July 29, 2015
Student Success Center Publishes Book for Incoming Freshmen
You should never judge a book by its cover. Or should you? The Student Success Center at West Virginia Wesleyan College has been working on a book intended for the new incoming class of first-year students titled Greetings from WVWC: Letters to Our Incoming Freshmen.
The book, filled with 53 letters written by faculty, staff, students, alumni, and trustees, is considered to be the Center’s take on a common reading. Many institutions utilize common readings for incoming students; they are thought to provide these students with a common experience, a link between freshman seminar courses, a common conversation point, and introductions to the types of discussions that will happen at the college level.
“We decided to take this common model and personalize it,” stated Alison Clausen, Title III/student success coordinator. “In addition to the benefits of a typical common reading, we were hoping to help our students make connections on campus before they even get here. We have a really passionate group of people at Wesleyan, and we knew that would shine through in the letters.”
The book project, funded by the Title III Grant in an effort to increase student engagement in the classroom, was the brainchild of Clausen, First-Year Academic Advisor Shauna Jones ’92, MFA ’13, and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Boyd Creasman. Jones worked hard on getting the project off the ground and coordinating the letter writers, and it was truly a team effort with Clausen and Creasman, as well as Phil McCollam, assistant professor of art, who designed the cover art.
“As a writer, the potential of the project thrilled me,” stated Jones. “We wanted this book to be something that would provide new students with perspectives and tips for transitioning into the Wesleyan community and would be something they could start reading at home before orientation weekend.
“I believe the book succeeds in three ways: helping students gain a sense of the special energy of our Wesleyan community, allowing the contributors to express what keeps that energy alive, and giving our freshman seminar instructors another tool to help discuss the transition to college,” continued Jones.
Greetings from WVWC may be a personal account of 53 different people, but the unified theme of the book is the sharing of the passion for Wesleyan that each author expresses.
“Our hope is that a student will read a letter that they really connect to, realize that the individual writing that letter is a real, accessible person to them, and start building a relationship right away,” commented Clausen. “We are excited for our incoming students to open the mail and start reading the book; enthusiasm and love for Wesleyan seep from the pages. They are in for a good read.”
Developed from the $10M Title III Grant awarded to the College in 2014, the Student Success Center provides services, including advising, academic skill seminars, and assistance in internship placement, designed to assist in the academic development of students at Wesleyan.
For more information on Greetings from WVWC: Letters to Our Incoming Freshmen, please contact Clausen or Jones in the Student Success Center at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com, respectively.
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