Faculty design new skills programme to support virtual welcome for Class of 2024
With all applicants who experienced delays in high school exams now enrolled, the entire Class of 2024 officially started their journey at Ashesi with virtual classes in January 2021. Overall the class is made up of 332 students, representing 19 countries and 123 high schools. Forty-five percent of the class are women, and overall, 42% are receiving scholarships. The class also represents approximately 21% of all applicants for 2020 admissions period.
The students have been the first in our history to be welcomed entirely online, from all orientation programmes to meeting their faculty for the first time. In response to their unique circumstances, the Provost’s Office at Ashesi worked with faculty to design an introductory programme that helped ease the class’s transition. The new introductory “First-Year Experience” class included short courses covering foundational skills in entrepreneurship and problem solving, design thinking and principles, information technology, communication and data visualisation. All members of the class took the introductory online programme before the start of our semester this year.
“We know that our students are coming from different socio-economic backgrounds, and so this program focuses on our ever-present goal to ensure that they all start Ashesi on the same footing,” says Assistant Lecturer, Jewel Thompson. Together with Head of the Business Department, Dr. Sena Agbodjah Agyepong, and Research Administrator, William Annoh ’16, Jewel helped design and implement the first-year experience programme.
The Class of 2024 was admitted in two groups, with group one enrolling in September of 2020 and group two enrolling in December, because of differences in high school examination timetables. Having already taken their first-year experience programme, both cohorts have now started their majors as one class.
“I generally enjoyed my foundational courses,” says Enoch Aho ’24. “Having spent some time away from studying before joining Ashesi, I believe these classes will help me transition well into college.”
Carrying lessons from this pilot, faculty at Ashesi are exploring ways to strengthen the first-year experience programme for future Ashesi classes.
“In all of this, we are keeping an eye on our learning goals and the outcomes we are seeking for students when they graduate Ashesi,” says Dr. Agbodjah Agyepong. “We hope to help students gain a foundational understanding of skills like teamwork, critical thinking, and professionalism, while also getting to start Ashesi with the end in mind.