FYRE a hot topic as programs target retention
Diving straight into academia, all first-year Salem State students participated in the college’s First-Year Reading Experience (FYRE) when they arrived on campus in September. Part of an initiative to address student retention, FYRE is a component of the college’s Foundations of Excellence program, which seeks to engage new students in scholarly pursuits and make them feel at home within the college community. FYRE kicked off the fall semester on Opening Day with college administrators, staff and faculty joining new students to discuss the assigned summer reading, Listening is an Act of Love: A Celebration of American Life from the StoryCorps Project.
Among those taking part was President Patricia Maguire Meservey, who engaged in dialogue with freshmen in a classroom on the third floor of the Sullivan Building. The conversation was led by education Professor Michelle Pierce, one of five Fulbright scholars on the Salem State faculty. The book, a collection of reflections on the American experience, including the civil rights movement, the AIDS epidemic, 9/11, and Hurricane Katrina, is one that resonated with students—classrooms across campus were filled with lively discussions between first-year students and the more than 50 faculty and staff members who volunteered as facilitators.
Follow-up events are planned to continue discussion of the book’s themes throughout the academic year, including a special dance performance inspired by Listening is an Act of Love on Saturday, May 1, 2010, at 7:30 pm in the O'Keefe Center.
Photo caption: Professor Jim Fallon of the Theatre and Speech Communications department and Salem State freshmen take part in a First-Year Reading Experience (FYRE) class in the Sullivan Building at the start of the fall semester.