Programs for FY Students

First Year Experience, UMW

 V.P. for Student Affairs – Doug Searcy

There are many ways in which this office supports the first-year experience of new students.  A few examples…

–          Coordination of the Orientation program for new students

–          Production of the Eagle Essentials booklet for mailing to new students (August and January)

–          Production of the Student Handbook

–          Maintaining the Orientation for New Students web site

–          Meeting new students at “Open House” and during Move-in and Orientation events

–          Coordinating Honor Convocation and honor training for new students in conjunction with Honor Council

–          Soliciting new students to participate on various University and Student Affairs committees

Academic Services –  Joanne Schrass

Works with First Year students contributing to their First Year Experience with the following:

–          Online survey to determine academic interests with reminder phone calls to students who do not participate.

–          Phone and email availability for student and parent assistance in first time registration.

–          First Year Advising, a program of 5 group and a minimum of 3 individual meetings with faculty First Year Advisors.  The program transitions students from high school to UMW.  The overarching goal of the program is to facilitate students bonding with abstract university through the person of their advisor.

–          Seminar for Academic Success that is open to all first time students in their second semester.  Students who go on probation after their first semester are targeted.

–          Offer several concurrent sessions during Orientation.

Campus Recreation –  Mark Mermelstein

Supports the First Year Experience Program:

–          Playfair – Support new student orientation through assistance with Playfair.

–          Club Carnival – Encourage engagement in the campus community through participation in the Eagle Sport clubs and IM Sports programs.

–          IM Sports Information Sessions – Encourage participation in the campus community and in a healthy lifestyle.

–          Campus Recreation SOAR Cup – Encourage active participation and sportsmanship through the IM Sports program.

–          Discovery Days – Support the Admissions Staff in the recruitment of quality students.

 Career Services Freshman Orientation

James Farmer Multicultural Center –  Marion Sanford

RISE Peer Mentoring Program

–          The Resources Inspiring Student Excellence (RISE) Peer Mentoring Program is designed to provide a connection for first-year, underrepresented students in their transition to the UMW community by providing support and resources to increase their success and engagement with the university.

–          Responsibilities include:  bi-weekly contact with mentors, one group activity once a month, attend at least two university-wide programs per semester, participation in an end-of-semester assessment both terms.

Office of Judicial Affairs and Community Responsibility – Ray Tuttle


–          Students are introduced to the concept that UMW is a community, and that the UMW community, like any other, has standards of behavior. These standards are UMW’s Code of Conduct. First-year students are educated during orientation sessions about the Code of Conduct, and about how alleged violations of the Code of Conduct are reported and adjudicated. OJACR and the Judicial Review Board (JRB) educate students about the judicial process. During the same session, the Alcohol, Drug, and Sexual Misconduct Policies are presented and discussed. The latter policy is presented in collaboration with an off-campus presenter (Rappahannock Council Against Sexual Assault, RCASA) and on-campus presenters, (Student Anti-Violence Educators, SAVE; and Counseling and Psychological Services, CAPS).

Also, during orientation, we invite a health education speaker from Virginia Commonwealth University to speak to first-year students about alcohol, drugs, and sexual health. Dr. Linda Hancock’s presentations are framed around social norming, and use interactive technology to establish that most incoming students do not use marijuana, do not consume unsafe quantities of alcohol, and limit their number of sexual partners.  In this manner, healthy decision-making related to substance use and sexual activity are normalized and thereby encouraged.

Residence Hall Programming:

–          One popular program presented in several first-year residence halls each year is “Alcohol Jeopardy.” Based on the popular television game show, “Alcohol Jeopardy” is a game in which students compete for points by answering questions about alcohol. Students with the highest number of points at the end of the game are awarded a gift certificate to Giant. Also, SAVE presents programs about sexual consent in first-year residence halls, and educates students about resources available to them on- and off-campus, should they or a friend be a victim of sexual misconduct.

Residence Life –  Chris Porter

First Year Experience Program (FYE):

–          Generating Opportunities for Leadership Development Initiative

–          Participation is voluntary, encouraged to apply

–          Open to incoming freshmen and first year transfer students

–          Interest in participation is located on the Housing and Dining Contract

–          Coordinate Summer Open House Program for incoming students.

Student Activities – Steven Thomas

–          Orientation – UMW welcomes students to a community where their potential to succeed academically, socially, and personally – is maximized.  A cross section of educational, developmental, student support, and advising programs are presented to enhance the transition to university life.  Orientation is a vital part of a student’s transition to the University of Mary Washington community.  See Orientation schedule at: .

First year seminars

The FSEM committee developed the following learning objectives and learning outcomes.  this is the August 2011 version:

  1. The FSEM Learning Objectivesthat should go into the design of each course:
    1. Classes are discussion-based
    2. There is an emphasis on writing
    3. There is an emphasis on speaking
    4. Students are required to use primary sources
    5. Students must use research techniques appropriate to the topic

These objectives relate to the FSEM outcomes to be assessed:

  1. Students will engage in several writings assignments and become better writers.
  2. Students will engaged in numerous discussions, speaking assignments, and become better verbal communicators [public speakers]
  3. Students will make use of primary sources of information and have the opportunity to draw conclusions from the materials
  4. Students will utilize research techniques and conducted research relevant to the subject matter

Assessment of FSEMs will be done in the following manner:

  1. The Speaking Intensive Committee will collect data relevant to the effectiveness of the speaking components of FSEMs and will share this data with the FSEM Committee
  2. The Writing Intensive Committee will collect data relevant to the effectiveness of the writing components of FSEMs and will share this data with the FSEM Committee
  3. The FSEM Committee will collect data in the following manner:
    1. Syllabi of all FSEM courses being taught will be collected for each of the semesters in which they are taught; a sample of these will be assessed according to a rubric designed to score the numbers and types of assignments and class activities related to FSEM outcomes
    2. A survey will be conducted once per year [once each semester] to gage student assessment of the FSEM completed

Department / program orientations

Pre-law orientation

Pre-med, pre-dent orientation

Business majors orientation

Education interest orientation

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