Pictured above – Launchpad Assistant Director Tenika Burgess meets with a student. 

Plans Feb. 16 workshop for undeclared majors

Cookeville – Freshmen and undeclared transfer students at Tennessee Tech University have a one-stop-shop for advising, transition assistance and academic and personal support in Tech’s Launchpad Student Success Center. Created in 2020 and housed on the first floor of the Angelo & Jennette Volpe Library, Launchpad works holistically to ensure each student has a smooth transition, whether from high school or another university, and the direction needed to meet their goals – with special emphasis on helping students select a major. 

“It is a lot of work to determine a major when you’re unsure,” explained Launchpad Director Angie Clark. “It’s really important that students know we’re here to help them.” 

Launchpad and Tech’s Center for Career Development will host a workshop for undeclared majors Feb. 16 at 3 p.m. in Volpe Library 248 entitled, “Majors, Jobs and ME: How Do I Decide?”

The event is free and, while tailored to those still choosing a field of study, is open to all Tech students. 

“You can come into the university as an undecided student, and we don’t want to discourage anyone from doing that – it gives them the opportunity to explore different majors,” said Clark. “But we do want to make sure we’re helping students select a major as soon as possible.” 

Clark added that the Feb. 16 workshop will be “interactive – not just listening to someone talk at them. Students will be given different scenarios and moving through different stations to help them hone in on two to three different careers they could explore.” 

“This is an exercise that gets students out of their seats and moving around while thinking about their preferences as related to personality type,” said Russ Coughenour, Director of the Center for Career Development at Tech. “What we hope is that these students leave with confidence.”

In addition to Launchpad, Tech supports undeclared majors with a three-credit hour course offered each fall: LIST 1610, Major and Career Exploration. 

“The course has been a real asset for the students that have taken it,” shared Ann Manginelli, associate professor in the School of Interdisciplinary Studies and a LIST 1610 instructor. “They come into the course at varying levels of decision-making, and it speaks to students wherever they are in that process. It lets them know that it’s okay if they don’t have their entire path figured out and gives them the opportunity to dig into resources we have here at Tech that can help them make that decision.” 

LIST 1610 classes are typically capped at less than 15 students each, facilitating a more personal classroom experience and complementing the services offered to students by Launchpad. 

“We have the ability to give those direct services with our advising,” said Director Tenika Burgess. “We’re used to listening and connecting the dots for the students pretty quick.” 

Learn more about the Launchpad Student Success Center at https://www.tntech.edu/ssc/launchpad.

Photo courtesy of Tennessee Tech.

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