the Welcome, Class of 2015! InsIde thIs Issue

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the

FYE

Journal

August 2011

InsIde thIs Issue

From the Director’s Chair ............ 2

QEP to FYE ............................... 3

Cat Camp .................................. 4

FYE Cabinet .............................. 5

EYE on FYE ............................... 6

Transition Pathways .................... 8

PEAKS ...................................... 9

The Future is Now .................... 10

Student Council ....................... 11

Welcome, Class of 2015!

Glenda Hensley –

Director of First Year Experience

Welcome to the WCU community! There are so many opportunities ahead for you as you begin this exciting chapter in your life. You are going to make new friends with whom you will share wonderful experiences – in the classroom and out of the classroom. Our goal at

Western Carolina is to enable you to exceed your expectations during your undergraduate studies. With a multitude of academic programs from which to choose, you will soon be immersed in active learning and creative scholarship.

Complementing your academic journey, you will discover a plethora of cocurricular programs that will engage your mind, body and spirit. And on top of all that, you have PEAKS, the residential experience for first-year students to make you right at home. You will most certainly not be bored!

You may have guessed by now that I am very proud of our school, and you will soon understand why. My challenge to you: Get out of your room; meet new people; introduce yourself to your faculty and to student affairs professionals. Go to the art gallery; see a play; go to a ball game; participate in intramurals; join a club; attend special topics programs in the UC; form a study group; participate in residential events; be a leader. Embrace your community of learners and excel in ways you never thought possible! The learning and life experiences of the next four years will be pivotal and will empower you to succeed and to excel in life. I am extremely happy that you have chosen to join us at WCU as you embark on your pathway of discovery!

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From ThE DirECTor’S ChAir

Greetings and Welcome to the FYE Community!

By Glenda Hensley –

Director of First Year Experience

The Office of First Year Experiences (FYE) celebrated its first anniversary June 1, but certainly a first-year experience has existed at WCU all along. The difference is the level of intentionality and focus.

WCU has a rich tradition of progressive and innovative approaches aimed to enhance the educational experience for our community of learners: students, faculty and staff. Establishing the office of FYE further demonstrates the university’s commitment to its Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) and to the University of North Carolina

Tomorrow initiative. WCU has a multitude of excellent programs and services that support students’ first-year experience, yet we also are mindful that we can always do better.

Working with common purpose, we have embraced our successes and our challenges to build an authentically holistic approach to the FYE. Positioned in the Division of

Academic Affairs as a unit of the Office for

Undergraduate Studies, FYE is dedicated to fostering a strong and rigorous academic foundation for first-year students. Our office coordinates all Transition Pathways courses, first-year learning communities, and the first-year seminars within the liberal studies program. We recognize that learning does not stop at the classroom door, and in fact, improves dramatically as students have the opportunities to connect curricular, cocurricular and residential experiences.

In this issue you will read about many of the wonderful adventures of our first year, all of which were accomplished in concert with an orchestra of campus partners that includes folks from student affairs, residential living, academic colleges/support units, public relations, IT, the Coulter Faculty Commons, admission/orientation, administration and

... well, you get the idea! For our inaugural edition we thought it would be valuable to share some of the backstory that grounds our office. In the feature “From QEP to FYE:

Grounding the First Year,” by Dr. Carol

Burton, you will gain insights into the pedagogical and philosophical foundations of FYE.

Eager to build a strong identity that our students, faculty and staff partners would recognize as the home base for first-year programs, we created a website and media campaign, working with our professionals in IT and in creative services. You can see the outcomes of much of this work on our website at fye.wcu.edu. The website serves as a guide as students navigate their transition to college life and develop their identity as a distinct community within the larger campus community. Our site also provides faculty and staff with resources and networks that will support their efforts to facilitate student success. Through a combination of expertise from our PR and IT teams, you will learn about EYE on FYE, a video competition for first-year students that we hosted last year, and how it generated enthusiastic participation all across campus.

