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Question 5

Does our current orientation program meet the needs of first year students?


Instead of having the orientation days focusing on a random group of first year students thrown together, the orientation days should be more focused on floor bonding or with the people in your residence halls.

When I was a first year student, I hated being singled out as a first year student. I wanted to be a member of the campus community, not constantly reminded that I was new to college. Once orientation was over, I was glad that there were not special events especially because I was new. I think orientation should have events that include not only activities for new students, but also activities that include upperclassmen and even faculty so one can become acquainted with them as well.

I think it is really vital to give students a clearly articulated list of expectations during orientation. Too many students think that attending class is optional, that due dates are only suggestions, and that family vacations or weddings are excused absences.

To my mind, we need to urge students to view their education as their job. If an employee didn't come to work for a week and turned in a report two weeks late, how would her boss react?

The orientation program is the ideal time to let students know that professors and UMM have certain expectations of them.

Although the two previous comments may be insightful, I have to ask: did you folks even read the question?!? It asks "Does our current orientation program meet the needs of first year students?". We are (or at least should be) discussing new student orientation. Please see the previous questions on this blog in order to comment on our current FYS program.

I have asked many students informally about their courses, and thus far I have yet to find a student who has said that first year seminar was a worthwhile experience. The universal response I hear from students is disturbing. Either something is wrong with the fundamental design of the program or the student expectations are off base, or BOTH.

I would hope that students would be sufficiently challenged academically and gain an appreciation for informal discussion based learning. I have not taught FYI and do not have direct experience with or a solution to this problem, but there is a problem. Perhaps a small discussion class consisting of 10 freshmen (unaccustomed to such learning modes) would benefit from a few upper classmen to help "seed" classroom conversations.

Aside from student development one thing that could have more time devoted to it is Academic Planning- in particular a session using the Graduation Planner tool.