First Year Experience
In partnership with the office of Residence Life and Student Development Programs coordinates campus-wide efforts to ensure the highest quality experience possible in the first year of college. The First-Year Experience program at Philadelphia University is designed to provide support and encouragement for new students. FYE acknowledges that the first year in college is a major life step during which students face challenges in adjusting to a new place, managing time and workload, starting new relationships, clarifying values, establishing autonomy, and addressing a host of other developmental issues. Philadelphia University has committed an extensive amount of time and resources to provide a sound foundation for success for each student.
Summer START and New Student Orientation
Each new student attends one of several 2-day START sessions. Students spend interacting in groups with peers and START Leaders, learn about campus departments and resources, take a writing assessment, stay overnight in Ronson Hall, have their ID photos taken, and receive their schedules for the fall term. Students move onto campus four days before classes begin for New Student Orientation (NSO), where they are welcomed into the academic community, meet with their College advisors, and participate in many activities designed to ease their transitions and to introduce them to each other and to the many resources available on campus.
The First-Year Curriculum
Most first-year students enroll in Writing Seminar I and History I (American Transitions) in their first year. They take one of these courses each semester. The central theme in each case is "Finding Philadelphia," learning about the history, culture, diversity, and wealth of activities in the city. Students also take a math and a science course in the first year, depending on their high school preparation. All first-year students begin coursework in their majors, with those who are undecided exploring their options in one or more Colleges. This connected curriculum is part of our strong general education core curriculum the College Studies Program, which is designed specifically for the needs of Philadelphia University students. This program is delivered by the College of Science, Health and the Liberal Arts.
The First-Year Co-Curriculum
We provide special programs for new students to complement their work in class and tie in the theme of "Finding Philadelphia." These programs include cultural excursions into the City of Philadelphia, informational sessions such as SEPTA 101 and a variety of other activities to help first-years take advantage of campus life and the city. Faculty teaching first-year students are encouraged to work with the co-curriculum initiatives to help students connect the learning in their courses with the opportunities for learning provided by various staff in the Division of Student Life.
Each first-year student is assigned an advisor who specializes in working with new students. Because first year advisors visit Learning and Advising for only 4 hours each week, it may not be possible for you to meet with your assigned advisor. That is OKAY, because you may meet with any first year advisor, who will be prepared to help you no matter what. First Year Advisng is on a drop-in basis, no need for an appointment.. First-year advisors help with course selection, academic planning, mapping the four or five year program, and referrals to resources. This program is coordinated by the Learning and Advising Center, and is located in Hagger Hall.
Residential Life and Commuting
Roughly five of six first-year students live on campus in one of several residence halls; the remaining population commutes. For students who live on campus, the Office of Residence Life has developed a program entitled "The Community Curriculum." This program is designed to assist students with learning how to live together as fellow citizens in a community. Resident Assistants (trained upper-class students) help their floor mates with social adjustments, establishing respect for themselves and others, and making the most of their living experience. While most programming is coordinated on the Ravenhill Campus, all FYE activities and services are open to all first-year students regardless of residency status.
Sponsored programs by Student Development Programs include:
A cornerstone of the leadership initiatives for new students at Philadelphia University is The Emerging Leaders Program (ELP). The co-curricular certificate program has been designed to help new students understand learning experiences in co-curricular life and their relationship to classroom work; to assist students in becoming effective leaders on campus and in the community at Philadelphia University; and to encourage personal growth and development through active participation in discussion, exercises, and workshops. Recent ELP alumni now hold executive positions in student organizations, are recognized for academic excellence and serve in such positions as Resident Assistants, START Leaders and RAMbassadors. Participants in ELP will meet for six weeks during the fall semester. Regular meetings insure that members are committed to the program and to their own personal development.
Film for Thought
Student Development Programs sponsors a monthly screening entitled Film For Thought. During this program students, along with faculty and staff, watch films that focus on a wide range of important and sometimes controversial issues. Immediately following the films, an open discussion is facilitated by a member of the University faculty or staff. Pizza and refreshments
are also served along with the discussion of each film. Please consider joining us for one of the upcoming films.
Help annually, each Spring semester, Unity Week is a campus-wide effort that affirms the diversity represented within the University community and affirms the value and vitality that pluralism brings to our individual and collective experience. Unity Week is a collaborative effort by numerous committed students, faculty, and administrators to coordinate a series of performances, speakers, opportunities for dialogues, open classes, food, and music.