AASU Establishes Resource Center for Incoming Freshmen

(August 21, 2009) A new First-Year Experience (FYE) Resource Center is greeting incoming freshmen students at Armstrong Atlantic State University (AASU) this fall. The center has been established for the first time to provide new students the opportunity to share common academic and extracurricular experiences and build strong relationships among themselves and with university faculty.

"The purpose of the FYE Resource Center is to make it easier for incoming freshmen to adapt to the academic demands of college life," said Mary Anne Brock, one of three AASU English faculty members who, with the help of Beth Howells, composition director, helped make the resources center a reality. The other faculty members are Bonnie Emerick and Jane Rago.

"The center will provide students with programs and activities that can help them be successful both as entering students and young adults during the difficult transition from high school into college," Brock said.

The faculty members have developed special programs for freshmen that are intentional, integrated, collaborative and academic. At the center, students can get help navigating not only academic challenges, but can also find assistance to help them adapt to campus culture and develop early bonds to faculty, staff and other students.

The goal is to increase the rates of retention, progression and graduation rates, which is critical to the mission of AASU and the University System of Georgia.

The FYE Resource Center is launching its inaugural Common Read program this fall, with Julie Otsuka's novel When the Emperor Was Divine as its selection. All entering traditional freshmen received a copy of the novel over the summer and were expected to complete reading it before the start of classes on August 17.

The novel will be incorporated into many fall semester courses. The supporting activities for the semester will culminate with a November 11-12 visit from the author. During this visit, Otsuka will give a reading, which is free and open to the public, at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, November 11 in The Armstrong Center, Ballroom A, with a reception to follow.

A stage adaptation of the novel by AASU's Pete Mellen, theater program coordinator, will be presented by the AASU Masquers November 12-15 in Jenkins Hall at 7:30 p.m. on November 12, 13, & 14 and at 3 p.m. on Nov. 15. Tickets for the stage production may be purchased by contacting Armstrong Atlantic's Department of Art, Music, and Theatre at 912.344.2801.

"The Common Read activities will emphasize interdisciplinary conversation and introduce students to spaces where academic and intellectual pursuits transcend academic disciplines and even the classroom itself," said Brock.

A film festival open to students, faculty and staff will be presented during the last week of August. The five movies that will be screened are related to the events surrounding the time frame of Otsuka's book.

"This is all part of a cohesive program that will promote student success through the coordinated efforts of academic departments, student affairs and other areas throughout the university," Brock said.