First-Year Experience

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-time, first-year freshmen.

Making the move from high school to college brings with it many challenges and opportunities. It is a time for change, 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)

The Experience

Life & Leadership

All first-year students are required to take this one-credit course that focuses on three outcomes:

  1. Students making a successful transition from high school to college
  2. Students becoming lifelong learners
  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, helping students and teaching leadership. Each Life & Leadership class will have no more than 16 students.

Monday Seminar Series

As part of Life & Leadership, all freshmen are required to attend the Monday Seminar series, held at the same time as the class.

Each week, a speaker addresses an issue or concern that will help our students make the transition from high school to college and become lifelong learners.

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.

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 that 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 to empower students of all backgrounds to lead lives of critical thought, compassionate action and courageous leadership.

This year, we will be partnering with our non-profit neighbors along the RR 620 corridor, to help them with a variety of needs in their ministries. Past projects have included clean up at Emma Long Park and various other projects with the City of Austin.

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 that highlights different aspects of the text and then meet each other. Throughout the semester, the themes of the book are woven into Service-Learning projects, other coursework and/or drama productions in order to have a diversity of perspectives about the book.

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
  • 2015 Common Reading: Spare Parts: Four Undocumented Teenagers, One Ugly Robot, and The Battle for the American Dream by Joshua Davis
  • 2016 Common Reading: A Sand County Almanac and Sketches Here and There by Aldo Leopold

The Concordia First-Year Experience Team

  • Dr. Kristi Kirk, Provost and Executive Vice President
  • Dr. Erik Green, Associate Professor for the College of Business & Communication
  • Dr. Elizabeth Medina, Vice President of Student Affairs and Chief Diversity Officer
  • KC Pospisil, Vice President of Academic Operations