In a significant stride towards enhancing the academic experience for sophomore transfer students at the University of Pennsylvania, Mackenzie Sleeman, a dedicated PPE student, has taken the initiative to launch a pioneering writing seminar exclusively tailored for transfer students. This innovative seminar, titled "Sophomore Transfer Critical Writing Seminar: Belonging," is set to foster a vibrant community of transfer students, providing them with a unique platform to share their experiences and build meaningful peer networks.
The seminar, designed to address the distinctive needs of sophomore transfer students, will be conducted twice a week on Mondays and Wednesdays from 5:15 to 6:44 pm at Rodin College House under the guidance of Fayyaz Vellani. Unlike traditional writing seminars, this course aims to bridge the gap in the academic journey of transfer students by acknowledging and building upon their prior college experiences. Valerie Ross, Senior Director of the Marks Family Center for Excellence in Writing, emphasizes the importance of such a program, stating that it offers transfer students a space to comfortably explore academic questions that might otherwise go unasked in regular writing seminars.
Mackenzie Sleeman, a junior and former New Transfer Representative of the Undergraduate Assembly, has been the driving force behind this transformative initiative. Recognizing the absence of transfer-specific classes and writing seminars at Penn, Sleeman embarked on this journey in the fall of 2022, conducting extensive research and collaborating with various university departments to bring this program to life. With the backing of the Marks Family Center for Excellence in Writing, the support of Vice Provost for Education Karen Detlefsen, and the cooperation of Rodin College House, Sleeman's efforts culminated in the launch of the Transfer Critical Writing Seminar. As a pilot program, its success will determine its continuation in future semesters, with Sleeman actively working to raise awareness and increase engagement among incoming transfer students.
Sleeman's vision is clear: to create a safe and inclusive space where transfer students can shape the curriculum to reflect their unique needs and experiences. Through information sessions, social media outreach, and active engagement with prospective transfer students, he aims to establish a vibrant and supportive community of learners. Sleeman's tireless dedication to improving the transfer student experience at Penn exemplifies the university's commitment to fostering an environment of inclusion and academic excellence.