Last week, the Student Committee on Undergraduate Education elected College junior Lucas Siegmund as its new chair. The DP sat down with him to find out more about SCUE’s plans for the semester.
The Daily Pennsylvanian: What is on SCUE’s agenda this semester?
Lucas Siegmund: This is actually a really exciting semester. The past year was spent developing two big projects: Roadmap to Research and OPenned, … an online courseware website which focuses on using the online platform to integrate at all different areas of education at Penn on different topics. Those two projects will be officially launched within the next few weeks. After that, this semester’s focus will really be the White Paper.
DP: What is Roadmap to Research?
LS: That will actually be coming out in the next few weeks. It’s essentially a guide to how to get involved in research as an undergraduate at Penn, and it covers all four schools and all disciplines.
DP: Can you explain a little bit more about OPenned?
LS: We’re going to curate videos on particular topics. So we’ll take a five minute clip from a professor in the Psych department, an excerpt from a research paper of a professor in the med school and things like that, and then we’ll bring them together into a half-hour tutorial which you can watch online. Ideally, it’s supposed to spark intellectual curiosity among students and encourage them to see what’s out there at Penn. This online platform also gives the opportunity to post up all sorts of public speakers and events on campus that students may not have had the chance to go to in person.
DP: How is SCUE approaching the 2015 White Paper? [SCUE publishes a White Paper, which critiques undergraduate academic life the University and makes suggestions every five years.]
LS: We’re interested in making it a very open process and getting a lot of student engagement. It’s important to us that the issues we’re focusing on are the issues that students care about as well … so we’re going to be doing a lot of focus groups and surveys to try to get students in on some of these issues. We’re definitely going to be issuing a kind of call to action among students to try to make sure their voices are heard in this White Paper as well as ours.
DP: Which issues will the White Paper discuss?
LS: The biggest issues that we’re looking at right now line up closely with the Penn Compact. There are three parts to the Compact: access, integrated knowledge and global [and local] engagement, and within those the big topics, we’re focusing on diversity, community engagement and global and local initiatives.
DP: What are you most excited about doing as new SCUE chair?
LS: It gives me the opportunity to connect [with] places in the University that we haven’t worked with in the past. We’re really interested in working with Global Initiatives … We’re also reaching out to Residential Services to work around issues like housing programs, which are pertinent to education. Because for us education isn’t just what you do in the classroom, it’s our entire experience at Penn.