Ready To Learn: What Makes A Great StudentWe sat in the theater of the student center, six professors representing English, math, sociology, education, media studies and journalism. We sat awaiting the questions from a roomful of freshman students-to-be.
Across the country, young students - mostly 18- and 19-year-olds - are going through this annual rite of college initiation before starting a new phase of their life in earnest in a few weeks. It's called freshman orientation.
Our presence as faculty members was just one component of freshman orientation at Southern Connecticut State University, just one manifestation of the university's desire for the experience of its incoming freshmen to be a successful one.
In many schools throughout the nation, a significant number of freshmen will not return for their sophomore year. So what better group to meet and talk with them than those of us who will be their teachers?
There were questions about attendance and exams, about how to declare your major, what happens if you miss class, whether you are expected to know everything, what happens if you get sick and how much reading is expected.
Perhaps the most interesting question was this: What attributes would we use to describe the ideal student? I provided my description based on a student I had nearly 10 years ago and whom, interestingly enough, I heard from several weeks ago by e-mail. She was a journalism major but is now a teacher of English and journalism in northern California and looking to begin advising a school newspaper.
She was one of my all-time best students, not just for the grades she earned, but for the following ideal student attributes:
Still, we strive to do the best we can.
After that, it's in each student's hands.
Frank Harris III is chairman of the journalism department at Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven. His column appears every Monday. He can be reached at .