New student orientation changes will allow incoming students a better connection to DePauw

345

DePauw University’s class of 2021 will arrive on campus a day earlier this fall for new student orientation, with three courses already chosen for their schedule.

A document was sent out to faculty and staff announcing how the first-year student orientation will look this fall. It highlights six key changes that include a Friday move in day, changes in meeting times for faculty and staff, a session to read essays written over the summer by the first years based on their readings, the course requests for first year students and a community wide convocation on the Tuesday before classes start.

First-year dean, Cara Setchell, heads the transition team, which has been improving the orientation program. “We want the incoming students to feel more connected to DePauw over the summer,whether that be for academics or knowing our values as an institution” Setchell said.

Incoming first-year students will be able to pick three of their four courses over the summer. One of the courses they pick will be their first-year seminar and the other two courses will be their choice. “When students arrive on campus in the fall for orientation, they will meet with their advisor and choose a course that will balance the schedule they already have,” Setchell said.

Freshman, Julia Reinke, is happy to hear that students will have part of their schedule over the summer. “I didn’t feel like I had much time to know what to sign up for,” Reinke said, “it would have made the transition easier for me.”

The Friday move-in day will allow for more sessions that highlight what DePauw’s values and beliefs are as an institution without crowding and already crowded schedule. “We want to make certain that we establish our values at DePauw and what we believe in earlier,” President, Mark McCoy said, “essentially, from the minute new students step on campus we went them to know who we are.”

Setchell looks at feedback from the current first-year class and looks to change orientation based off of the feedback. “For the last few years, one of the consistent things we have heard from students is that orientation was too busy,” said Setchell, “so in order for us to give more time to students, we decided to make orientation a day longer.”

Freshman, Ali Pugh, said her favorite part about orientation was that it felt like camp. “I liked it because I was always with my mentor group and I was getting to know more people,” said Pugh, “I wish I had more free time because some of the things we talked about were heavy and I felt like I was constantly on the go.”

Faculty and staff will have the option of which day they would like to attend their faculty and staff institute. Faculty members that wish to assist with move-in day can attend faculty and staff institute on Thursday but the faculty members that wish to attend on Friday still have that option available to them.

In a new tradition, an academic convocation is being planned. “The goal for the new academic convocation and picnic is to bring the entire DePauw community together,” Setchell said. The convocation will take place Tuesday, Aug. 22 at the end of orientation week.