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SOAR-ing changes this summer

The signature student orientation, advising and registration event for new Roadrunners gets an update.

By Cory Phare

May 31, 2018

Students at New Student ConvocationYou’ll likely notice large groups of students and families, nervous and excited, milling about the Metropolitan State University of Denver campus this summer.

That’s because the University’s student orientation, advising and registration has just kicked off – and with it, noticeable changes to help new Roadrunners find a place to belong at MSU Denver. 

“We wanted to take a step back and look at SOAR beyond a one-time experience” said Megan Scherzberg, Ph.D., director of orientation, transition and retention for Roadways. “We’re looking at the entire experience as a transition to help students be successful through graduation and beyond.”

Some of the key elements include:

  • A pre-orientation online module, consisting of a series of two- to three-minute videos that detail resources such as the Access Center and Student Hub and processes including immunization and health-insurance requirements. “We wanted to get away from the box-checking to more intentional engagement for attendees,” Scherzberg said.
  • Roadrunner Roundups are engagement rotations on the morning of SOAR to build connections to campus based on interest. Students will break into small groups with their orientation leaders based on their area of study to do three 25-minute info sessions, choosing from 11 offices including Student Activities, the Honors Program and more.
  • More engagement with faculty beyond the advising and registration process. In the afternoon, students will be partnered with faculty representatives for an academic welcome to learn what it means to be part of a specific department or college; families and supporters will receive a presentation too. “It takes a college to graduate someone, so when a student is connected to the faculty as part of their wraparound services, they’re more likely to successfully receive their diploma,” Scherzberg said.
  • An online portfolio called Portfolium to help document accomplishments and work throughout students’ MSU Denver experience will be introduced. “It’s like LinkedIn, where students can store essays, assignments and build a co-curricular résumé,” Scherzberg said. “And when they graduate, they’ll be able to say to future employers, ‘Here’s what I’ve done – and what I can do.’”
  • As part of the Roadways student-success initiative, students will be introduced to working with peer mentors and their support role throughout the journey to graduation.
  • Each student participating in SOAR will receive a copy of The Sun Does Shine, the upcoming academic year’s 1 Book/1 Project/2 Transform text about Anthony Ray Hinton’s experience of spending 30 years on death row before being exonerated. You can request a copy of the book for teaching or participatory purposes on the Roadways project website.
  • A post-online module will help build on the material covered in SOAR to help students continue to transition throughout their first semester and beyond.

For more information on SOAR, contact Megan Scherzberg

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