By Ben Rosenberg
John Cabot University’s new orientation program First Voyage is off to a good start.
The program, which was adopted by JCU in the Spring 2009, was designed to keep students enrolled in the university by helping them to adjust and assimilate to their new environment. This means learning about the local culture and traditions, as well as JCU’s educational system.
Carmen Scarpati, of the Registrar’s Office, came up with the program while working towards her PHD in business administration in higher education management at the University of Bath. She wanted to develop a program that would foster a sense of community among students while at the same time enable them to feel comfortable and independent in their new environment.
This sense of community is especially needed at a diverse university such as JCU, she said.
The program is made up of a number of workshops that cover a wide range of topics including but not limited to money management, time and study management, student counseling and career services.
One of the major components in the First Voyage program are the library workshops. The library workshops explain what resources are available to students in the library from the online catalogue to the skills necessary to track down a specific title.
“It is necessary for students to take a hands-on approach in learning about library resources,” said Livia Piotto, JCU’s reference librarian, about the workshops that will run from the 21 – 24 September. “Just sitting there listening to someone talk won’t do. In the workshops, students will collaborate with each other to learn about the practical applications of the library’s facilities.” She also stressed the importance of approaching the experienced library workers whenever a student needs help.
The other program of interest is First Mates. In this program a current student is teamed up with a staff member and a group of 10-12 new students to help them through their first year. This is a way for students to have a small “support group” to turn to for assistance and guidance.