Preterm, Seminars Prepare Students for Academic Life
The week of Preterm at Alma College is a chance for first-year students to bond with classmates, get to know campus and study a fun topic.
Preterm 2009 begins Saturday, Aug. 29 with the arrival of more than 400 new students. They will be formally welcomed to Alma College at the new student convocation at 2:30 p.m. on the lawn of the Remick Heritage Center. Then they embark on a weeklong schedule of Preterm classes, organized events and social activities designed to help them adjust to life on campus.
The weeklong Preterm classes vary in topic. Some are introductions, like Mark Seals’ “Exploring Teaching” or Greg Baleja’s “Advertising and Promotion.” Others explore a particular area, like Murray Borrello’s “Global Environmental Issues” or Tom Ealey’s “Business Ethics.”
The Welcome Convocation for new students on the lawn of the Remick Heritage Center kicks off Preterm. This year's convocation takes place at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 29.
Still others give first-year students a chance to develop study skills like Peggy Thelen’s “Making the Most of the Next Four Years” or Timm Thorsen’s “Time and Life Management.” Biology Professor Kay Grimnes’ “Haiku Exploration” or Exercise and Health Science Professor Maurie Luetkemeier’s “Drum Therapy” allow students to see that Alma faculty engage in interests outside their fields.
Every new student at Alma also will be enrolled in a First Year Seminar, a new general education requirement in which students study a topic with their peers for an entire semester. Full-time faculty members teach the seminars in small classes capped at 17.
“The seminars are designed to be typical classes but illustrate the breadth of the liberal arts,” says Marc Setterlund, associate provost. “The literature on student success suggests that having students connect this early with a full-time faculty member in a small class is important in their future success.”
First Year Seminar topics are varied, from “Food, Culture and Identity” to “Witch Hunts in Early Modern Europe” to “Emerging Diseases.” Four faculty members are teaching Honors seminars on “Happiness and the Good Life.”
“’Embryonic Defects’ is an introduction to things that can go wrong during the delicate process of developing into a functional human being,” says Grimnes. “I think it will be a great way to integrate multiple teaching and learning techniques with an engaging topic that is often sensationalized in the media.”
Most seminars will offer practical preparation for college life.
“I want to teach a first-year seminar to help students prepare themselves more efficiently and thoroughly for the rigors of academic life,” says Dana Aspinall, assistant professor of English. “I will design my section to include discussions and practical applications of such matters as reading, note-taking, writing, discussing, and especially critical thinking, and center these discussions applications on a particular subject: the Beat poets and their influence on the music of the 1960s, most notably Bob Dylan's.”
Returning students arrive for the official first day of classes on Tuesday, Sept. 8.
Posted: Wed, August 19th, 2009 at 8:14AM