Dinar, Dollar, Euro, Peso, Rand, Rupee, Shekel, Yen, Yuan — Wharton students of all years know these words not as currencies, but as cohort teams. But the program is undergoing a discount.
Recently Wharton’s Department of Student Life decided cut the cohort program to only include freshman and sophomores. After spring break, a junior and senior advisory board will be implemented to give the Department of Student Life staff ideas and suggestions for junior and senior programming.
The decision to cut the program followed department surveys of sophomores through seniors, multiple focus groups and discussions on the state of the cohort system over the past year and a half. During its research, the department found that most of the attendees for cohort events were underclassmen.
“We felt that being more targeted with a two-year system would enhance the system overall,” Director of Student Life at Wharton Lee Kramer said.
The data showed that the program was more beneficial for underclassmen, who were still searching for a community within Penn, Kramer said. By focusing the cohort program to only two classes instead of four, it allows the Student Life Department to tailor the cohort program to the needs of these students.
“[The change] allows us also to really understand the needs of the students by class year,” Kramer said.
In addition, Kramer believes the creation of the Junior-Senior Advisory Board will help to form more programs and events targeted to the needs of upperclassmen. The board will meet on a monthly basis with the Student Life Department to discuss new ideas for programs and changes that can be made to current events.
“Once you become a junior or senior you find community in other ways, such as clubs, fraternities, sororities, athletics. [Students] have found their niche, they have found their community,” Kramer said. “But the argument can be made that freshmen and sophomores would be a better target for the cohort system when we’re creating communities for the students."
The cohort system was launched in 2006 as a program for only freshmen, and other grades were added in subsequent years. Every fall, incoming Wharton freshman are placed into one of nine cohort groups — each named after a different currency and consisting of approximately 60 students. Students in the cohorts take Management 100 together, and freshmen cohorts are assigned an upperclassman cohort director who organizes activities for them throughout the year and helps them transition into college.
“[The purpose of the program] is to create smaller communities within a larger community,” Kramer said.
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