TIDES classes do not enhance student experience

Claire Davenport, Staff Writer

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The following is an opinion article, and opinion articles do not reflect the views of The Tulane Hullabaloo.

Tulane Interdisciplinary Experience Seminars, better known as the freshman TIDES classes, have left many freshmen feeling cheated. Some enjoy their TIDES classes and find the subject matter interesting, while other students view them as just an extra requirement, and don’t believe the class enhances their Tulane experience.

TIDES classes were made mandatory in 2006 following a four year trial period where the optional classes received high student approval ratings. The program’s goals are to help students find their place in the Tulane community and to foster close relationships with fellow freshmen and faculty.

The discontent with TIDES classes stems mainly from the lack of communication between students. After polling 50 freshmen, only eight felt like they had made any connections with their classmates, and only five felt like the connections they made were strong.

Students expect TIDES classes to have a friendly and open environment, but the truth is students rarely interact within the class. TIDES classes are useless if they only copy the standard college class format, because that does not add anything to the student experience.

Some students have gotten a lot out of their TIDES class experience. But these classes are the ones that ventured outside of the classroom and into the city. Freshman Franny Senkowsky took the TIDES class “NOLA Cities of the Dead.” Senkowsky said she loved her class because she got to explore the city and it was a lot easier to bond with fellow students and get the most out of TIDES when they were taken off campus.

Students in the “Adventure, Discipline, Obsession: Running Conversation” class expressed similar feelings. They enjoyed getting to run through New Orleans and learn about the outside community. 

The original purpose of TIDES classes was to promote conversation about a wide range of academic perspectives. To bring this goal back to life in all the courses, the classes need to foster student communication and not only teach students about New Orleans, but help them experience it. 

Claire Davenport is a freshman in the Newcomb-Tulane College. She can be reached for comment at cdavenp@tulane.edu.