With virtual IntroDUCKtion, students get faculty face time

IntroDUCKtion, the University of Oregon’s summer orientation experience for incoming students, has a different format this year, and it’s offering new Ducks an opportunity to dive into faculty research.

“Even though it's been a challenge to quickly move to a virtual format for IntroDUCKtion, I think there are a number of ways that the faculty perspectives program is actually better for students,” said Josh Snodgrass, associate vice provost for undergraduate research and distinguished scholarships, and point person for IntroDUCKtion’s faculty perspectives program.

He said the student orientation program team has a comprehensive plan for students this summer. Included in the program is a goal to connect students with faculty members and research opportunities.  Faculty members are working to show students how that might translate into future opportunities for students in their studies.

In the past, IntroDUCKtion was a two-day, in-person orientation on campus packed with activities, including one randomly assigned faculty perspectives talk. Going virtual has greatly increased student and faculty interaction.  

“This new format has been an exciting opportunity to rethink how orientation programs approaches supporting students in their transition to college,” said Cora Bennett, director of student orientation programs. “I am so pleased we can produce these lectures, provide meaningful live engagement, and deliver them to students and families wherever they are.” 

This year, attendees have a total of 40 mock lectures to choose from, spread across five different and globally relevant tracks: COVID-19, anti-racism, the environment and climate change, engaged humanities, and innovation and entrepreneurship. Incoming freshman will attend 10 mock lectures to complete their orientation requirement.

“By attending so many talks, and by having the opportunity to choose which talks they attend, students get exposed to an array of possible majors and research possibilities but all within an area that's of interest to them,” Snodgrass said. “This introduces students to what it means to be at a research university with research opportunities available across the spectrum of majors, and it makes clear that the courses they take are infused with research done by our faculty.”

Incoming freshman can watch the talks live or tune in asynchronously when it works best with their schedule. New this year, these incoming students have the opportunity to earn one free course credit for engaging in 20 faculty perspectives talks, completing a reflection assignment for each, and completing a final written summary of their experience.

Provost and Senior Vice President Patrick Phillips launched the anti-racism track with his July 9 talk on the Black Lives Matter movement, the history of racism in the United States and the UO’s commitment to equity.

All talks will be posted on the Oregon Welcome YouTube channel.