Program focuses on studies for first-year students
Archived article from Oct 29, 1999
By Alice Roche Cody
While it's usually not hard for first-year students to develop a social life at college, it's often more difficult for them to get into the swing of studying, writing papers and taking exams.
In response, Rutgers College implemented an innovative program called "First-Year Residential Learning" that includes an academic program series, study groups, peer editing partners and weekly lectures on topics such as drugs and alcohol, study strategies and midterm anxieties.
"We've found that students have no trouble building a social community in the first-year residence hall, but that it's more difficult to build an intellectual community," said Associate Dean Joan Carbone. "The program offers support during a student's first year -- the most difficult academic time. If we get students to learn in groups the first year, then hopefully they will continue."
The program is coordinated by Denniston Bonadie, who schedules guest speakers and ensures that the entire program runs smoothly. He also oversees the 20 student academic community programmers (ACPs) who live in the eight residence halls and work directly with the students to plan activities and coordinate study programs.
Amber Boner, an ACP who lives in Campbell Hall, finds that students often knock on her door to discuss such problems as registration or the busing system as well as academic concerns. "A lot of the students feel better having someone in the dorm they can talk to," she said. "They're not as uptight speaking to us as to a dean.
"We're making it easy for them to have an academic life and a social life," she pointed out. "They can go out and have fun, but they're here to study."