June 8th, 2005


New Student Orientation

As part of my other half of my job, I have to recruit students to the WMU-STEP Program. This means I have to attend up to twelve New Student Orientation sessions. Pitching the program isn't the problem. It's the combination of "springing" more choices on the freshmen and the fact that this year STEP is "competing" with the University First Year Experience (FYE).

A Double Acronym

"So what is the WMU-STEP Program, Dr. Phil?" you ask.

STEP stands for the STEM Talent Expansion Program. STEM refers to the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics majors.

It's funded by the National Science Foundation and is designed to improve the freshmen experience, performance and retention of STEM students.

A Good Deal

Way back in 1976, when I was a freshman, I was enrolled in another NSF-funded program -- the Integrated Science Program at Northwestern University. So I understand some of the benefits of being able to attend my classes with the same people -- one of the features of both ISP and WMU-STEP.

We Were Never This Young

Amazing, at 9:15 in the morning, the upcoming freshmen fall into two camps -- the wide-eyed ready to go and the zombies. Whether either camp is moderated by the presence of their parents is hard to tell.

Though I didn't have to hang around an listen to the morning sessions, I decided it would be a good idea to hear what the parents were being told at the first session last week.

Perhaps tomorrow I will emphasize that there's no cost to the student for STEP -- parents would like that. (grin)


It really is a changing world:

The parents are worse than the students with their cell phones left on with their obnoxious ring tones. (double-grin)

From the trenches ...

Dr. Phil
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