Use your voice. Choose the choice. Make our house your home.
The Three Components of the First-Year Experience
We support students who are transitioning in to our community and our learning culture in three ways.
1. The First-Year Core Curriculum.
Incoming students take a fall writing seminar and a spring speaking-intensive core seminar. These offer a strong foundation in what we call eloquentia perfecta, academic excellence in writing and speaking for the greater good. You will be a part of the same small group of students for both your Fall and Spring Foundational Core seminars, learning together, supporting one another over the course of the year, and exploring self and world in community.
2. Advising and Mentoring.
How do you become better at noticing what’s going on in your life, in your surrounding community and in the world? How do you become better at reflecting on the things you notice? How do you become better at translating those reflections into decisions?
At Regis, we call this process of discernment (noticing, reflecting and decision-making) the Experience-Reflection-Action Model of Learning, and this model shapes the the curriculum we offer to all our incoming students.
To assist you in this process, your Fall writing seminar professor will also serve as your first-year faculty advisor. She or he can help you to reflect on your transition to college so that you can make decisions about our liberal arts and sciences core curriculum (the Distributive Core) and about the many resources available to support you as a student. That guidance in what you do at Regis helps you discern who you want to become.
3. Orientation to a diverse and inclusive community.
As a Jesuit institution, our mission to seek knowledge demands that we engage with and serve a broader community in order to promote the common good. And our commitments to service and justice shape the way that we respect and support each other. We invite incoming students to find their own sense of place and belonging in this community with a range of programming throughout their first year.
The Foundational Core
“Eloquentia perfecta may sound like one of the more benign spells cast by Hermione Granger in a Harry Potter novel. Yet to those well versed in Jesuit tradition, the phrase evokes an elegance and erudition in learning and communication, whether in public speaking or writing, that is directed not toward the mere perfection of these skills but toward service to the common good.”
-Kevin Clarke, “How to Build a Better Student,” America
Voice is distinctive our humanity, and individual voice is a token of our uniqueness as persons.
We require of all incoming students a Fall writing seminar and a Spring speaking-intensive core seminar because these courses provide students who are transitioning to higher education with a strong foundation in eloquentia perfecta, the eloquence that enables us to use our voices well. Proficiency in communication in the Jesuit tradition not only contributes to each student’s academic success, but also helps orient her to our educational mission: to form students of well-educated solidarity.
Acquiring such proficiency is not a solo project. Students will be a part of the same small cohort of students for both the Fall and Spring Foundational Core seminars, learning together, supporting one another over the course of the year, and exploring self and world in community. This cohort experience offers students the opportunity to build skills in critical thinking and problem solving about college-level expectations and the culture of higher education. It also introduces them to the roles and responsibilities of membership in a diverse and supportive community through engaging in free and civil discourse. This introduction is essential to students’ success in the distributive and integrative core curriculum as well as in specific programs of study.
Regis College offers several opportunities to magnify this curricular experience with distinctive pathways through the first year experience: the Arrupe Program; the Commitment Program; the En/Route Program; the Honors Program; and the Magis Living-Learning Community.
Advising and Mentoring
The choice to come to college is the choice to start something new. In the Regis First Year Experience, we ask students “to choose that choice” in two senses.
On the one hand, college offers many opportunities (some startlingly unexpected) to begin again, to reconsider the reasons for being in college and the personal meaning of pursuing higher education. In the First Year Experience, we encourage students to embrace those opportunities for a new start.
On the other hand, college is not only about what students do, but also who they become. In the First Year Experience, we encourage students to choose both the “what “ of their adult freedom and the “who.”
It is for this reason that the Fall writing seminar professor also serves as academic advisor for students in their first year. These advisors meet students where they are as newcomers; guide them in reflecting on their passions, their strengths, their limitations; and help them connect those things to their goals and to the world around them. In addition, our advisors engage students in the kind of thoughtful exploration and planning which leads to responsible decisions about and increasing responsibility for coursework and a course of study. Finally, our advisors can help direct students to resources they may need to be successful and to the many other potential mentors on campus for support in becoming more discerning about their experiences.
Your Academic Home
The Office of the First Year Experience partners with others in our mission to create an academic culture of radical hospitality, a culture which welcomes newcomers and helps them to make our house their home.
To that end, we collaborate with Admissions and with Student Affairs to offer varied and cohesive range of programming which orients students in transition during the summer before and during the Fall and Spring semesters of their first year—that is, from the time they choose to come to Regis until they successfully transition to their second year.
We hope that first-year students, in turn, will pay forward the hospitality they experience, that they will join us in building a community more and more committed to inclusive excellence, diversity, and well-educated solidarity.