Category Archives: Academics

Study Skills Workshop!

Was Block 1 a rough transition back to academic life?  Do you want to create a new plan for being organized, so you can get all of your “stuff” done each block?

This is the workshop for you!

Join Brooke Paulsen, the Coordinator of Academic Support and Advising, for this one-hour interactive workshop on Friday, September 30 at 12:30 p.m. in the Berlin Room in the Thomas Commons.  You’ll learn time management and organization tips that you can translate into academic success on the Block Plan (and in real life…because adulting can be hard)!

Questions?  Contact Brooke at or visit her in 309 Cole Library!

Are you committing word crimes?

Let’s be honest.  I’m getting old.  I’ve been to my share of college reunions — I even attended a reunion for my PhD program this summer.  When did that happen?!  Even worse, I find myself remembering less and less about some of my undergraduate classroom experiences.  Despite that, I do have lots of vivid memories of writing.  Some of them are even being created this month as I work on my comprehensive exams for my doctoral degree.  Every night as I leave work, I find myself going home and typing on a computer, looking up sources, analyzing data, using all of the skills that I learned in my undergraduate courses to make sure I am writing with sentence variation, that my writing is pithy (look up that word, it’ll impress your faculty), and following APA style.


This summer, Weird Al performed in Cedar Rapids.  I have no doubt there were a fair number of faculty and staff from Cornell in attendance.


That’s write right.  We sometimes get a little nerdy about grammar at Cornell College.  In fact, sometimes we’re downright punny.  Okay, enough of that.


Beyond the number of times a student walks into my office and points out a spelling error, the times a co-worker edits something I write, or feedback is provided, my time working on my undergraduate and master’s degree helped me to develop a new sense of seeking out feedback on my writing.  Whether it’s a friend reading a paper and providing feedback or someone reading this blog post, I often seek feedback to double check my information, make sure I am making sense, or that I have a strong thesis statement.

As an undergrad I quickly developed the habit of using the writing studio and others.  When I was in graduate school, after receiving feedback from a faculty member, I would proof all of his papers.  Last year I found myself editing a student’s grad school essay over and over and then a couple of more times.

For current students, I hope you have found a writing partner and you use the Madgetta Dungy Writing Studio with some frequency.  For incoming students, know that between second and sixth block, you’ll be signing up for a writing-intensive course to work on your writing skills and learn more about the resources available on campus.  I know there will be students posting about their writing class experience in the future, but for now, I wanted to give my two cents.  If you go looking for the Writing Studio this summer, know that it has moved within Cole Library and is now located on the 3rd floor (Ped Mall level).

Don’t be afraid to practice writing, giving feedback, and receiving feedback on your writing.  Start a blog (or write a post or two for this one!).  Write in a journal.  Write fan fic(tion).  Heck, write facebook posts and tweets.  Caption your Instagram photos and don’t be surprised when someone points out a typo.  Find yourself basing friendship through your affinity for the Oxford comma (look that one up, too).  Take the next four weeks to start working in these areas.

We’ll help you find your resources on campus, but start thinking about your writing partners, too.  Who knows, you might even find yourself editing papers for a friend all throughout your life.  Our hope at Cornell is that you are prepared to think critically about your own writing and communicate effectively through writing and other means.  We’re in this together.

Pass/Fail Option?

Instead of focusing on a policy in our code of conduct, The Compass, today, I wanted to spend some time focusing on one of our grade options.  Students may have heard about other institutions of higher education offering a pass/fail option.  Cornell, however, has a different view of the policy and action MUST be taken in the first three days of the block in order to exercise the option, so we wanted to clarify the policy a little bit.

All of the information about our Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory option is available in our academic catalogue.  Individuals wanting to explore the S/U option need to complete an S/U form within the first three days of the block and return it to the Registrar’s Office in Old Sem.  If, on the 15th day of the block, you determine you would rather take your grade, you can rescind the S/U option.  Students can use a maximum of two S/U credits towards the 31 required for graduation.

That being said, there is a distinct reason why we say S/U, instead of Pass/Fail.  Satisfactory grades are grades C and above.  If you receive a C- or below, the grade is considered Unsatisfactory and does not earn a credit nor allow you to use the course to satisfy prerequisites.  Find out more in the 2015-2016 academic catalogue.

Developing a Relationship with Your Advisor

Guest Blogger Chloe Rossier,  a sophomore in the class of 2018 and a PA with NSO 2015 shares about developing a relationship with your advisor. 

Chloe --advisor

First of all, to all those reading, I just want to say congratulations on choosing Cornell College! I have to tell you from my experience that college is even better than you’re thinking it will be. However, right now it is still new, still in the future, and of course, a bit nerve racking. Don’t worry because it is the same for everyone! Continue reading Developing a Relationship with Your Advisor

Choosing Classes, Finding Books, and assorted Academic Know-How

Let’s face it: I’m a bit of a nerd. And as a nerd, I’m here to impart to you my knowledge of the ins and outs of some of the academic sides of Cornell. During this (rather long) post, we’ll tackle some of the bigger questions about Cornell academics that you may have coming in this fall, such as searching for classes, course requirements, understanding the ‘bidding system’, finding book lists and ordering books, getting support, and a lot more things that are good to be aware of. Browse, read at your own pace, and get excited for the amazing experience ahead of you as a Cornell student!  Continue reading Choosing Classes, Finding Books, and assorted Academic Know-How