Brandon – STEM (Part 2)

Brandon3This is a brick wall.

A good brick wall has integrity; it has a strong foundation, it won’t collapse, and it does its job (i.e.- it holds up the roof). For the brick wall, we call this structural integrity, but it is still integrity nonetheless.

Much like the brick wall, UCA’s residential colleges also have a type of integrity called academic integrity.

When most people talk about academic integrity, they usually are talking about how cheating, plagiarizing, or infringing on anyone’s thoughts or work in any way is bad.  This kind of academic integrity still holds within the residential colleges, but there is another aspect of this integrity which I believe better captures what the residential colleges are all about: maintaining academic standards.

Since my freshman year, I’ve seen just about everyone I have ever encountered struggle, at some point, in at least one of their classes. It’s kind of like a fact of life; if you spend four years at college, you are going to slip up eventually. Maybe you stayed up playing games the night before a big test, or you went to a party when you should have been doing a lab report, or you encountered our friendly brick wall in the middle of  your mid-term essay. These things happen. But what’s important is what you take away from the situation. I’ve seen too many of my friends and classmates just pretend their slip-ups never happened, and then the next big assignment, they do the same thing they did last time and fail again. That is the opposite of what they should have done.

Within the residential colleges, we try to maintain an academic standard where, if and when these slip-ups occur, something is done to prevent them from happening again. Programs are often held about time management and how to build good study habits for each of the residential colleges, and in STEM, we have five Nerd Nodes (study rooms), Advocates, and Duty Nights three nights a week within the STEM Classroom. During the Duty Nights, three Advocates spend three to five hours in the classroom helping students with their homework and in understanding various concepts from their classes. This is all done in the effort to help students hone their academic skills and become more successful in both their current and future classes.

We want our residents to do well, and we work hard to make sure they have as many opportunities at success as possible.

Brady – STARS (Part 2)

"Be excellent to each other, and party on, dudes." -Abraham Lincoln (Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure)

“Be excellent to each other, and party on, dudes.” -Abraham Lincoln (Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure)

Integrity. Integrity, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary is defined as “conduct that conforms to an accepted standard of right and wrong.” So what does this definition have to do with Residential Colleges? How can you apply a personal attribute to a community? I had no idea, so I turned to a thesaurus to try and find a word that could accurately describe the Residential College in terms of the “standard of right and wrong.”

 The first word that struck me was “rightness,” that is, being in accord with what is just, good, or proper. Rightness if often used to describe someone’s moral character but that really doesn’t work in the context of a Residential College, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t apply to it at all. Being right in an RC means that you do what is right within the RC itself. This doesn’t necessarily mean doing what is morally right, like keeping your halls and lobby clean, respecting others, and bringing a positive attitude to the atmosphere.

 What being right in a Residential College is truly about is your role and how you act within it. This means actively participating in what your Residential College is designed for. For example, if you are in the STARS and you have a natural talent for poetry or singing then doing what is right would mean performing at open mic night or poetry night.

The reason you join a Residential College is to connect with other students that have the same interests as you and to make your transition in to college smoother. College is often considered the place that really defines who we are and part of what college should instill in us is integrity. Not just doing what is morally right, but also doing what is right within your community by contributing and making it a more enjoyable experience for everyone. That is what integrity in college is all about.

Chandler – STARS (Part 2)

Hey, all! This blog is actually a bit late because my laptop took an unannounced sabbatical, that’s life for you I guess!

The word of the day (week?) is integrity, academic integrity, folks. I really think the entire concept of academic integrity is pretty vague, though. We could talk about cheating and plagiarism, but that’s a speech you have heard and will continue to hear 10,000 times over until you graduate- so I’ll leave that to your professors. I could tell you all of the top rated study techniques and habits of the A+ students, but either you already are, or just haven’t decided it’s worth your effort yet. I could tell you how to prioritize time, write a perfect paper, or even how to make your Ramen gourmet when you’re sick of the chicken flavor because you’ve eaten nothing else for a week- but that really is unrelated.

I’m just going to tell you about life here. It’s really easy to make it through college unnoticed if you want to. It’s easy to stay in your comfort zone, hang out in your room, sleep most of the day, do the bare minimum to pass classes, and really just give minimal effort. You can do that here if you really want to- no one is going to stop you. But don’t. College, especially in the Residential halls is an amazing opportunity to connect to people with similar interests or at least similar majors most likely. There are always more programs than you could ever conceivably go to- but go to them. STARS had programs on everything from beer goggle Mario Kart (a lesson on why you shouldn’t drink and drive), to learning your personality type and love language, to highlighter parties, open mic nights, and just plain coloring for no good reason. Programs exist to give you a reason to get out of your room and interact. They give you a chance to do something fun and possibly ridiculous and to do something you wouldn’t normally just do. Be a part of the community.

If I can tell you anything about college, you owe it to yourself to make the best of it and to get the most you can out of it. (We all know how much you or someone else is paying for you to be here.) If I think academic integrity means anything, at the core I think it means knowing behind closed doors that you’re getting all you can out of life or college or class. I was diagnosed with depression my first semester of college because I did what I needed to survive. I had straight A’s but I was miserable and determined to drop out because I didn’t know anyone or make an effort to. Class is important. You should go, and take notes, and pay attention, and learn all you can and more. But at the end of the day, college is about the entire experience. Don’t neglect friends 24/7 because of class but don’t do the opposite either. Learn balance, learn how to make it.

You owe it to yourself to be the best version of yourself you can possibly be. (Excuse the massive amounts of cheese there, but I’m being serious. Don’t waste your time here. You never know what you could be missing.) All of the pictures are things I would have missed out on if I hadn’t gone to programs and met my friends and got involved. I found an awesome support group of crazy fun people that made studying more entertaining and life more enjoyable. Get out there!

