I’ve noticed a pattern emerging in Higher Ed. of institutions building programs for first year students. Frequently it is a part of the Quality Enhancement Plan for accreditation purposes. The point of it is to help students become acclimated to the school and to help them with writing and thinking, since we all know that many students are coming out of high school without those skills.
As I was reading through an article from Hollins University (http://www.hollins.edu/magazine/?p=4560) stating that the first-year seminar courses were geared to emphasize traditional skills needed to succeed in the classroom but also to help student’s find a passion in learning, to learn collaboratively and have an interdisciplinary approach to learning. All of these goals definitely tie in with Hollins’ mission statement. However, do these first-year seminars or classes that institutions (including Virginia Tech, at least within the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences) are forcing students to take really help the students in the long run?