My First Day at Speed

By John Usher, Associate Dean

Driving into work this morning I saw all the students moving their stuff into the dorms. Classes start in a few days. I still remember my first day at Speed School. I would use the word exciterrified to describe it. I had no idea what to expect. I walked into my Chem class in the big auditorium in Ernst Hall and looked around and saw about 100 guys and 5 girls. That ratio was completely unexpected, and after having spent 4 years at Trinity High School, I started to seriously question my engineering career choice. Then, the professor (who shall remain nameless) walked in and his first words were “Look to your left and look to your right, one of these people will be gone in 3 weeks.” Wow…nice welcome. Great to be here, I thought. Obviously I made it through ok, but still it was eye-opening.

Boy how times have changed. That old “weed them out” mentality is long since gone. Speed School is ALL about retaining students and helping them earn an engineering degree. We have a great set of dedicated academic advisors that work with their assigned students through their entire career here at Speed. We have supplemental Calculus instruction sections, student help sessions, tutors, a Living/Learning Community, tablet PC initiative, a new Director for Student Success (Heidi Neal), UofL Reach, a Writing Center, and much more.

As I look back now, I realize how far we have come and how much better it is be a Speed student these now. Maybe that’s why our enrollment numbers are through the roof as more and more young people are deciding that engineering can lead them to a great lifetime career.

Best of luck to the incoming class!

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