Freshman Summer Success Program Underway
Last week, UHD launched its Freshman Summer Success Program (FSSP), an important three-day orientation for incoming freshman that introduces new Gators to essential resources on campus. The program, hosted by University College, serves as an excellent segue for high school graduates into the rigors of college studies and provides them with key skills to succeed both inside the classroom and as contributing members of society.
President Bill Flores welcomed the new freshmen and encouraged them to make the most of the FSSP orientation by interacting with faculty members, asking student volunteers about their first year at UHD and actively seeking out ways to become involved with one of the campus' 63 student organizations.
In addition to gaining vital critical-thinking and problem-solving skills, the students learned about financial aid, available majors at UHD, future career options and faculty expectations. They attended simulated English, history, drama or mathematics classes taught by full-time faculty and began building friendships with fellow classmates, as well as important faculty support networks.
"Research has proven that students most likely to be successful are those who are engaged in their studies and form early connections with their university," said Chris Birchak, dean of University College. "Because so many incoming freshmen are the first in their families to attend college, they don't have the foundation or expectations that will serve them throughout their first, critical year. FSSP provides that knowledge and guidance to help ensure their academic success and sense of belonging as a new college student."
The theme of this year's FSSP orientation is, "Doing the Right Thing: A Commitment to Integrity." In that vein, the program addresses the case for ethics and the role of personal responsibility, a core value of higher education. FSSP leaders, including Michelle Falcon, associate director for learning success, and Branden Kuzmick, University College lecturer, help to demonstrate the ways in which one's moral compass ultimately impacts the quality of one's life and world.
To underscore this point, the University hosted outside speaker and businessman David Thomas, who travels the country presenting to executives on the importance of ethics and social responsibility. Students also heard from leaders of the Student Government Association and participated in a Q-and-A with a panel of upper-class UHD students.
The Fondren Foundation recently gave UHD a two-year, $300,000 grant to expand FSSP to two summer sessions and establish online learning communities for incoming FSSP freshmen throughout the first year.