As you read “FYE Cabinet: More Than a Fixture,” by Margaret Bruder (English faculty), you will understand how deeply embedded our commitment to shared vision and integration is. In “FYE Student

Council: Front-Seat Perspectives,” Dalton

Mallone (class of 2013) will introduce you to the students who partner with the FYE

Cabinet to inform our work with the student perspective. “PEAKS: The Journey Continues” will highlight the history of excellence and commitment demonstrated by our residential life staff to ensure a successful transition into college life and onward. Gabby Robinson

(class of 2014) will share the student perspective of what it means to work in the

FYE office in her contribution, “It’s All in a

Day’s Work: Making Your Voice Heard.”

We share three briefs, with full stories planned for fall online issues, that will introduce three ongoing programs that have very special and focused goals: “Transition

Pathways: Charting a course” will showcase the reimagined approach to first-year transition courses; “ASP: Opportunity

Is Where You Plant It” will provide an overview to WCU’s summer bridge program; and “CatCamp: A freshman leadership adventure” will illuminate the dynamic leadership experience that begins with a summer adventure. As we approach the end of this first-year time capsule, you will enjoy the feature by Mike Despeaux in which he shares a vision going forward in “The Future is Now: How your first year in college may shape your life.”

The journey for our newest community members will be filled with excitement, trepidation, joy, occasional frustration and discovery. Our mission, as faculty and staff members, is to be mentors, guides and teachers – to support, listen and care. Our job, quite simply, is to provide the resources our students need to enjoy a successful transition to college, to open the door to their future, and to keep the lights turned on. My office strives to “walk the walk” of our QEP – to work with intentionality and common purpose and to synthesize what we each bring to the table into a greater whole.

I look forward to the opportunity to intersect your pathway this year!

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From QEP To FYE:

Grounding the First Year

By Dr. Carol Burton –

Assistant Vice Chancellor for Undergraduate Studies

As an entering first-year student at WCU this fall, you will join the ranks of more than a quarter million students enrolled in the University of

North Carolina. The myriad opportunities, challenges and experiences you face will prepare you for life after a unique national institution: the

American collegiate experience. At WCU, our aim is to prepare you to embrace and succeed in all aspects of your life following graduation; the exposure you receive to innovative and exemplary opportunities, the outstanding educational programming you will enjoy, and the engaged experiences that will help you to connect your academic life to the outside world will propel you to becoming a contributing and professional member of your community. For additional information on this educational plan, go to qep.wcu.edu.

In anticipation of developing the skills you need to make a positive difference professionally and civically, WCU has developed five global learning outcomes/core skills and behaviors in which all graduates are expected to excel:

• Communicate effectively and responsibly

(effective communication is one of the keys to successful, educated citizens and is highly valued in every walk of life)

• Practice civic engagement

(making a positive difference in our communities and connecting classroom learning with life outside the classroom are essential ingredients to establishing highly evolved democratic societies)

• Clarify and act on purpose and values

(understanding our personal beliefs and framing them in a professional context lead to developing our abilities to make informed judgments, plan for the future and to act with integrity)

• Solve complex problems

(critical thinking is at the foundation of being able to solve complex problems, and both are highly desirable skills for securing jobs, pursuing further study or achieving personal accomplishments)

• Integrate information from a variety of contexts

(making the connections between all aspects of undergraduate student life, being able to synthesize those relationships, and then to transform the key learning resulting from the process of synthesis is the cornerstone of a well-educated college graduate)

While you will be firmly grounded in your choice of major, these five learning outcomes form the backbone of your entire collegiate life at

WCU, and they will be evident in your academic courses, activities outside of the classroom, civic opportunities and personal experiences.

You will create your own education (electronic) briefcase to capture artifacts that represent you as you progress through your career at WCU

(ebriefcase.wcu.edu).

Welcome to the university that will prepare you to make a difference in your own life as well as in the life of your community.

