The Freshman Connections program supports a modified learning community experience for first-year students during their fall semester at Ball State. All first-year students have the opportunity to participate in the campus’ living-learning communities, including commuters. The learning communities include new students, faculty, residence hall directors, academic advisors, professional staff, and upperclass student mentors.
How is a student placed in a living-learning community?
On the second day of summer orientation, students sign up for selected University Core Curriculum (UCC) courses available only for those students assigned to a particular residence unit or for those who choose to commute to campus. Students are able to sign up for one, two, or even three UCC courses depending on class space available. Can you give me an example of a living-learning community? Sure. For instance, 300 of 3,500 first-year students might be assigned to Woodworth Complex where eight core curriculum courses are assigned. A large history class might have 100 of its 224 students living together in Woodworth Complex. Or 100 might be taking an English class with four faculty members who work together to establish shared activities that support ideas covered in class. Or 100 students might be taking both the history and English classes, again with faculty working with residence hall staff to connect ideas from the classroom to activities outside the classroom. What programs does Freshman Connections sponsor? Freshman Connections overall sponsors the Freshman Common Reader and Writing Experience and builds a series of fall semester events (speakers, panel discussions, movies, receptions) around the book selected. Some events are cosponsored by such other community and university organizations as Indiana Public Radio. Can you describe further what students gain from Freshman Connections? The purpose of Freshman Connections is to help new students more quickly and more fully integrate into our learning community at Ball State. Our central purpose is learning.
In a recent summary report on student engagement and retention in postsecondary education, "interaction with faculty positively affected reading comprehension, critical thinking, openness to diversity, and internal attribution of academic success, [while] interaction with peers has a positive effect on mathematics knowledge, openness to diversity, learning for self-understanding, and preference for higher-order cognitive tasks."
From the start, Freshman Connections has taken the approach that with increased learning (i.e., inside/outside of class, between students and faculty members, and among students themselves), increased persistence, retention, and graduation rates follow. How do I find out more? Easy. You can either browse our site for information on current teams, programming, and structure, or e-mail your question or request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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