News & Announcements
New students to see new programming and support
The Office for Student Orientation & Transition Programs was established in October 2012 to support new first-year, change-of-campus and advance standing transfer students in their transition into and through Penn State. The office, a collaboration between Undergraduate Education and Student Affairs, brings together established programs such as Welcome Week, Link UP, and Change-of-Campus/Transfer Orientation programs with programming initiatives like the expanded two-day New Student Orientation program (formerly First-Year Testing, Consulting, and Advising Program).
New first-year students will be invited to spend two days on the University Park campus this summer for New Student Orientation (NSO). Academic advising and course registration continue to serve
as cornerstones of the NSO program. The expanded programming time allows new students, and their parents, to gain additional knowledge of available academic, co-curricular and social support services. The program also provides opportunities for students to experience campus housing and dining options, engage in discussions about expectations and community values, and network with other new students and current student leaders.
In addition to NSO, a common reading program called "Penn State Reads" will be introduced to first-year students at University Park this summer. New students will receive a copy of the book and be asked to read it before they return for classes in August. Throughout the year students, faculty, staff and community members will be invited to participate in a series of events and conversations about the text – including a keynote by the book's author. "Beautiful Souls" by Eyal Press has been selected as the Penn State Reads book for 2013-2014.
Accepted Student Programs welcome PA students
University staff will hit the road this spring to provide information to students throughout Pennsylvania who have been offered admission to one of Penn State's 20 undergraduate campuses. Accepted Student Programs will be held in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Wilkes-Barre, and Lancaster in March and April. Each event will include an admissions presentation, panel discussion with representatives from Housing, Student Aid, and the Penn State Parents Program, and an information fair featuring campuses and academic colleges.
The programs began in 2012 as a way to engage students from Pennsylvania who were not able to visit the campus to which they were offered admission. Similar events are held in the fall for high school seniors throughout Pennsylvania who are interested in applying to Penn State.
Online modules to support teaching and learning
The Schreyer Institute for Teaching Excellence has developed three online, self-paced modules designed to provide information and support to instructors on a variety of teaching and learning-related issues. These modules provide an opportunity for faculty to interact with the material through brief quizzes or by submitting materials to a consultant for review. The first modules include "Working with Student Teams," "Item Analysis," and "Learning Outcomes Assessment." These modules will allow faculty to learn new teaching, learning, and assessment skills at their own convenience. The creation of additional modules, including "Assessment in Online Courses" and "Best Practices for Power Point," are planned.
Certificate record-keeping improved
A certificate is a formal award documenting the satisfactory completion of a postsecondary educational curriculum and is intended to foster development of an area of specialty or competency within a discipline or field of study. Certificate programs are increasingly popular, both among students and University academic units. Students often earn certificates as credentials to qualify them for career advancement or to learn new skills in order to make a career change. Academic units find certificate programs to be attractive sources of income. As a result, the number of certificate programs at the University has grown significantly.
In the past, certificate programs were administered by colleges and record-keeping was decentralized. The lack of a structured process resulted in, at best, the inability for prospective students to see a list of all certificate programs and, at worst, incomplete student records. Students who enrolled in, paid for, and completed a certificate program might find that it did not appear on their official transcript when they later needed to provide proof of completion to a potential employer.
In 2011, the Administrative Council for Undergraduate Education (ACUE) created and the Graduate Council updated policies surrounding certificates. These policies require the use of Penn State's online certificate system to create, approve and change certificate programs, enroll students in certificates, and award certificates to students.
These policies were implemented in January 2012, resulting in improved record-keeping and service to students. Undergraduate credit certificate programs now are published in the Undergraduate Bulletin and graduate and postbaccalaureate certificates are published in the Graduate Bulletin. Consistent, accurate and complete records of student participation in and completion of certificate programs now appear on official Penn State transcripts.
Global engagement seminar now available online
The Division of Undergraduate Studies recently hosted a scholarly professional development seminar on "Fostering Student Global Engagement through Academic Advising." Video recordings of this session, along with presenter materials and program details, are available at http://dus.psu.edu/advisers/global_engagement.html.
The seminar highlighted the importance of academic advising in cultivating a global perspective in undergraduate students. Keynote speaker Robert Crane, Ph.D., professor of geography and director of Penn State Alliance for Education, Science, Engineering, and Development in Africa presented "Understanding Globalization and Promoting Student Global Engagement," focusing on the social and educational context in which educators teach and advise students. He addressed various perspectives on globalization, illustrated different forms of student engagement available at Penn State, and suggested ways to promote these programs.
Follow-up sessions by speakers from across the University highlighted key aspects of global education, including resources and institutional channels of support for student global engagement through the University Office of Global Programs and the College of the Liberal Arts; opportunities to engage students with global issues such as sustainability, human rights, democracy building, and global health; and the current trends and strategies of global