First-year students at Gannon may be wondering what can help them ease into college classes, work and life in general. Gannon’s newest edition to the freshman program – called the “First-Year Experience,” is here to help.
But the First-Year Experience encompasses more than a single class or activity. Gerry Miele, director of new student services, said the First -Year Experience is a series of shared experiences that lay a foundation of success in and out of the classroom.
A main component of the First-Year Experience is the learning community found in the First-Year Seminar, which is linked with the liberal studies curriculum. The same students will be in both the First-Year Seminar and the class it coordinates with – a class that could be speech; sacred scriptures; philosophy; college composition; critical analysis and composition; or history of the west and world.
Freshman sport and exercise science/pre-physical therapy major Nikki Wolfe said having the same people in her First-Year Seminar and her public speaking class helped her build relationships. She added that her favorite part of the seminar was volunteering at Kid’s Café, an afterschool program helping city students.
“I know that Gannon has a great reputation,” Wolfe said, “and after volunteering with my first year seminar class, I feel like I am helping to keep the reputation.”
Other aspects of the First-Year Experience include activities hosted by university offices, including student services, the chaplain’s office and the student success center.
Events such as an ice cream social on A.J.’s Way, new student orientation and Preview G.U. also provide opportunities for students to become involved.
Mike Unger, a freshman international business major, said he found these events helpful.
“The ice cream social during Preview G.U. was nice,” he said, “and in general I think Preview G.U. is a good program.”
The First-Year Experience also offers ways for students to become academically accustomed to the university. Students will have a chance to meet with their academic adviser several times throughout their first semester.
Miele said this, along with the First-Year Seminar, helps students understand Gannon’s expectations for them and introduces them to the many resources on campus.
“The First-Year Experience is an opportunity to develop relationships with students, faculty and staff,” Miele said. “We want to assist students in making transitions and make them know they are valued by the university.”