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First-Year Students and Religious, Secular, and Spiritual Identities

Equity, Inclusion and Social Justice Spirituality and Religion in Higher Education
J. Cody Nielsen Dickinson College

Every year, millions of incoming first-year students experience living on their own for the first time, and the opportunities and challenges of the transition. From this story comes the work of Tim Clydesdal, author of The First Year Out: Lives of American Teenagers Post High School, in which he outlines that the first year is a year of “life management.” With all the framing stories that begin to be built, one of the most important is that of religious and spiritual identity.

Join Cody Nielsen alongside Tim as we explore how colleges and universities can help the first-year student to be curious, find a place to explore, and identify with their religious, secular, and spiritual ideologies in a healthy way. Explore the complexity of the first-year experience and the “life management” aspects Tim has uncovered. And go deep in knowing how to support the first-year student in their transition.

Learning Outcomes

Participants will be able to

  • understand the needs of students who are new to campus and how they need both be exposed and protected from ideologies and belief systems;
  • learn methods to keep these experiences open to other upperclassman students; and
  • articulate why the university needs to pay attention to religious, secular, and spiritual identities as a part of vocational discernment for college first-year students and others.
Course Length
Course Type
On Demand

Register Online