This year we welcomed 49 new students into the College of Optometry for orientation on Wednesday, August 16 through Friday, August 18, 2017. The three day orientation provided the Class of 2021 with important information for academic and personal success. In addition, to having the largest class this year—Wednesday was added to the orientation schedule to ensure we were able to provide all the necessary information to the students.
Each of these 49 students came from various backgrounds, cities, states, and even countries. According to Director of Student and Alumni Services Nick Palisch, “This year’s class is a diverse group of individuals with a varying degree of background and they are academically prepared for the next four years.” The three-day orientation provided the class with information on policy, protocol, and expectations as a member of the professional program.
Wednesday provided the students with all the policies and expectations that the program has set forth. Students received a binder which contained all the policies, expectations, and the need-to-know information to aid them over the next several years. “The binder was designed from recommendations of prior classes and to more effectively distribute the information to the students in one place and organized in a way that makes the binder a resource on policy and expectations” Palisch said.
On Thursday, Dr. Ed Bennett, Assistant Dean of Student and Alumni Services led the students in getting to know one another better. Throughout the day Bennett had the students in small groups getting to know each other better through identifying who was their biggest influence, what they had in common, and what makes them unique. The day also included a student panel of college leaders offering answers advice to the new class. During lunch students were able to meet with representatives from the various student organizations and hear all about what they have to offer.
The AOSA hosted the Annual Back-to-School picnic in Forest Park on Thursday evening where many of the incoming students along with significant others had the opportunity to have some picnic food and fun with the other classes.
Orientation concluded on Friday with a welcome from Provost Dr. Kristin Soblick, and other members of the university. Dean Larry Davis along with Dr. Erin Brooks spoke to students about study strategies and academic success. Dr. Julie Dekinder, Director of Academic Programs provided students with important information on academic policy and academic success.
This year the college also welcomed in Karen Munkel, from Counseling Services to speak about stress and other mental health issues that can impact students in a professional program. As part of a growing trend across the country, the College of Optometry recognizes that mental and physical health is a crucial element of academic success.
Students enjoyed a Friday night social event at the Moonrise Hotel in University City to wrap up three days of orientation and to socialize with other students at the college. Three days of information and preparation for classes that began on Monday, August 21, 2017.