Academics and Research / Magazine Feature

Discoveries program welcomes new students to campus

The quiet summertime campus environment will get an infusion of energy on Sept. 7 when more than 1,200 first-year students arrive for the annual Discoveries orientation week.

Discoveries is designed to give first-year and transfer students a strong start to their DU experience through workshops, small group meetings, computer classes, presentations, and discussion sessions. Incoming students also will be introduced to resources and community standards of the University.

“Discoveries helps students make the transition to college both socially and academically,” says Pamela Graglia, assistant director for orientation. “It’s about connecting them with each other and teaching them what it means to have a relationship with a faculty member and what it means to be part of the community of DU scholars.”

This year’s orientation will include 1,225 first-year students and 194 transfer students grouped into 88 orientation teams, each led by a DU faculty member and a specially-trained DU upperclassman.

With their groups, students will attend sessions on the University’s undergraduate requirements, major and minor requirements, academic and campus resources, laptop configuration, and will register for fall quarter courses.

Students will attend a pep rally to introduce them to DU traditions and spirit. They’ll also experience a revamped Pioneer Passage, a celebratory ceremony featuring remarks by the provost, selected faculty and the All-Undergraduate Student Association president. Social gatherings throughout the week will include a tailgate party, dueling pianos, a hypnotist and a moonlit movie on the Driscoll lawn.

The Discoveries week also introduces students to their first-year seminar courses.
These required courses — offered on a variety of topics ranging from the Anthropology and Archeology of Denver to the Geography of Food — are designed to provide an academic experience that will prepare students for successful college work. Instructors of the first-year seminars also serve as Discoveries faculty leaders and advise their students for the entire first year.

Parents and families of incoming students will take part in a special two-day orientation, with sessions on study abroad, health and counseling and campus safety. Helen Johnson, the leading authority on parent relations in higher education, will present “Parenting Your College Student: The Challenge of a Changing Relationship.”

Throughout the fall, first-year students will have the opportunity to meet the chancellor — as well as alumni, faculty, staff and administrators — at formal First-Year Dinners held in the Ritchie Center’s Gottesfeld Room. These special events give students a chance to learn more about the history of the University and interact with University officials in a more intimate setting.

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