Few freshmen realize that signing up for a credit card to get a free pizza could affect their ability to buy their first house. Participants in a new learning community at the University of Georgia, however, will learn to manage their finances along with other helpful tips for success in college and life.
Freshman FAC(T)S is sponsored by the College of Family and Consumer Sciences, which offers majors such as family financial planning, consumer economics, fashion merchandising, furnishings and interiors, consumer foods, and child and family development. Students who join the community in fall 2010 will explore topics such as the best places to buy textbooks, successful time management and why it's important to protect personal information from identity thieves.
Freshman FAC(T)S is the seventh learning community established at UGA. The communities allow 20 first-year students with similar academic interests to live together in Creswell Hall, take courses together and participate in community projects. A UGA faculty member who teaches seminar classes and directs a community project with the students leads each learning community.
Assistant Professor of Housing and Consumer Economics Diann Moorman developed the idea for Freshman FAC(T)S and previously worked in another learning community.
"I really enjoy the interaction with freshmen and the philosophy behind learning communities," Moorman said. "I wanted a place for FACS students to experience the growth and closeness that others are getting in the programs."
Students in Freshman FAC(T)S will take the following classes together: Family Economic Issues Through the Life, English Composition, and a freshman seminar class in the fall and spring.
"The best thing about a learning community is how the students are always open to hear and do new things," said Silvia Giraudo, FACS associate professor of foods and nutrition, who leads a learning community on nutrition and health. "It's a great opportunity for the students to see if what they think is their field of interest is really the area they want to pursue."
In addition to discussions on life as a freshman at UGA, seminar classes will include guest speakers in financial planning, campus safety and career planning.
"Learning communities are great ways to get to know the students on a more personal level," Moorman said. "They bond together as a group and become the students who stay actively involved in the university and the college throughout their time here."