Chelsey – STARS (Part 2)



Integrity can have a variety of different definitions, but the simplest I have found is doing what you say you’re going to do—keeping promises to yourself.

Before I came into the residential college, one of my main priorities happened to be finding friends. I knew that friendships were extremely important. Of course, it is wonderful to have people you can spend time with, learning about their lives and just having fun together, but friendships also happen to be connections for the future. If I become good friends with people in classes pertaining to my major, we can all work together to achieve success in our field—and possibly even help each other out some time down the road.

I believe that putting my face and my name out there is also very important. Luckily, the residential colleges on campus have many events that you can attend and even help out with. During these events, you meet plenty of new people, including RA’s and RHA’s that you would not have met before. I said, before coming to college, that I wanted to get more involved. Thanks to these events, I have successfully been able to do this.

As well as getting involved, I promised myself that I would help out others more in any way that I can. In the residential colleges, we are given many opportunities to help others out. Currently, we are doing a book drive for St. Jude’s hospital. This gives students in my dorm the chance to give their old books away to children who would definitely enjoy them much more.

Integrity is important. By being in a residential college, I have been able to achieve more goals, uphold more integrity, than I believed possible before.

Hunter – EDGE (Part 2)

Hunter1Academic integrity is probably the most important part of success at the University of Central Arkansas. Academic integrity means not plagiarizing and being creative in your own work but giving credit where credit is due. Students who fail to achieve academic integrity through their work can get kicked off campus, banned from the school, and even worse it follows you everywhere with your permanent record.

EDGE residential college helps students achieve academic integrity through the help of the Learning Assistants and Advocates. As an Advocate my specialty is helping students with APA format. I make sure students cite their sources carefully so that they do not fail at academic integrity.

We encourage students to use plagiarism checkers online and to use the Purdue owl website to make sure they are citing correctly in their papers. Professors in the classrooms can help students in EDGE Residential College to go over their papers with them when needed and take the time to personally read the students papers and to go over there citations with them even if it means outside of classroom time.

EDGE Residential College professors are really awesome to have especially as a freshman in college because they’re willing to work with students one-on-one even in their free time in their very busy schedules. If a Learning Assistant or Advocate is not able to help a student then they will send them to the Academic Success Center for help in the Torreyson Library. Hunter2

If a student needs math or science help then we can send this student to the math and science building for tutoring if help is not available in the classroom. The tutors can help to make sure that their scientific papers are written in the right format and are cited correctly as well to make sure students achieve academic integrity.

EDGE Residential College will help residents achieve academic integrity when they ask for help.

-Hunter, EDGE Residential College Advocate

Laney – STEM (Part 2)

If you’ve already my first post, then you know that I have nothing but good things to say about the Residential Colleges at UCA, especially STEM. But if I’m the only one that thinks that, then they definitely wouldn’t be worth looking into. Fortunately, this is not the case. Residential Colleges have a good reputation around UCA. If you take the time to fill out the application and write the essay to get in, then you obviously care or are at least interested in the program, and people know that. So, as soon as you step foot in the building, you are immediately set apart from the people on campus who simply choose to stay in a traditional dorm.

Laney3Every year STEM sells a new t-shirt to incoming freshmen and current UCA faculty. Generally there is some sort of quirky design on the back, so plenty of students buy it and then they’re good for wearing to STEM sponsored outreach activities or just for fun. However, you wouldn’t imagine how many faculty members buy these shirts. I was filling t-shirt orders last fall and there are faculty members that buy t-shirts for their whole family. I mean, there was a toddler sized STEM t-shirt. Toddler. Sized. If that doesn’t say something about what the faculty here thinks about STEM, then I don’t know what does.

But in case that doesn’t convince you, I can go on. There are plenty of examples of how Residential Colleges have a positive reputation. And this only leads to more and more benefits that are only associated with living in a Residential College.

It is not uncommon to walk into class and see that your professor is wearing the very STEM t-shirt that you saw in your closet this morning. And then, if you decide to wear your STEM t-shirt to one of these science or math classes, your professors notice. You’ll be sitting there before class starts or during a lab and they’ll ask you about the program and maybe talk to you about the class or about cool opportunities that are coming up in the department. It’s surprising at first, but then it keeps happening and you start to get used to it.

Getting to know your professors and feeling more comfortable around them has plenty of perks. They know about pretty much everything that goes on in their department. So, you can learn about clubs that you might be interested in and the cool projects and field trips that they are doing. You can talk to your professors about their educational background and get their advice because they’ve been in the same place that you are now. And one of the more important perks, at least as a pure science or math major, is that you can learn about the research going on in your department and if you’re lucky (like me), then your professor might outright ask you to join their research team.

If you’re a high school student reading this, then I’m sure this whole research bit isn’t what’s on your mind at all. But UCA puts a pretty big focus on research, and a lot of the degrees in the science and math fields require you to have done research while here. So, if you’re going to have to do it anyway, being in STEM and getting to know your professors gives you opportunities for learning about research and makes starting research much easier. And you’ll be extremely grateful for that opportunity later. Trust me.

So, living in a Residential College and then purchasing the program’s t-shirt automatically makes it easier for you to get to know your professors. Then, you feel less intimidated and you’re more likely to ask for help and that in turn makes you more likely to succeed in your classes. And again, Residential Colleges successfully set you up to succeed in your academic endeavors.

But why is this possible? Because Residential Colleges have a pretty good reputation around this campus. And if all of your future professors believe in it, then why shouldn’t you too?