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Students at Orientation 2018

Introducing: UM Orientation 2019

May 17, 2019 — 

Some new and exciting things are on the way for orienting new students to the U of M.  We sat down with Ali Wood-Warren, First Year Centre Coordinator, and Melissa Warden Black, Orientation and Transitions Coordinator to find out how they’re approaching orientation differently this year.

 What made you decide to shake things up?

Melissa: In the past, the U of M had a set of events and offerings that were intended to ‘orient’ students to the U of M, but they weren’t being presented cohesively.  Because of this, incoming students were taking part in certain events and not others, and not everyone was getting the same experience. We got feedback from students who had participated in our programming in the past, heard what worked and what didn’t, and made some changes.

Ali: We can’t expect these students who are coming fresh out of high school to just get with the program in a single day of Orientation right before they start classes.  We want them to take the summer, participate in our different programming, and think of Orientation as a process.

How is UM Orientation 2019 different from what’s been offered in the past?

Ali: We decided to change the focus of some of our previous events, and add some, so we can really meet the needs of the students.  This year, we are offering three main on-campus events, and a new and improved online component, called UM Essentials, plus smaller workshop-type offerings.

Melissa: The three on-campus events are: What’s Next? (June 1, 2019) which is taking the place of Head Start, and focusing more on what students told us they wanted at this phase of the process: course planning, registration, and exploring their faculty options. Then on July 17, we’re adding an event called Making the Grade! which will get students on campus mid-summer to get them comfortable, maybe get some of the administrative stuff out of the way, and show them all of the different options they’ve got for student support and getting involved. That way, when it comes to Welcome Day (September 3), they can focus more on socializing and making friends, rather than spending hours in line to get their Student ID Card.

Tell us more about UM Essentials.

Melissa: We wanted to find a way to include students who can’t necessarily take part in the on campus summer events, and also lighten the load of information we tend to throw at students in our typical fall Orientation day. UM Essentials is available to all incoming students on UM Learn starting in June, and it offers information on things like academic integrity, getting involved on campus, and also familiarizes students with some of our crucial policies on substance use and sexual violence. The idea is to give students a way to learn all of this important information in a digestible, understandable way.

 What should be the first step in getting the most out of the new UM Orientation?

Ali: Register for What’s Next? – it’s going to be a really great day on our Fort Garry campus. Students and their families are welcome to come check out their future campus home.  They’re going to learn a lot, and it’s a great opportunity to get more comfortable with this next stage in their life.

For more information, and to register for all upcoming UM Orientation 2019 events, click here.

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