve as a standalone component.

Assignments need to allow students to demonstrate evidence of achieving the learning outcomes for the course. This will be accomplished through a mix of homework assignments, papers, projects, presentations, and exams. At a minimum, each section will assess students on the following:

Required Component



Attendance & Participation           



Papers/Essays- This includes both (a) formal essays that involve more substantial effort and time on the part of the student and emphasis on good writing; and (b) shorter, less formal writing assignments such as reflection papers. We recommend one formal paper that is 3+ pages in length and 2-3 other papers that are 1-2 pages in length.



Informal Writing (e.g. blogs, journals, in-class reflections)



Oral Presentation(s)



Midterm (project/paper/presentation/exam*)



Final/Culminating Project- The final should challenge students to reflect upon and synthesize the major course goals. Methodologies could include portfolios, take home projects or papers, presentations, or videos, etc.**



Other Homework (e.g. projects, quizzes, daily assignments)



*Due to the nature and purpose of this course, multiple choice or true/false exams are not  an appropriate format.

**Please note: according the University Faculty Manual, no quiz, test, or examination shall be given during the last two class sessions before the regular examination period.

It is important that new students receive early and regular feedback about their academic performance and that they have sense of their progress in the course prior to the withdrawal date. Thus, students must receive a grade from at least one significant assignment within the first six weeks of the semester.

The grading scale for all UNIV 101 sections is as follows:

A = 90-100
B+ = 87-89
B = 80-86
C+ = 77-79

C = 70-76
D+ = 67-69
D = 60-66
F = 59 or below

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