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CATCAmP:

Bridging the Gap

By Steve Dutton –

Freshman Leadership Institute instructor

CatCamp is an initiative that began as an idea in October 2009 in the Center for

Leadership. The idea was to give incoming first-year students a leadership opportunity that would bridge the gap between their orientation experience and the start of their first academic year at WCU. From the start, CatCamp’s first priority was to find these students a connection to the Western

Carolina University community, be it with another person, a group of students, an organization, a staff member or the larger community, with the ultimate outcome being that these connections help keep these students enrolled at Western Carolina.

After completing the first year of CatCamp, and planning for the second, it already has surpassed initial expectations.

In its first year, educating students and staff about what CatCamp would and could be was difficult. Benchmarking was done to find what other institutions were doing to have successful extended orientation and transition camps similar to what we envisioned for CatCamp. Once there was a general structure in place, student leaders were recruited with help from other faculty and staff members to find counselors and help build the program. After two months of education and recruitment, 24 student leaders applied for 12 CatCamp counselor positions. Staff members from across

WCU with a connection to the first-year experience were invited to help select the

12 counselors. Upon completion, wheels were now in motion to begin development

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and implementation. The spring 2010 semester was dedicated to securing a location, developing activities, training counselors, creating the four-day, three-night program, and recruiting participants to pay $175 for, at that point, nothing more than an idea and the promise of a life-changing experience to help them succeed at WCU. When Aug.

9, 2010, finally arrived, we had three staff members, 12 counselors and 42 eagerly awaiting (and fully paid) participants.

At the end of CatCamp, emotions were high.

For the past four days and three nights, these

42 17- and 18-year-olds had opened their minds and opened their hearts to their peers, whom they had known for only hours before.

It truly was a remarkable experience. They spent time in their “litters,” small cluster of eight to 10 peers, sharing experiences, participating in activities and building their leadership skills. They spent time in the larger group, putting on skits, playing games and participating in a shaving cream party – truly a highlight. helped them get involved in their first few months on campus, one participant summed it up with, “Question is … what haven’t we been involved in?” All in all, these 42 students, in one way or another, are now connected.

Now that planning for year two of CatCamp is well under way, significant changes have been made. Student leaders are able to take a more active role in planning

CatCamp, having developed a student-led executive board to assist with planning and implementation. The Aug. 7-10,

2011, CatCamp has been planned and the counselor positions have been selected and consist mainly of previous CatCamp participants. Recruitment has been much easier this time around. We have pictures, videos and most importantly, a group of students to share this wonderful experience with incoming students.

The following October, exactly one year after the idea of CatCamp began, students were asked what they gained from their CatCamp experience. Their responses: “I am more comfortable meeting others and realizing the common ground among a variety of people.”

“I can make new friends easier!” “Helped me get involved and be more open.” “It helped me feel more confident about sharing my life with other peers to better identify them.”

When students were asked how CatCamp

We are so excited for what this second year will bring that we hope to be able to begin discussion of expansion for the third year.

We hope to offer more than one session of

CatCamp. We hope to offer different themed

CatCamps, for example, related to service, leadership, outdoor adventure, etc. We would also like to consider camps for different student populations, including upperclass students, transition students or other nontraditional student groups. This will give us an amazing opportunity to collaborate with even more of our campus partners.

FYE CAbiNET:

More Than a Fixture

By Margaret Bruder –

Department of English

According to our mission statement, the

First Year Experience Cabinet is collaboration between representatives from academics and residential living dedicated to easing the transition of first-year students to college life. More than that, though, it is an opportunity for faculty members and staff who consistently work with freshmen to go beyond “talking the QEP talk” to helping our students to more easily “walk the QEP walk” in the opening phase of their journey at Western Carolina. What has become abundantly clear to me after this first year of sharing ideas and strategies in the FYE

Cabinet is that all of us in the university community might benefit from a more thoughtful consideration of intentionality and synthesis as we promote these values in our students. This is, I believe, the real mission of the cabinet.

