Course that Aims to Ease Transition to University a Success

December 12, 2007 - News Release

A growing number of students are looking for information and support in making the transition from high school to university, based on the participation in a first-ever University of Guelph course.

More than 300 students signed up - triple the number expected.

"We have had a phenomenal response and even had to turn students away," said Prof. Sharon Mayne Devine, who is the lead instructor.

The course, "Life: Health and Well-Being," which wrapped up its first semester this week, focuses on health and lifestyle topics related to the lives of young adults.

It was designed in part to address the concerns about students entering university at a younger age than ever before.

"The course helps first-year students manage university life," said Mayne Devine. "Students are now just 17 or 18 years old when they leave home to go to university which means they have to move from adolescence to emerging adulthood a lot quicker than in the past. Even though they are still teenagers, they no longer have adult supervision and have to learn to have an internal locus of control."

Offered by the Department of Family Relations and Applied Nutrition, the course covers topics including sexuality, relationships, body image, depression, nutrition, stress, exercise, alcohol and other drug use. Each topic is taught in connection to current research and theory.

"The aim is to teach students how to think critically and reflect on what they are doing and the decisions they are making," said Mayne Devine. "That way they are prepared as they work through to graduation. It is our hope that they will leave the university responsible professionals."

In addition to research and theory, students are provided with links to University resources such as counselling services.

The course is open to students in all areas of study and combines in-class and online work. Discussion groups, questions forums, blogs and personal journals are conducted online.

"When you have the online component, students can discuss in smaller groups without feeling the sense of intimidation that can happen when talking about personal issues in front of a class of 300."

Students taking the course are also forced to think about the direction of their undergraduate education and possible career choices by completing a career directions plan.

"As a university, we are thinking more broadly about education. It's not just about conveying information; it's about creating thoughtful citizens."

Prof. Sharon Mayne Devine
Department of Family Relations and Applied Nutrition
519-824-4120, Ext. 53970

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, 519-824-4120, Ext. 53338, or Deirdre Healey, Ext. 56982,

University of Guelph
50 Stone Road East
Guelph, Ontario, N1G 2W1