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June 21, 2004

Orientation under way at U-M for incoming students and parents

ANN ARBOR, Mich.—Orientation for this fall’s incoming students and their parents continues through the second week of August.

Ann Hower, director of the Office of New Student Programs (ONSP), said about 9,000 people are expected to attend during the summer, including about 3,000 parents. About 175 students and parents attend sessions each day.

Hower said that all new undergraduate students (including transfers) go through an intensive two-and-a-half-day program that includes 33 sessions. These range from an introduction to the academic life of the University including class scheduling, to issues of student life on campus.

“We put a strong emphasis on individual personal attention for those attending orientation,” Hower said. “We’re deeply committed to helping the new students feel welcome, balancing to some degree the sense that such a large institution will be impersonal.”

Twenty-six students under the guidance of Hower and the regular ONSP staff lead most of the orientation sessions, putting the emphasis on student-to student communication.

“Competition for student staff positions is stiff,” Hower said. “This year, there were 150 applicants for 16 positions. They do receive a stipend, but their primary motivation is the experience they get working with the new students and parents. These enthusiastic students see it as a chance to give back to the University that they are committed to.”

The orientation sessions are organized around three primary ideas:

Being an active participant in your education.

Understanding your responsibilities as a U-M student.

Using available academic resources.

These ideas are introduced through an interactive video segment called “State Street Smarts,” based on “Street Smarts,” a TV comedy game show where contestants prove how smart they are by predicting how other people will answer questions.

The U-M adaptation is an interactive video segment within the session entitled "Michigan 101: Succeeding Academically at Michigan.” Each section includes video clips of three current students answering a question about each topic. Then the audience votes on who they think gave the best answer and everyone listens to a clip from a campus expert, including U-M President Mary Sue Coleman on academic integrity.

Another session features a theater troupe of student actors organized by ONSP that performs skits on various student life issues, such as alcohol, sexual assault and diversity. A panel of orientation leaders follows, reinforcing the information from the performance.

For more details, visit: http://www.onsp.umich.edu/orientation/index.html, or contact Ann Hower at (734) 764-6413, ahower@umich.edu.

 

Contact:   Joel Seguine
Phone: (734) 936-6396
E-mail: jseguine@umich.edu