First Class All the Way!

October, 2005

FirstClassThis summer, future first-year students who attended PSU orientation sessions not only toured the campus, met fellow classmates and learned what to expect from roommates, dining hall meal plans and life away from home—they also got a first taste of academics at the University through a faculty-led seminar called “First Class.”

Thirty-two faculty members from various academic departments participated in First Class, which provided future students with an introduction to academic life. The program, which began this summer and was coordinated by psychology professor David Zehr, was designed to give faculty a more integral role in the orientation process, help students make connections with professors and eliminate myths about university academics.

Students felt relieved to find out that their hopes and concerns were similar to those of other students, Zehr explained.

Every student who attended orientation this summer was assigned to a University professor and attended a First Class seminar with 12 to 18 other students. During the 45-minute session, professors and students discussed classroom expectations, academic life and some of the differences between high school and college classes. As intended, the class sent a strong message to students that Plymouth State professors are approachable, supportive and committed to students’ academic success.

First Class faculty members also met with parents during a morning social to answer questions and address their own fears, hopes and concerns. In his role as faculty coordinator for Orientation, Zehr also spoke to students and parents about PSU’s new general education program.

Students who attended the academic orientation session left First Class with an invaluable resource: a Plymouth State University professor willing to keep in contact with them regarding any future academic concerns.

Participating professors were Dan Moore, Brad Allen and Lisa Lindgren (business); Mark Fischler and David Mackey (criminal justice); Kristen Greene, Robert Miller, Mary Cornish, Maryanne True, Gerry Buteau, Trish Lindberg, Valerie Smith, Marcel Lebrun and Patricia Cantor (education); Becky Noel, Whitney Howarth and Marcia Schmidt-Blaine (social science); Kerry Yurewicz (biological sciences); Linda Levy, Deborah John and Barbara McCahan (health and human performance); Bonnie Epstein and Robin DeRosa (English); Kylo-Patrick Hart (communication); Richard Hunnewell (art); Wendy Palmquist (psychology); Kathleen Arecchi, Elizabeth Cox, Jonathan Santore (music, theatre, and dance); Cathy LeBlanc and Evelyn Stiller, (computer science and technology); and Alice Staples (Lamson Library). —Kristin Proulx Jarvis

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