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Study Group Survey Results Are In!

Dean’s Update, March 2023

Our Study Group Survey Results Are In!

Catie Cadge
Blessings on the March equinox, FCEA community! Vernal equinox here in the Northern Hemisphere starts a new cycle of life, new beginnings. Astrologers call the day of the Sun’s entrance into Aries “International Astrology Day.” Can you think of a better New Year for all of us to share!?
Claim some Aries fire and initiative, and have courage in yourself and your direction, and your flower will open, as Steven likes to tell us. Well, some of the Aries spark for the FCEA involves planting new seeds and working our soil with new goals and aspirations. The equinox on March 20th occurs at 2:24 pm Pacific time at 00°0’ Aries in the school’s 11th house, conjunct Chiron, in the FCEA birthchart. Welcome to spring! And to our Southern Hemisphere students, love to you in the new season.
Reassessing the format and future of the FCEA study group calls is one seed we hope to plant in the weeks ahead. We are so grateful for the student feedback we received from you through our recent survey. The results are so helpful as we strive to improve our current Zoom calls and also discuss and consider options for change. Thank YOU for your participation and sharing your thoughts! I also want to thank our tutor, Patty Morris-Stebbins, and our registrar, Penelope Love, for creating and implementing the Study Group call survey. Great job, Patty and Penelope!
I’d like to share with you a summary of the survey results. Students who responded were roughly split between the apprentice, 100-level, and the craftsperson, 200-level, groups. Let’s start with what seems to be working for students: length of the calls, Tuesday as a meetup day and the time of day we currently schedule all received the most positive feedback in comparison to other dates and time options.
In addition, students were asked about whether they preferred the current format for our study group calls and by far the majority liked the set up as it is. Only 16.7% commented that they did not like the current format. So, this is good news!
Most students prefer chart interpretation in small groups (breakout rooms) and a brief tutor-led Q and A when call participants reconvene or within the breakout room itself. This again reinforces that the current study groups are working well, given this is the structure we now have in place. Most pleasing for me to read was how so many students appreciate the sense of community the study group calls provide and the connections they make with their peers.
The area students express a need for improvement is having a tutor consistently in the breakout rooms. Unfortunately, we have limited staff to work these calls. And though we strive to have some tutor availability as much as possible in each room, we are not able to accommodate students this way in the current structure. Read on and you will see our suggestion for change.

So how do we now till our soil and plant our Aries “seed” into fresh directions?
Clearly, the current format is working, but we are growing as a school and cannot maintain this structure as we expand in size. We welcome growth! But how best to move ahead? We are currently implementing a new social platform, Circle, to partly cover our needs. But live interaction with tutor-led Q and A requires a lab.
Late last year, we began offering 101-Z, a lab class to accommodate 100-level students who preferred live interaction and Q and A with a tutor. A 201-Z will be the next step. This would provide a similar focused tutor-led cohort for advanced study. The additional tuition for these lab sections would allow us to support the on-going tutor Zoom interaction some students want. (Please note: Z courses are not currently listed in the Course Catalog; registration information is provided during our guided course orientations.) In the meantime, study group calls will be used primarily as a form of social engagement, following the original intention of the calls. Q and A with instruction will continue to occur on monthly calls with our master teacher Steven Forrest and through the 101-Z and 201-Z labs.
Slowly we plan to implement these changes, developing our Circle community and opening a 201-Z lab by summer, 2023. Look for these new developments in the months ahead. Equinox joy to all!
Catie Cadge, PhD
March 2023