This is not to say that we are not addressing

QEP in our classes or in the programs we develop for our students. We are. Sitting in the cabinet meetings, I am impressed and at times a bit intimidated by all the work being done to make opportunities available to our students. Whether it is any one of the myriad of programs Brian Boyer has developed in the residence halls, Janina DeHart’s tireless efforts with the Academic Success Program,

James Felton’s quest to open up a dialogue between different cultural groups through the Department of Intercultural Affairs, or

Jennifer Cooper’s encouragement of active engagement with the surrounding areas in the Center for Service Learning (to name just a few), no one could argue that we are not doing enough to help our students begin their “climb.” The real problem seems to be that we are not always aware of the efforts of others and, therefore, we are not always able to connect our students with the programs and events that might best suit their interests and goals. In short, we are not always able to model the synthesis of the university experience that we intend for our students.

We all believe in the importance of a holistic educational experience; however, reaching a consensus on the best way to achieve that goal is not always clear cut or self-evident, especially when such a large number of participants with differing concerns are involved. In coming together to discuss how we can help students integrate the various aspects of their college lives, members of the FYE Cabinet have also been discovering the ways in which the programs developed by different divisions overlap, feed into each other and, yes, sometimes even duplicate effort. Over the past year, the FYE

Cabinet has given members the chance to communicate our various perspectives to determine how each unit can best assist our students’ integration into to the WCU community. We are looking for ways to facilitate collaboration between students, faculty and staff members from all areas of responsibility. We hope to encourage a flow of information that will benefit the entire community, not just first-year students. This is a dynamic process, and one that has really just gotten under way.

FYe CABINet MeMBeRs

CABINet ChAIR

Glenda Hensley

Director of First Year Experience

ACAdeMIC AFFAIRs

Elizabeth Pryor

Advising

Jennifer Cooper

Service Learning

Janina Dehart

Academic Success Program

Margaret Bruder

English Faculty – 1st yr. Comp. + ALC + FYS

John Habel

PSY Faculty + ALC + FYS + Gen Ed Review

Nory Prochaska

USI Coordinator + Academic Success Center

Mardy Ashe

Career Services

studeNt AFFAIRs

Tammy Haskett

Orientation

Brian Boyer

Residential Director

Mike Corelli

Leadership

James Felton

Intercultural Affairs

Angie Frederick

Health & Recreation

Josh Whitmore

Outdoor Recreation

Stephanie Sue Helmers

Residential Living

AdMINIstRAtIve OveRsIght

Carol Burton

Assistant Vice Chancellor for Undergraduate Studies

Sam Miller

Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs

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EYE oN FYE:

The View from Many Windows

By Claire Karriker –

Class of 2011

WCU’s Office of First Year Experiences, which helps ease students’ transition to college life, held a yearlong FYE video contest, with more than 175 first-year students submitting 46 videos. The videos documented and shared first-year students’ experiences and were uploaded to YouTube and voted on each month on WCU’s Facebook page. The monthly winners received a custom EYE on FYE T-shirt and certificate and will continue to be featured on the

FYE website as a repository for current and future students to see what it means to be a WCU first-year student and to embrace the Western Way. The contest also was sponsored by WCU’s

Office for Undergraduate Studies, Division of Student Affairs and Office of Public Relations. For more information and to view videos, go online to fye.wcu.edu.

vIdeO AwARd wINNeRs

During the April FYE celebration hosted by the FYE Student Council, winners were announced for the following categories:

I AM FReshMAN, heAR Me ROAR!

The nominees in this category showed the most WCU pride.

Winner: “College Apprehensions,” by

Daniel Mull and Loryn Princevalle

CONNeCtINg the dOts

The nominees in this category connected learning from inside the classroom to real-world experiences.

Winner: “EYE on FYE,” by Jeremy

Pearson, Sean Botzenheart and

Margaret Gordon

eLeCtRIC CAtAMOuNt

Nominees in this category offer a collection of the funniest, most outgoing and interesting perspectives!

Winner: “We’ll Get to It,” by Nick Hunter and

Trevor Griggs

FACeBOOk FAvORItes

Voted favorites by your fans!

