Traditions and Transitions (T&T) is just one of the many programs helping Newman University students transform society from the very start of their college career.
T&T is a freshman seminar designed to improve students’ academic success and help in their social transition to college life. All first-year students are required to attend the once-a-week class in their first semester at Newman.
The overarching goal of T&T is for students to create a long-lasting connection to Newman through ongoing support from faculty, staff and other students across the university.
This year, two faculty — Jill Fort, associate vice president of academic affairs, and Kate Bussell, director of student success — have helped bring new life to the first-year experience by revamping the structure of T&T.
“We were very student-focused,” says Fort. “We wanted to make sure we met the needs of our students in this course.”
To ensure this happened, a group of faculty and staff met throughout the spring 2022 semester to determine four major areas they hope are specifically addressed this year. These include orienting students, creating community, building a mission and focusing on the future.
Some items from previous semesters of T&T were revamped and updated, like the Newman scavenger hunt activity, while brand-new ideas and concepts were also brought in.
Previously, the Mass of the Holy Spirit and Matriculation Ceremony wasn’t discussed in the seminar. This year, Director of Mission Effectiveness Sister Therese Wetta, ASC, Newman Chaplain Father Adam Grelinger and Assistant Director of Campus Ministry Emily Simon made a video to explain what the Mass consists of and why it’s incorporated into the tradition of the Mass on campus.
Each T&T class not only watched the video and attended the Mass, but they also answered reflection questions about what their experience was like.
Another change from years past is that now all T&T classes are more similar across the board. This allows all first-time, full-time students to engage in a more common experience.
The T&T team will launch the first biannual Service and Scholar’s Day slated for Monday, Dec. 5. Since there are no classes that day, T&T students are encouraged to celebrate the accomplishments of upperclassmen who are participating in Scholar’s Day in the morning, break bread together at lunch and participate in a variety of service options in the afternoon.
Overall, the changes to T&T align with the university’s strategic plan and the CREDO Moving the Needle initiative by helping support students in deepening their connection to Newman and providing them the resources necessary to get a strong start in college.
Fort added, “The rework of T&T is intended to support, engage and equip students to create a community of learners who will embody the university mission and flourish.”
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