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. Leadership & Diversity
  2. Connection to Institution
  3. Personal Reflection

This course is led by a variety of faculty and staff who each have a passion for learning, helping students and teaching leadership. Additionally, every freshmen section of Life & Leadership has a student peer leader helping lead the course and serve as a connection point for our incoming students. Our goal is to limit each class section to 20 students and each class is connected to a CTX Tradition Team.

FYE Freshman Experiences

In conjunction with the Life & Leadership course, all incoming freshmen attend experiences throughout the semester that highlight various aspects of campus, personal growth, liberal arts learning, and general college information. These seminars are designed to help students be successful as they embark and journey through their first semester at Concordia University Texas. Previous years' topics have included conversations about diversity, equity, and inclusion; the value of a Liberal Arts education; Common Reader book discussions; intentional advising sessions; career planning; and much, much more.

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 Student Affairs.

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 Environmental Stewardship on projects at CTX.

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.

  • 2017: The Circle by Dave Eggers
  • 2018: The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
  • 2019: Every Story Matters: Reflections of 10 Years of CTX Common Readers (anthology of short selections from each of the previous common reader selections)
  • 2020:  A Dream Called Home by Reyna Grande

The Concordia First-Year Experience Team

Should you have any questions, comments, suggestions or concerns, please feel free to contact a member of the FYE team.

  • Dr. Elizabeth Medina, Vice President for Student Affairs/Chief Diversity Officer
  • Dr. Prairie Burgess, Leadership Series Program Chair
  • Michael Burch, Director of Student Activities
  • Dr. Jeffrey Utzinger, Dean of Teaching
  • Martha Compton, Dean of Students
  • Estrellita Longoria, Director of Residential Living
  • Patricia Fick, Director of Student Ministry & Missions
  • Andrea McDonald, Administrative Assistant for Campus Ministry & Student Ministry & Missions
  • Nick Mims, Athletics
  • Alex Walker, Social Media