HPU First Year Seminar Provides Freshmen With Tools They Need To Succeed In College

HIGH POINT, N.C., Sept. 9, 2009 ? High Point University hopes to help first-year students make a smooth transition from high school to college with its new course, the First Year Seminar.
The seminar, a keystone of HPU’s Academic Planning Committee’s new core curriculum (to be fully implemented in 2010), is designed to facilitate the students’ transition from high school learners to university scholars.
Dr. Matthew Schneider, chair of the First Year Seminar Committee and chair of the English Department, explains that the seminar will engage students in the close analysis of primary texts and sources, and emphasize experiential learning.
“Our aim in the program is to provide new college students with examples of the benefits of searching curiosity, sophisticated intellectual inquiry and life-long learning,” Schneider says.
The First Year Seminar not only immerses students in learning experiences that cover a wide range of knowledge and touch on more than one discipline, but also shows first-year students how to closely read and analyze primary sources, conduct research and evaluate data and evidence – all essential tools that help students succeed during their college years.
Students are also engaged in activities both inside and outside of the classroom. Lectures and information-retention examinations are minimized, and instead, activities that encourage students to inquire into issues and problems are applied. Students also develop and refine writing, speaking and presentation skills during the seminar, and are also given a great deal of practice in critical thinking skills.
“Many colleges and universities have introduced first-year seminars in recent years,” Schneider says. “UNC Chapel Hill, Gettysburg College, Oberlin College, The College of Wooster and Duke University all have FYS programs. FYS is an extremely exciting trend in higher education, and will go a long way toward distinguishing our university as a center of cutting-edge intellectual activity.”
At High Point University, every student receives an extraordinary education in a fun environment with caring people. HPU, located in the Piedmont Triad region of North Carolina, is a liberal arts institution with 3,700 undergraduate and graduate students from 50 countries and 44 states at campuses in High Point and Winston-Salem. It is ranked by US News and World Report No. 5 among comprehensive universities in the South and No. 1 in its category among up-and-coming schools. Forbes.com ranks HPU in the top 6 percent among “America’s Best Colleges.” HPU was included in The Chronicle of Higher Education’s “Great Colleges to Work For” 2009 listings. The university offers 68 undergraduate majors, 40 undergraduate minors and seven graduate degree programs. It is accredited by the Commission of Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, and is a member of the NCAA, Division I and the Big South Conference. Visit High Point University on the Web at http://www.highpoint.edu/.

Chris DudleyVice President for Administration336-841-4530cdudley@highpoint.edu

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