Winner: “Express Yourself,” by Ak Adams,

Griffin Trively and Brent Glenn

CAtAMOuNt COMMuNItY

This award recognizes a student whose work has exemplified what it means to be a member of the community – to give selflessly of talent and energy for the good of the whole.

Winner: “My First Year Experience,” by Gabby Robinson

FILMMAkeR OF the YeAR

Nominees in this category exemplify the

Western Way – they are proud, smart and full of life!

Winners: “EYE on FYE,” by Jeremy Pearson,

Sean Botzenheart and Margaret Gordon; and

“Express Yourself,” by Ak Adams, Griffin

Trively and Brent Glenn

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iT’S All iN A DAY’S WorK:

Making Your Voice Heard

By Gabby Robinson – Class of 2014

“Not in his goals but in his transitions is man great.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

During the summer before a new high school graduate’s freshman year of college, there are many transitions that one assumes he/she should make. Some believe that they should get used to being at the bottom of the food chain while others think that they will no longer be listened to, similar to the experience of a high school freshman. This concept was something that I too believed before I entered my freshman year, but I was soon to find that this would not be the case. When you begin your journey, you should encourage yourself to speak out.

When I say speak out, I do not necessarily mean to rally together your fellow freshmen, give speeches and conduct gatherings for a cause. I mean to use a talent that you have developed to make your voice heard. During my freshman year I not only used my talent to make myself heard, but in the process made my talent stronger and helped to encourage others.

This talent I am speaking of is the ability to create things using technology (for example, videos and posters) that draw in other students. I created videos about events and causes that

I believed to be important, and even without my knowing, I was making myself heard. I had found an avenue to make a difference in the world, all because I was willing to take a chance.

In conclusion, it is my advice to incoming freshmen to take a leap of faith, shout from the mountaintops and to make your voice stand out among the many that join you on the climb to the top!

gABBY ROBINsON ChOseN As ‘studeNt eMPLOYee OF the YeAR’

Gabby Robinson was recognized last April as the Student Employee of the Year in the 2011 Celebrate

Excellence Awards hosted by the Office for Leadership and Student Involvement. During the 2010-11 academic year Gabby worked in the First Year Experience office and brought enthusiasm and passion to every project assigned. Her work with PR and marketing projects infused each of them with the creative spark that only a student perspective could provide. Gabby provided research support and organizational expertise for the scholarship fair connected with Sweet ‘N

Low’s performance to raise funds for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. She also provided invaluable support to the EYE on FYE Video Celebration, literally scripting and organizing all details of the event. Gabby is a model student and university citizen who inspires teaching and professional excellence.

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TrANSiTioN PAThWAYS:

Students Charting Their Course

First-year students are encouraged to enroll in one of the courses offered to guide a successful transition to college. You will be introduced to the academic, procedural and social elements of your new community.

whAt Is A tRANsItION COuRse?

This course will help you make a seamless and holistic transition to your new community at WCU.

• Learn about campus resources, procedures and policies.

• Learn to negotiate college life successfully.

• Discover opportunities for extracurricular activities.

• Learn to be intentional in your educational and personal goals.

• Explore the scope of the world around you and your place in and impact on that world.

whAt Is A LeARNINg COMMuNItY?

Residential programming complements academic and cocurricular learning as you navigate the journey ahead. Please visit www.

wcu.edu/8184.asp to learn more about PEAKS

– your first-year community!

• Link living and learning designs with purpose and intention.

• Engage students via common learning opportunities.

• Authenticate new learning experiences via application.

• Reframe the conversation from “I” to “we.”

• Negate many sources of fear and frustration as students transition to college life.

FINd the PAthwAY thAt wORks

FOR YOu!

COUN 140: “Study Skills”

– This course places emphasis on academic and study skills, as you also learn about campus resources, procedures and policies.

LEAD LLCs (140-159): “Leadership

Themes”

– These living-learning communities are grounded in the principles of leadership development.

Residential programming will complement academic, cocurricular and thematic learning outcomes over the full year through intentional partnerships among faculty and staff professionals.

