…with new pilot program
With another new fall semester on the horizon, the Gustie Greeters charge up the hill, enthusiastically welcoming the new first-year students to campus. This time around, however, they bring with them some changes to the program.
In an experimental pilot program, four of the First Term Seminars (FTS) will consist of four Greeter Groups, as opposed to previously random assignments. In addition, the four Greeters will attend classes with their new students once to twice a week throughout the fall semester.
“While the majority of the Greeter groups will remain the same, these four experimental groups will act as more of an academic role model and a liaison with the FTS professor,” Senior Gustie Greeter Coordinator Kristen Campbell said.
The changes were prompted from a full program review which took place last year.
Looking for a way to extend the orientation experience, a collaborative effort between Director of Student Activities Megan Ruble and new Director of the First Term Seminar Program Kate Knutson resulted in the implementation of this idea, which had been previously considered in the past due to its success at other institutions.
“Our goal is that the freshmen students have a strong relationship with the Greeters, and that it will make the in-class and out of class experiences more seamless,” Ruble said.
The FTS classes are designed to meet between 3-4 hours a week. While the majority of this time will be spent on the content of the class, a portion of it is seen as a transitional time, where the Greeter will play a greater role in helping the new students make connections in the classroom and across campus.
Professors Sarah Ruble, Sean Cobb, Scott Bur and Aaron Banks have volunteered to participate with the Greeters in the new FTS changes.
“It’s up to the professors to make it what they want. The Greeters are excited to make the groups more connected and to work with these new dynamics,” Campbell said.
The four seniors volunteering in the trial program are experienced, third-year Greeters. Each Greeter will work one-on-one with an FTS professor meaning each of the Greeter Group experiences will differ in this experimental trial.
Senior Greeter Sarah Lucht will work with Chemistry Professor Scott Bur in the Science and Religion FTS.
“First Term Seminars focus on transitioning the freshmen into the academic side of their first year, while the Greeters work more generally to welcome students to class. We’re hoping to enhance the experience of both,” Lucht said.
“As a third-year Greeter, it’ll be an interesting experience in the sense that we’ll have a very concrete relationship with our Greetees. This time, we’ll have students who choose to be in this specific class so we’ll see how we can foster their relationships,” Lucht said.
“I think the four Greeters will play an even more present role for their students. A lot of past Greeters struggle to pull their groups together throughout the semester. These relationships will be developed more easily just by virtue of spending this time in class together,” Ruble said.