June 20, 2024

UMW Launches Robust First-Year Program

The University of Mary Washington will launch a comprehensive new program for the freshman class beginning in fall 2015.   class 08 (1)The program will feature residential clustering for first-year seminars, comprehensive advising and the university’s second-ever common book. Incoming students will be able to choose a required first-year seminar and housing assignments once deposits are paid. Residential clustering will allow students to live with their peers in their first-year seminars, creating a community that combines living and learning to enhance their academic experience. UMW will offer more than 60 first-year seminars on topics ranging from game theory to Jane Austen. “First-year seminars are proven to engage students” said Tim O’Donnell, associate provost for academic engagement and student success. “Our studies show that students who participate in a first-year seminar have higher GPA’s at the end of their first year and are more likely to return for a second year at Mary Washington.” More than the proven results, the new program enhances the overall student experience during the first year. “It brings together the best of both worlds at Mary Washington,” said Douglas Searcy, vice president for student affairs. “Combining the out-of-class experience and the in-class experience is proven to increase student learning and will simply help first-year students have a better, seamless learning experience.” The comprehensive advising program will provides a support network that consists of the student’s first year seminar faculty, a professional advisor and a peer mentor. In addition, each student will receive a copy of Rebecca Skloot’s New York Times Bestseller The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks with a reading and writing assignment to prepare for August orientation programming and discussions. The following semester, Skloot will visit the university as a guest speaker for the 2016 Chappell Great Lives Lecture Series. For the full list of first-year seminars, visit http://academics.umw.edu/fsem/.

Cultivating Collaboration

Living-learning communities are a unique way for first-year students to become involved on campus.