These courses provide an introduction and opportunity for you to transition to university life as you discover available resources (academic, cocurricular, community). These courses – for firstyear students only – also will serve as an elective in the leadership minor.

USI 130: “University Experience”

– Learn about campus resources, procedures and policies, as you transition to college life. As a member of PEAKS in Scott Hall, integrate your classroom learning with extracurricular activities and residence hall programming as you discover your place in your new community. Visit www.wcu.

edu/25699.asp to learn more.

USI 101: “Honors Forum”

– The Honors

Forum is a living-learning community housed in Balsam and Blue Ridge halls.

Acceptance into the Honors College is a prerequisite for this course.

visit the FYe student page online (www.wcu.edu/27934.asp) for lots of information to help you along the way.

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WESTErN CAroliNA PEAKS:

The Journey Continues

By Laura Ansley, Brian Boyer, Stephanie Sue Helmers: the Department of Residential Living

The Annual Conference on the First

Year Experience is an opportunity for university professionals working with first-year programs to learn about premier programs from around the world. At the

25th anniversary conference, held in

February 2011, three staff members from the Department of Residential Living were invited to present about WCU’s residential first-year experience, Western Carolina

PEAKS. Laura Ansley, Brian Boyer and

Stephanie Sue Helmers spent an hour at the conference detailing the four-year history and evolution of the program in a session titled “Staying Mission-Focused with Your

Residential First-Year Experience.” The session, attended by more than 40 university professionals, began by reviewing the introduction of the PEAKS program in 2007.

During the first year of its implementation, the program served 700 first-year students in

Scott Hall. Started with a simple concept of trying to meet the needs of first-year students and support them in a key transition time, the program has since grown to include every first-year student that resides on campus with four main “home bases” – Balsam Hall,

Buchanan Hall, Scott Hall and Walker Hall.

Despite this growth, the mission of the program remains the same, with minor adjustments made each year to keep the program attuned to the needs of each new class of students. The presentation detailed these experimentations, modifications and steady components. There were six main areas that were reviewed for each year of the program: staffing, intervention strategies utilized, programming, key collaborators, evaluation techniques, and areas of improvement. Key initiatives and programs that were highlighted included the evolution and use of the Student Success Initiative, the living-learning communities that are tied to LEAD courses, the additional resident assistant staff and specialized roles of staff in the area of academic initiatives, and the establishment of programmatic traditions such as “Coffee Talk with the Chancellor,”

“Midnight Advising,” “Reverse Trick-or-Treat” and “The Potty Times.” Of particular interest to many attendees was the use of assessment data and attempts to identify at-risk students and reaching out to support them. Over the years the department has not only utilized the campus early alert system, but has also developed several internal methods, including RA concern cards and a flagging system.

Through efforts like this, Western Carolina

PEAKS has been able to contribute to the enhanced experience of first-year students.

Assessment data shared by the presenters included the increased retention rate for firstyear students during the four-year history of the program and higher resident satisfaction rates as demonstrated through the ACUHO-I/

EBI Resident Assessment. Students living in a Western Carolina PEAKS home base have shown greater levels of satisfaction versus their counterparts in RA staff satisfaction, programming, diverse interactions, and personal interactions.

Conference attendees applauded the program for being a residential first-year experience program and were impressed by the amount of support, dedication, nurture and love that it has been shown over the past four years.

They also were inspired by the development of other offices and support programs for first-year students on our campus since the introduction of Western Carolina PEAKS.

They, along with the staff in residential living, are excited about the new possibilities that these positions and programs create to continue to serve first-year students.

The staff were excited to share what

Western Carolina PEAKS has been able to accomplish over the past four years and left the conference inspired themselves and with many great ideas from other programs to continue the development of the program.

For questions about Western Carolina PEAKS, please contact the Department of Residential

Living at 828.227.7303.

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ThE FuTurE iS NoW:

How Your First Year in College May Shape Your Life

By Michael Despeaux –

Career Services Office

As a first-year student, you’ll hear much about what you should be doing to make the most of college. Choosing a major that interests you, building a circle of new friends and meeting people different from yourself, joining student organizations, gaining effective college study habits, and even becoming an independent learner – these should be typical goals for new students.

