Strengthening First-Year Experience

March 20, 2018

University Record: Strengthening the First-year Experience

The University of Michigan is committed to providing a best-in-class, first-year experience to help students make a successful transition to college, reach their full potential and thrive on campus and beyond.

The efforts are part of a five-year plan to strengthen the first-year experience for students on the Ann Arbor campus and support Student Life’s strategic plan for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

In the coming years, the Student Life will implement several efforts to strengthen the programing devoted to first-year students and improve student engagement. This will include a shift to a winter recruitment practice for all Greek Life organizations beginning in January 2020; a practice that includes 2,000 students annually.

The change will apply to first-year students and require that they must have earned 12 credit hours at U-M and be in good academic and behavioral standing to participate in Greek Life recruitment.

A transition team representing the Greek Life community and chaired by Dean of Students Laura Blake Jones will be created to identify key considerations and make recommendations for implementing the change.

Other efforts to strengthen and expand student access to first-year experience programming, include:

  • Providing more opportunities for first-year students to integrate their classroom learning experiences with their residential life by expanding access to Michigan Living and Learning Communities.
  • Helping more first-year students navigate and make meaning of their Michigan experience by increasing student access to Making the Most of Michigan, a goal-setting course in the residence halls.
  • Offering more first-year students the opportunity to tailor their residential experience to their needs, interests and diverse backgrounds through additonal Theme Communities in the residence halls (current themes include First-Gen, Innovation, and Multicultural).
  • Helping more first-year students explore their skills, interests and values related to future endeavors by prioritizing University Career Center’s programs devoted to helping students begin their professional journey.
  • Developing increased student intercultural competence by introducing the Intercultural Development Inventory pilot in more schools and colleges.
  • Providing more students with the opportunity to serve and learn about their surrounding community and meet new people through new community immersion programs during the first semester.

The work builds on the existing array of workshops, courses and community-building activities offered to first-year students – each with the focus of helping students gain the skills for academic success, develop sustainable and healthy relationships and engage with diverse learning communities.

First-year Experience
Office of Greek Life