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)
Life & Leadership
All first year students 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.
Monday Seminar Series
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, Bystander Intervention, Discovering Your Passion/Vocation, What to Know about Drinking, Suicide Prevention, Healthy Eating Decisions, Dating and Sexuality, and Stress & Depression.
Freshman Service Project
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 Services. Engaging in service to the community is one of the ways we practice our mission of developing Christian leaders. This year we will be partnering with our “neighbors”, non-profits along the RR 620 corridor, to help them with a variety of needs in their own ministries. Past projects have included clean up at Emma Long Parkand various other projects with the City of Austin.
Freshman Common Reading
For Concordia University Texas, the common reading experience is about having new 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. Throughout the semester, the themes of the book are woven into Service Learning projects, other coursework, and/or drama production in order to have a diversity of perspectives about the reading. 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: Outcasts United:The Story of a Refugee Soccer Team that Changed a Town by Warren St. John
2012 Common Reading: Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
2013 Common Reading: Not for Sale: The Return of the Global Slave Trade and How we Can Fight it by David Batstone
2014 Common Reading: Picking Cotton: Our Memoir of Injustice and Redemption by Jennifer Thompson-Cannino, Ronald Cotton and Erin Torneo
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 from the Concordia Success Center in learning about themselves, best practices in studying, and monitoring their performance throughout the semester.
The Concordia First Year Experience Team
Dr. Liz Medina, Dean of Students
Dr. Kristi Kirk, Vice Provost of Enrollment and Student Services
Professor Gary Belcher, Executive Vice President
Dr. Erik Green, Communication Faculty and Coordinator of Life & Leadership
KC Pospisil, Direcctor of Student Central