Because you have a full college experience to anticipate, you have the chance to craft a

Western Carolina experience that will change your life.

During this recession, what college can do for you may seem especially important. It should. In the news and in the experience of many North Carolina families, you don’t have to look far to find reasons for concern.

More than ever before, a simple credential in the form of a college degree, by itself, does not guarantee career success or personal prosperity. A New York Times article of May

18 presents evidence that concludes “even for college graduates — the people who were most protected from the slings and arrows of recession — the outlook is rather bleak.”

1

Your parents’ generation, with good reason, saw college as a way to improve their lives and to achieve upward mobility. Due to changes in our economic landscape, while for you this outcome may be possible, it certainly is no longer automatic. A recent

Rutgers study reported that “just 17 percent of recent college graduates expect to do better than the previous generation.”

2

Does any of this mean that you shouldn’t go to college? Does it imply that Western

Carolina won’t positively impact your life and increase your chances of enjoying a meaningful and productive career? The answer to both questions is simple – no.

Western Carolina offers you the chance to climb high. But putting one foot in front of the other is up to you.

You have reached a remarkable moment in your life. You are uniquely positioned to establish patterns, set goals, and build stepping stones that will help you achieve success in the days and years after you graduate. Instead of traveling a path of lesser resistance and dealing with each career step only when it becomes urgent, I urge you to begin now, during your first year of college.

What can you do? It’s helpful to take a look at the things that many of today’s graduates wish they’d done. It turns out, despite facing challenges upon graduation, most of them are glad they went to the college they chose. In the Rutgers study, “Unfulfilled

Expectations: Recent College Graduates

Struggle in a Troubled Economy,” the authors discover that most regrets centered on what students did (or didn’t do) while they were in school (see graphic).

According to the study, graduates wish they had made more careful choices, gained more integrated experiences, and practiced job search skills earlier. When I speak to first-year classes, I usually discuss these very things that students should be doing to develop their career paths. I always talk about the importance of choosing a major that not only excites you but also matches your interests, abilities, and values. Career

Services offers counseling, career tests, and lots of information that can help you make informed decisions.

Career Services also helps students identify and pursue meaningful real-world experiences, starting with on-campus employment but ranging from related service or campus involvement to internships and job shadowing opportunities. More than ever, it is critical that you gain experience during college, find ways to apply your knowledge, and develop skills that will make you more competitive when you graduate. In recent years and in the new economy, students who fail to integrate their academic, co-curricular, and work experiences, demonstrating that they have workplace skills, are at an instant disadvantage. An article in the Chronicle of Higher Education about internships states that they “used to be optional, an added bonus. But for many of today’s overprogrammed college students, it has become a critical career move — and a rite of passage.”

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Career Services also provides assistance to students through every stage of any job search. Whether you’re competing for an internship or readying for full-time

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40

30

20

10

0

48%

47%

38%

27%

14%

9%

4%

chosen a different major ed part time en more classes to prepare for a career sooner while still in college would have tak would have gone to a different college something else would not have gone to college

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employment, we’re here to help. During your very first year, I recommend that you go ahead and seek our assistance preparing your résumé. Consider practicing your careerrelated communication skills by using your webcam to interact with the Perfect Interview online program – the questions will actually help you identify skills and experiences you’ll want to develop during the next three years.

Attend a job fair and meet real employers

– ask them what you need to do to become an exceptionally qualified candidate for a job at their organizations. Go to an etiquette event and learn how to create strong first impressions in a social or networking setting.

In short, take advantage of our services, and do it now. Don’t wait until the last minute.

Among the students I see, the ones who prevail, in any economy, are those who meet two criteria. First, they are purposeful.

They thoroughly examine their interests and research majors and related career fields. They make choices based on self-knowledge and identify four-year paths toward their goals.

