General Education

General Education

Autumn Term

2014 ActivatorsAutumn Term is the cornerstone of Eckerd's unique version of the traditional school orientation. It establishes the academic expectations and social responsibilities of being a member of the Eckerd College community. Required of all new first year students and available to some transfer students, this three week term occurs before the fall semester begins and the return of the entire student body. Other than residence life staff and upperclass student "activators" to help provide some guidance, the new students have the campus to themselves with the full attention of faculty and staff. It incorporates an academic course, campus activities, faculty mentorship and civic engagement. Very few colleges and universities can boast of such an academically engaging and comprehensive introduction to college life as what Eckerd provides through the Autumn Term experience.

Ceremony of LightsBeginning on the day of arrival to campus with the Ceremony of Lights, welcoming students to the College, and continuing through the last day of Autumn Term, students will develop the skills to be successful college scholars and citizens. Each student is enrolled in one course chosen from a wide selection of non-traditional offerings that are not available during regular academic semesters. The courses introduce students to college-level writing, oral communication and research. This academic journey includes guidance, each professor teaching Autumn Term serves as the mentor for each student in their class. The mentor encourages students to make the most of the learning opportunities at Eckerd, helps set goals, begins the planning stages for earning a degree in a chosen major and urges involvement in the wide array of campus activities. This partnership is the centerpiece of faculty-student interaction and serves as the foundation of the general education requirements that continue into Human Experience, the writing portfolio, Quest for Meaning and ultimately commencement.

Yellow BikesAlthough academics are the main thrust of Autumn Term, with papers to write, presentations to give, and examinations to pass, there is still a major component that emphasizes the traditional orientation activities like making friends, having fun and getting your fill of fresh squeezed orange juice in the cafeteria. There is even an Autumn Term calendar that outlines the required events like class, but also highlights the myriad of sponsored activities like movies, community service, campus-wide parties, comedians and off-campus adventure.

CommencementThis exclusively Eckerd approach to the first year experience has garnered recognition and praise from many in higher education. However, it is the students, parents and families that make up the Eckerd community, who appreciate and applaud the results of this effort to provide the best possible start to the college experience, that matter most.

Student Retrospective

"I feel as though Autumn Term prepared us with a better understanding of the campus and allowed us to start creating long-lasting friendships you can always count on." - Cat Pappas
"We didn't just make a new start in those three weeks, we made a new life and that's why Autumn Term will be an experience that we will carry with us for the rest of our time here at Eckerd College." - Hailey Escobar

Read Hailey's Autumn Term reflections piece (doc)

What is Autumn Term?