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Variety of events, activities offered fun first experiences for new class of freshmen

Aug. 25, 2012 @ 11:25 PM

HUNTINGTON -- Freshmen students began arriving on campus Wednesday and were greeted by a variety of social activities as part of Marshall University's annual Week of Welcome event.

The week also marks the beginning of two programs designed specifically for freshmen -- Uni 100 and FYS 100.

Uni 100: Freshmen First Class is a recommended course designed to help students acclimate to campus life. FYS 100 (First Year Seminar) students will be encouraged to develop intentional critical thinking skills. Students will learn these through research, discussion and problem solving. About half of freshmen students will take FYS during the fall term and the other half will take it in the spring session.

"Attending the Week of Welcome actually counts as academic credit for the Uni 100," said Corley Dennison, associate vice president of Academic Affairs.

Six academic sessions took place last week as well as a presentation on why students can benefit from the FYS class.

Over the course of the Week of Welcome students were given sessions on a variety of topics including diversity, career opportunities, campus safety, Title IX and campus policies.

"Uni 100 and First Year Seminar are relatively new courses," Dennison said. "We started them both about three years ago to replace the old Uni 101 class. Uni 100 is closer to the old Uni 101 class as it's designed to introduce students to campus life. It is a seven week long course. After the intro week, students will meet once a week with their facilitator for seven weeks. In future weeks we will have sessions on pre-registration, university traditions, library resources, career services and financial responsibility. Though it is not required, it is highly recommended."

Dennison said the two courses were created to help with retention.

"We believe it's important to give students the opportunity to transfer to campus," Dennison said. "National studies have shown that offering a freshmen seminar class and offering a transition class like Uni 100 are important in helping freshmen transfer from high school to college. Something we are doing differently this year is that some of the Uni 100 sessions will have a video element to them. That way we will know that the students in different sessions will receive the same information."

The FYS program focuses on the first year and critical thinking.

"The idea behind it is that faculty members from across different disciplines teach different students," Dennison said. "The classes are not major specific. It is possible that a teacher from engineering can have students from journalism, nursing and liberal arts in the classroom. The idea behind the class is to get students to think critically about what they see and read. Students try to learn the message behind the message and not just take things like political commercials at face value. We want them to think critically about what they see in the news and books that they read."

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