New GT 1000 Sections Tailored to Special Interest Populations

This fall, some students will have the opportunity to participate in one of four new sections of GT 1000 — Georgia Tech’s First-Year Seminar — that was created to fit their specific needs as they transition to college life.

GT 1000 Group Discussions
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Students participate in group discussions in a GT1000 class in the Skiles building.

“The sections came about as a result of a need that the instructors, students, and I identified in spring 2013,” said Nirmal Trivedi, director of Academic Transition Programs in Georgia Tech’s Center for Academic Enrichment.

The four new sections were created to better serve the needs of student veterans, first-generation students, women, and students in the College of Architecture. 

Andy Altizer, the Georgia Tech Police Department’s director of emergency preparedness and a veteran himself, will facilitate the veterans’ section this semester.

“Veterans are different from other first-year students because they tend to be older and often have full-time jobs outside of school,” Altizer said. “Some even already have families.”

Altizer’s class will cover all of the traditional GT 1000 curriculum, such as academic success strategies, resume preparation and presentation skills, but will also be tailored to veterans’ specific needs.

“These are students that generally tend to just come to campus, park their car, go to class, and then leave,” he said. “They tend to feel disconnected from campus life, so it’s important for us to reach out to them to pull them in and help build a sense of community for them. Coming from a military organization with unit cohesion, mission focus, and structure to an academic environment can be a challenge for student veterans.”

Altizer plans to hold many of his class meetings in different locations to encourage his students to get to know the campus. Guest speakers from various departments such as the Registrar’s Office and Leadership and Civic Engagement will seek to motivate student veterans to utilize their services and get to know people who can help them succeed at Tech.

First-generation students are another segment of the student population that GT 1000 is reaching out to this year. Cecili Reid, a first-generation undergraduate student and the founder of Tech’s FirstGen campus organization, facilitated the development of this new section along with Trivedi and a team of GT 1000 instructors and team leaders.

“First-generation students are different from other freshmen for two main reasons,” Reid said. “They may not be aware of some of the nuances that are typical of college life but are not taught during orientation, and relations between parents and the student are more likely to impact the student’s social life during college.”

The first-generation section will be taught by Dana Hartley, academic professional in Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, and Beatriz Hegidio, a learning specialist in the Center for Academic Success. Students in their class will learn about Tech’s organizational structure, discuss their relationships with parents and learn how to handle conflict, and gain a better understanding of processes such as registration and financial aid.

“There are studies that say that first-generation students are just as likely as other students to be accepted to college, but are less likely to matriculate,” Reid said. “I think that the components of our cohort will help students learn and understand more about how to be a successful student and excel despite any perceived or actual obstacles they may face.”

First-year Tech students can register for GT 1000 through the link to OSCAR on their BuzzPort homepage. A permit is required to register for the veterans’ section; for instructions on how to acquire a registration permit, contact Nirmal Trivedi at nirmal.trivedi@gatech.edu.