Orientation Week Kicks Off New Academic Year
Alma College students can explore topics ranging from witch-hunts to biotechnology industries during this year’s First Year Seminars.
“The 25 seminars offer tremendous variety that first-year students can choose from,” says Assistant Provost Ann Hall. “There should be something to catch every student’s attention.”
Seminars begin on Aug. 28, with Orientation Week continuing through Sept. 3. Though most courses will continue throughout fall term, some will wrap up after the first seven weeks.
“Having the courses continue into fall term gives students a better idea of what it’s like to take a college course,” says Hall. “We hope that Orientation Week will provide a strong introduction to the college experience.”
Orientation Week opens with the New Student Convocation at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 28 in the Hogan Center. At last year's outdoor ceremony, students walk the faculty gauntlet.
To ensure that every first-year student has at least one course with close faculty interaction, seminars are capped at 16 students. For roughly half of the seminars, the instructor also serves as an academic advisor during their students’ first year.
“We want students to have the opportunity to really get to know their instructor and build a close relationship,” says Hall. “In addition, there are many co-curricular activities planned, which is especially important to help students make friends and get involved.”
During Orientation Week, on Aug. 30, 31, Sept. 2 and 3, students will spend about two hours in their First Year Seminar. Many faculty members also are planning experiential learning activities for Wednesday, Sept. 1. Several courses will be traveling on that day.
“For example, two classes are going to the Detroit Institute of Art while another class is going to Frankenmuth to study German culture,” says Hall. “There also are a couple of classes going to the law library at the University of Michigan. Other courses have service learning or on-campus activities planned. Many of the science classes will stay on campus to do intensive research in the lab as well.”
This year’s new student move-in day is Saturday, Aug. 28.
In order to get students comfortable living in Alma, discussions about how to navigate through college also will be addressed during seminar sessions.
“Many of our students are first-generation students who may or may not have a parent or older sibling who can tell them what to expect in college,” says Hall. “We want to help them as well as all other students make a positive adjustment, so they can get the most out of their college experience.”
In order to make that adjustment go as smoothly as possible, the Orientation Committee has assigned returning students to work with each seminar. They will act as a mentor to first-year students during Orientation Week.
“Current students are a great resource,” says Hall. “First year-students can ask them questions they might not feel comfortable asking a faculty member.”
First Year Seminars cross multiple academic subjects. This year’s offerings include “U.S. Health Care System, “Exploring World Music,” “Happiness and the Good Life,” “Flavor and Fragrance Chemistry,” “Everyday Law,” “Science and Crime Literature,” “Culture and Civilization in Germany,” “Forensic Psychology,” “Witch Hunts-Early Modern Europe” and more.
Posted: Tue, August 17th, 2010 at 4:50PM