Second, they achieve excellence. Excellence begins in the classroom, but it extends to job or internship settings, leadership and service roles, and character. Even in a tight market, there is always room for excellence.

Career Services stands by to help you succeed at Western Carolina. The rest is up to you, and as first-year students, you have time and opportunity on your side.

1. Catherine Rampell, “Many With New College Degree

Find the Job Market Humbling,” May 18, 2011, New

York Times.

2. Jessica Godofsky MPP, Cliff Zukin PhD, Carl Van

Horn PhD, “Unfulfilled Expectations: Recent

College Graduates Struggle in a Troubled Economy,”

May 2011, Worktrends: Americans’ attitude about work, employers, and government (Rutgers

University, N.J.).

3. Sara Lipka, “Subsidizing the Internship,” July 18,

2008, The Chronicle of Higher Education.

FYE STuDENT CouNCil:

Front-Seat Perspective

By Dalton Mallone –

Class of 2013

Western Carolina University is on the forefront of educational excellence and innovation.

As such, it makes sense that an organization would be able to take shape at WCU in order to further those characteristics of excellence and innovation by responding to the concerns and ideas of the student body. The First-Year Experience Student Council, or FYE Council for short, is just such an organization.

This council of students got its start on January 27, 2011. This initial meeting of the FYE

Council was to get to know the other members of the council, establish preliminary ideas, and to try and solidify one idea that would identify the mission of this student council. As we continued to meet we came up with a mission statement for the FYE Student Council:

“As representatives of the student body, this FYE Student Council supports the direction of the First Year Cabinet and the Office of First Year Experiences in their efforts to provide this university and its students with a network of collaboration between departments that supports a learning environment throughout campus, and that promotes learning within the classroom and learning within students’ everyday lives.”

We feel that this mission statement sums up how we wish to serve the students of WCU and WCU as a whole. In relation to our mission statement, the EYE on FYE student video contest was our first opportunity as a group to get involved with the campus. All of the finalists, and all of the entries in general, were fantastic. They all spoke to the energy, creativity, dedication, individuality and cooperativeness that are expressed by students at

WCU. Our next project will hopefully be a more hands-on approach and will actually get the council members out among the students and involved on a more personal level.

My experience with the FYE Student Council has been a bit different from that of most of the other council members. I am currently in my second year here at WCU, and I think that the reasoning behind asking me to join the council was so that the council benefitted from someone who had recently completed their own “first-year experience,” and that I would be able to give some insight into what I would have liked to have done, seen, experienced, etc., during my first year. However, this does not mean that I was the sole force of insight and ideas. I have had the privilege of working with many gifted, outspoken and driven individuals since this council began. Members of this student council have brought their own abilities and knowledge to each meeting, which has benefited the other members in terms of making their own ideas and strategies.

Next year will be our year to really prove ourselves as an organization. If all goes well, we will become known for having the best interests of the student body at the heart of our group and for continuing to strive toward new and increasingly innovative ways to help our campus, and more importantly the students, grow and flourish in this ever-changing world.

the FYe JOuRNAL | PAge 11

Office for Undergraduate Studies

555 HF Robinson

Cullowhee, NC 28723

the

FYE

Journal

FIRst YeAR exPeRIeNCe

Office for undergraduate studies glenda hensley, director

555 hF Robinson | Cullowhee, NC 28723

828.227.2786 | [email protected]

WCU is a University of North Carolina campus and an Equal Opportunity

Institution. 400 copies of this public document were printed at a cost of

$616.50 or $1.54 each. Office of Creative Services | August 2011 | 11-439

ASP:

Opportunity Is

Where You Plant It

In April 2011, the Academic Success

Program, or ASP, moved to its new home with the Office of First Year Experiences, a unit of the Office of Undergraduate Studies.

The ASP office will remain in Killian Annex for now, alongside our academic advising colleagues. ASP will continue its wonderful tradition of enhancing the work of teaching and learning with forward momentum.

We say welcome aboard to Janina DeHart, coordinator of ASP, and are eager to see great things from this year’s newest program participants – members of the class of 2015!

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