RECAST | Greener Foundations Students coming to the Academic Fair

From: Kennedy, Cynthia <>
Sent: Wednesday, November 18, 2020 1:40 PM

Hello colleagues –

I hope this rainy day in the Pacific Northwest finds you well.  I am writing with news of our many First-Year students who are finishing their 8th week at the college, including their 8th week in our Greener Foundations course. For those of you who aren’t sure what I am talking about, Greener Foundations (GF) is one piece of our larger First-Year Experience Initiative that offers both curricular co-curricular support to our first-time, first-year students. GF is the 2-credit class (linked to an Academic Program) designed to help students learn navigate our unique college as well as develop skills to help them thrive both academically and in community.

I think we can all agree that the Academic Fair is one of our “unique” features (!). For this reason, we have spent some time helping the students think about what they might be interested in studying while they are here at the college as well as showing them ways to find what they are looking for in our catalog (which is not necessarily an easy feat) in preparation for the Academic Fair week 9.  None of these first-year students are being encouraged to leave their multi-quarter programs, but they are being asked to come to the Academic Fair to help them make progress towards the following six learning goals we agreed we would like to help them develop:

  • Understand Evergreen’s unique approach to education, and know how to navigate a variety of academic modes and paths of study
  • Develop intellectual curiosity across multiple academic fields
  • Imagine possible careers and develop plans to reach those outcomes
  • Develop mentoring relationships with faculty
  • Develop effective relationships with academic advisors and staff across the college
  • Develop confidence in using college offices and resources

With this in mind, they are coming to the Academic Fair to meet you. So, please welcome them into your Zoom Room. Talk with them. Be curious about who they are. Ask them questions. Answer theirs. On some level, many of them are terrified to do this under normal circumstances and Zoom makes it even more awkward.

When faculty ask what we can do to help with enrollment and keep students, this is one main way we can do that – show up and welcome our students. And, they will also be visiting our student support resources zoom rooms.

And, truthfully, last fall, when the Academic Fair was in-person, I was terribly disappointed that about 1/3 of the students reported they came to talk with faculty they had carefully chosen from the catalog who weren’t present at their tables. That was a huge bummer. If we can’t even show up or answer our emails, why would students want to come here?

But, the good news is that, most of us were there and are happy to welcome students. So, please know that they are curious about you and are reading your program descriptions right now.

If you are curious, I am attaching the assignment they will be bringing with them.

Thanks for all you are doing to support our students every day.

In community,

Cynthia Kennedy

First-Year Faculty Fellow

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