PHONE: (313) 593-5518
DATE: August 1, 2003
UM-Dearborn will kick off new academic year with first-ever
DEARBORN---This fall's new freshman students at the University of Michigan-Dearborn
will be welcomed to campus with a daylong series of events designed to
initiate them into the academic life.
The student-success workshops and Freshman Convocation will be held Sept.
3, the day before classes begin, and will include community-building experiences
and seminars with faculty and students to learn about strategies for academic
success in college.
A formal convocation ceremony in the Fieldhouse will be the centerpiece
of the day, followed by an ice cream social for new students, their parents,
and participating faculty and staff. The ceremony will begin at 1:30 p.m.
and include a procession of faculty members and new students, music from
a brass ensemble and remarks by Chancellor Daniel Little.
"The purpose of the Freshman Convocation is to introduce students
to the educational values and academic expectations of UM-Dearborn,"
according to Donna L. McKinley, vice chancellor for student affairs. "By
conducting the convocation in the formal style used in commencement, we
hope to inspire our new students to view their first day of classes as
the beginning of a process worthy of their full engagement."
More than 800 first-year students are expected to enroll on campus this
fall, and the Freshman Convocation has been designed to immerse them in
the life and culture of the campus from their first day here.
"We know that the key to retention of students is to get them engaged
with people on campus, especially with faculty members and other students,"
McKinley said. "That's a challenge for any college, and especially
for a commuter campus, so this program is one way to get new students
connected to the campus. It is also reflective of Chancellor Little's
interest in enhancing our sense of community and tradition on campus."
When they arrive on campus at the beginning of the day, the freshman
students will participate in "Operation Adventure." That will
be followed by seminars designed to help the new students make the transition
from high school to college. A faculty member will address "What
do faculty expect?" and a student panel will discuss "What I
wish I'd known."
At a picnic lunch, tables will be identified by academic majors, so new
students can meet faculty members and other students interested in the
Katie Anderson-Levitt, professor of anthropology and interim dean of the College of Arts, Sciences, and Letters at UM-Dearborn, is a strong supporter of the program. "Rituals are more powerful than you might think," she said. "The procession and a few brief talks give us the chance to impress on students that this is not high school: a different kind of learning is expected. Such occasions also permit faculty members to reflect as a group on why we are here, and give us a little boost for the work ahead."