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A National Honor for UCís Advocate of Freshmen

She has championed the success of programs for first-year students in workshops and seminars that draw students, faculty and staff. Now, Pamela Person will receive a national award for her efforts to not only welcome first-year students to campus, but also to keep them here until they achieve a degree.

Date: 2/12/2007
By: Dawn Fuller
Phone: (513) 556-1823
Photos By: Dottie Stover
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Pamela Person
Pamela Person

Pamela Person, director of the University of Cincinnati Center for First Year Experience (FYE) and Learning Communities, is receiving national recognition for efforts to help first-year students adjust to college and become successful graduates. Person, of Clifton, is one of 10 college educators from around the nation who will receive the 2007 Outstanding First-Year Student Advocate Award at the Annual Conference on The First-Year Experience, which will be held Feb. 16-20 in Addison, Texas.

For 15 years, this award Ė sponsored by the National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience & Students in Transition (based at the University of South Carolina) and the Houghton Mifflin Publishing Company Ė has recognized college faculty, administrators, staff and students for their work with first-year students, and the impact their efforts have on students as well as the culture of their institutions.

Person says the model for UCís FYE program was first developed in 2002, the same year she became director of UCís Learning Communities under the FYE program. Last fall, UCís Learning Communities marked their seventh year at UC as a university-wide initiative, with 90 learning communities and 1,504 first-year students enrolled in learning communities for fall quarter.

Pamela Person and Learning Communities student mentors Laura Deller and Brian McCloy

UC defines a Learning Community as a group of approximately 25 first-year students who take two or more courses together. Students are encouraged to take their learning beyond the classroom through Blackboard discussions, student groups and extracurricular activities. Building these connections in and out of the classroom builds support for first-year students as they adjust to a new campus, a class scheduling system thatís different from the daily routine of high school, and other issues that can interfere with the academic success.

Pamela Person

Person spreads the word about FYE programs and their success through presentations and workshops for faculty, staff and student leaders. At the Annual Conference on The First-Year Experience in Atlanta, sheíll be sharing news about the success of UCís FYE Faculty-Student Activity Grant Program. The grant provides support for faculty who plan activities with students outside the classroom. National research suggests that networking with faculty both in and out of the classroom strengthens student success toward achieving a diploma.

In an age where new students are deciding in just a few weeks whether theyíre going to stay or leave a particular college or university, Pamela Person is strengthening the bonds that allow students to look into the faces of friends instead of so many strangers on a large, urban research university campusĖ to see an exciting, rather than a daunting, academic challenge. Itís a plan thatís showing success as the student arrives at his or her biggest day of all on campus Ė Commencement.

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