Orientation Helps Students Transition to College
Studying a single topic during First Year Seminars helps introduce Alma College’s incoming freshman class to the campus community.
Seminars begin on Monday, Aug. 27 during Orientation Week. While seminar topics range from everyday law to science and crime literature, all of the seminars have a common thread, says Assistant Provost Julie Williams.
“The content covered in each seminar assists students as they transition to college,” she says. “This means they do things like utilize the library to conduct research and complete an assignment. They also become familiar with other resources on campus through in-class presentations by staff members.”
New students move into their residence halls.
Most seminars last the full term of 14 weeks. A number of them this year are co-taught by two faculty members. Williams says this new trend aligns perfectly with Alma’s liberal arts instruction.
“There are two sections of Performance at Alma, and though the faculty members co-teaching come from very different backgrounds — theatre and integrative physiology and health science — they can use the same strategies to help students succeed in performance,” she says. “Through this multi-disciplinary focus, we hope to introduce students to critical thinking.”
New students walk through the faculty gauntlet following the Welcome Convocation in the Hogan Center.
In addition to adjusting to college, Williams says first-year students have the opportunity to go beyond the classroom. Wednesday of Orientation Week is dedicated to seminar projects, so some seminar classes have travel plans.
“There are classes going to a variety of locations, including the Detroit Institute of Art, the Grand Rapids Public Museum, and Gerald Ford Museum,” she says. “Eight classes also will be staying on campus to complete Catalyst leadership training, which is a new addition to the schedule this year.”
Orientation Week’s theme of “Explorientation: Around the World in Seven Days” means first-year students explore campus through craft wars, swing dancing and picnics. Williams says through events like Traditions Dinner, they also will learn what it means to be a True Scot.
“Alma has been designated as a holding place of a tartan stone, so the Scottish Arts Society is hosting a dedication during the dinner,” she says. “Students get to hear bagpipes and see highland dancers for the first time. They learn about what makes Alma unique.”
Posted: Wed, August 22nd, 2012 at 4:23PM