Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Blount director discusses application process

Blount director discusses application process

Joseph Hornsby, director of the Blount Undergraduate Initiative, said the program, which celebrated its 15th anniversary last Saturday differs from any other living-learning experience on campus because of the rigor and cohesiveness of the curriculum.

“We are unlike the Honors program in that our curriculum is progressive,” Hornsby said. “Each course builds on each other, culminating in the 
senior project.”

During their freshman year, students in the program live together in the Blount dorms, take a common course, read books from the same reading list and participate in discussions among themselves and faculty in a smaller, more intimate 
classroom setting.

“The program shrinks down The University of Alabama for our students, and they are put in an environment where they can make connections quickly,” 
he said.

Hornsby said when reviewing 
applications into the Blount program, there are certain qualities that he looks 
for in potential students.

“We look for students who have a curiosity,” he said. “We are also looking for students who have promise.”

Hornsby said the Blount program boasts about a 65 percent retention rate, with about 10 percent of students heading to medical school after graduation, 15 to 20 percent heading to law school and most heading to graduate school.

“We’ve had good success,” he said. “Our students, for the most part, get into the grad school they want to go to.”

Above all else, Hornsby said he believes the success of the program lies in the sense of community that is built among 
its students.

“We are a real community that makes your university experience 
transformative,” he said.

Amie Lemley, a senior majoring in interdisciplinary studies and a member of Blount, said her favorite part of the program was becoming close to other “Blountees” during the first year.

“One thing that I’ve always appreciated about Blount is that it fostered a community freshman year,” she said. “The friends that I made in Blount freshman year are still the people that I have lunch with and hang out with now.”

Lemley said even though the freshman foundations courses were difficult, she is grateful because they helped her to become a better student in her later years at the University.

“Freshman year is tough because you’re writing a two-page analysis paper every week,” she said. “But it hones your writing skills. It’s definitely made writing and literary analysis easier for my 
other classes.”

George McClure, a professor of history in the Blount program, said the intimate and rigorous nature of the program is what makes it most successful.

“This allows for a small college intimate experience within a large university,” McClure said.

He said the average freshman foundations course in the Blount program, which is a required course for all Blount students during their freshman year, has between 10 and 12 students, with two 
faculty members in each class.

“You’re not going to have a better teacher to student ratio anywhere in the nation,” McClure said.

He said although the freshman year course, which features a large amount of reading and writing, is rigorous and sometimes proves to be challenging for some students, the payoff from such an experience is ultimately extremely rewarding.

“I think it’s the best freshman 
experience on this campus by far,” he said.

McClure said one of the things that makes the program so great is that students are given the opportunity to dabble in various subjects during their freshman year course. Because of this, he said they are able to build a strong intellectual foundation in the very first year of their 
undergraduate studies.

“It is like a little liberal arts education pressed into one year,” McClure said. “Because it touches on so many fields in the freshman year, it’s a great sampler.”

McClure said he takes great pleasure in teaching in Blount because of the impact that the program has on its students.

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