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Faculty discuss first-year challenges

September 30, 2013

Having tenured professors teach and advise freshmen gives students numerous advantages, but it can also be intimidating for young women just out of high school.
That’s one challenge first-year students face as they transition to Stephens College, said Annette Digby, vice president of academic affairs. Digby joined a faculty panel Saturday morning to talk to parents of first-year students about adjusting to college. The event was part of Family Weekend.
At Stephens, students work alongside tenured and tenure-track faculty all four years, meaning they’re working with professors who have decades of experience and long lists of scholarly accolades. That’s unique to Stephens—at most colleges and universities, students don’t begin working with tenured faculty until their junior years, and graduate assistants teach most freshmen-level courses.
Freshmen here just need to realize that they should take advantage of that, Digby said. They shouldn’t be afraid to ask questions, share ideas or ask for advice or help.
“Everyone here wants to see you succeed,” said Jim Terry, association professor of art history. “Pester us. This is what we do.”
While college is sometimes portrayed as a “non-stop party” in the media, Stephens students quickly realize that it requires work.
“Stephens College is a job,” President Dianne Lynch said. “You work as hard as a young professional college student as you would as a young professional in the office.”
And students are welcome to contribute to the workplace as much as anyone.

“This is a place where ideas become possible—where anything is possible,” Lynch said.

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