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YearOne: Making Connections in the First Year

YearOne is a course that most Lyon College students are familiar with. Despite some students’ mixed feelings toward the class, it is intended to directly support them both academically and socially. The program has evolved over time, but Dr. Jennifer Daniels, the current director of the program, said,”We have always had a freshman course of some kind. There has always been some version of a weekly or biweekly class of small groups of first-time, full-time freshmen intended to acclimate them to the academic aspects of college life.”

The incoming freshman class is currently enrolled in a new version of the YearOne program. Each course is designed to include a high-interest topic that was chosen by the faculty member leading it. Daniels believes that the “passion and enthusiasm” the faculty have for their topics is “what every incoming Lyon College student needs to see.” Nicholas McDonald, a freshman from Conway, Arkansas said, “I think this is a great course to find out about what our professors find interesting and want to teach us, [...] and [it] is a nice relaxed transition into the rigors of college life.” The topics also allow the classes to be less hypothetical and more application-based. Dr. Daniels explained, “Now that we have these topics, there is simply more stuff to hook into.”

The course is designed to show new students how to succeed academically and become involved socially, and seems to be accomplishing those goals. Dr. Daniels said, “[YearOne] attempts to get [incoming freshmen] connected to the community as early as possible.” She believes such a course is especially necessary for small institutions like Lyon in order for the students to be able to connect with the institution itself because “not only is your hall your community, not only is your community your team, not only is your community your cohort, but it’s also the faculty.”

Jonah Glover from Fayetteville, Arkansas described feeling a sense of “community and connection” in his YearOne class, and added, “The faculty seems super involved, and they care about each of their students.” Other students also agreed that what sets Lyon apart from other institutions is the personable atmosphere and the connections. Madeline Newman from Salem, Arkansas said, “[The faculty] talk to me and remembered my name, which was a lot different than anywhere else I went.” McDonald described it as a “tight-knit community,” and Corinne Stevens from St. Louis, Missouri said she feels she’s not just “one in a million.”

Dr. Daniels nicely summed up what makes Lyon special: “That’s where the gift of Lyon really is, it’s in our relationships with each other.”