CONCORDIA’S FIRST YEAR EXPERIENCE…for first-year freshmen
The First Year Experience (FYE) at Concordia University Texas is primarily geared toward those students who are first-year freshmen in the traditional programs. Making the move from high school to college brings with it many challenges and opportunities…it is a time for changes, growth and reflection. The FYE program is designed to help students through this transition in multiple ways, with a focus on helping them discover and understand their identities as uniquely created children of God.
Concordia’s FYE program is based on best practices as researched and identified in the following books:
Student Success in College by George Kuh, Lillian Kinzie, John Schuh, Elizabeth Whitt and Associates (Jossey-Bass, 2005)
Challenging and Supporting the First-Year Student by M. Lee Upcraft, John Gardner, Betsy Barefoot and Associates (Jossey-Bass, 2005)
Millennials Go to College by Neil Howe and William Strauss (Life Course, 2007)
My Freshman Year: What a Professor Learned by Becoming a Student by Rebekah Nathan (Cornell University Press, 2005)
All first year freshmen in the traditional programs are required to take this one-hour credit course which focuses on three outcomes: 1) students making a successful transition from high school to college; 2) students becoming lifelong learners; and 3) students understanding what it means to be a Christian leader. This course is led by a variety of faculty and staff who each have a passion for learning, a passion for students, and a passion for teaching leadership. No more than 16 students are allowed into any one section.
As a part of the Life & Leadership course, all freshmen are required to attend the Monday Seminar series, held at the same time as their Life & Leadership classes. Each week a speaker addresses an issue or concern that will help our students make the transition from high school to college – and become a lifelong learner. Topics this past year included What it Means to Learn at a Lutheran University, Financial Well Being, Islamic Culture, What to Know about Drinking, Suicide Prevention, Healthy Eating Decisions, Dating and Sexuality, and Stress & Depression.
As a part of the Week of Welcome, (held prior to the start of classes) all freshmen are involved in a service project which is sponsored by Concordia’s Service-Learning and Student Affairs. Engaging in service to the community is one of the ways we practice our mission of developing Christian leaders. Past projects have included clean up at Emma Long Park in which over 200 students painted benches, picked up garbage, repaired trails, built a berm, refreshed sand volleyball pits, cleared away brush, and rebuilt the shoreline. This partnership with Austin City Parks and Recreation has been a blessing to the city, saving them more than $10,000 each year.
For Concordia University Texas, the common reading experience is about having students engage in an academic process from the first day they step on campus. The common text is chosen to reflect different themes that are important to the University and the life of our students. After students read the book prior to coming to campus, they attend a symposium which highlights different aspects of the text, and then meet with a small group of students and an instructor who lead them through an in-depth discussion. The book is used as a reference during the fall Life & Leadership class, and forms the basis for different activities on campus throughout the semester.
2009 Common Reading: Saints at the River by Ron Rash
2010 Common Reading: The Kite Runner by Kahled Hosseini
2011 Common Reading: To Be Determined
Each new freshman student is required to pass a Library Literacy Assessment which was developed by the library staff of Concordia University Texas. This on-line assessment was developed to understand what students know coming in as freshmen in regard to using the library and its information tools to do research and write papers. Students who do not pass the assessment must attend a 90 minute session with the research librarian after which time they will retake the exam.
The top 10% of the freshman class is invited to partake in this co-curricular learning activity, in which students engage with faculty in readings and discussions on a weekly basis. The Honors Colloquium was developed as a result of wanting to engage students who showed an affinity to learning and wanted to be involved with their peers in a deeper and more sustained level of thinking and dialogue. This group meets once a week, at the same time their Life & Leadership courses are offered.
Students who enter Concordia on a provisional status are required to be a part of Developing Scholars, a once-a-week session in which learning habits are learned and practiced. Students work with staff form the Concordia Success Center in learning about themselves, best practices in studying, and monitoring their performance throughout the semester.
Dr. Richard Powers, Director of Student Life
Dr. Donald Christian, Dean College of Business
Professor Kristi Kirk, Associate Provost of Student Services
Professor Gary Belcher, Vice President of Assessment
Professor Cari Chittick, Professor of Education