First-Year Experience

First-Year Experience

The Mission

The First-Year Experience (FYE) at Wesleyan College is designed to assist first-year students in the transition from high school to college and help students have a successful first-year of college. In collaboration with the Academic Resource Center, first-year students will have access to academic success resources including workshops, tutoring and mentorship, so all students will receive a student-centered academically challenging and relevant liberal arts education.

The Goal

The First-Year Experience (FYE) goal at Wesleyan College is to motivate and inspire first year students to reach their full academic potential while transitioning and enjoying the college experience. Students will get connected to all the services available to them on campus, in addition to social programming and peer mentoring to support student success.

Ken Blair smiles for the camera
Ken Blair
Director of First-Year Experience

I aspire to motivate and encourage students to reach their full potential while enjoying the college experience. My life's mission is to impact all students to achieve post-secondary success.

The First-Year Experience Events and Offerings

WISe 101

WISe 101

(Fall semester of First-year) 

“Education is an excellent way of moving beyond trauma to a place of agency, confidence, control, community, care, activism, and contribution.” –Cathy Davidson

The foundation of a Wesleyan education, WISe 101 is an interdisciplinary seminar that introduces First-Year students to academic life at Wesleyan and helps them to develop speaking and listening skills that create understanding across differences. The course models Wesleyan’s diverse and challenging academic community and helps students make the transition to Wesleyan’s participation-intensive, seminar-style classes, where all voices and perspectives become part of the learning experience. 

A Wesleyan education prepares students to communicate their truths bravely and become agents of change in both local and global contexts. In WISe 101, students learn from faculty and from each other—exploring divergent perspectives, deepening meaningful discussions, and working together to develop critical thinking skills. WISe 101 learning outcomes help students to:

  1. Read actively and synthesize complex ideas.
  2. Analyze and explain texts and information to others.
  3. Think critically about large, complex, and ongoing real-world issues.
  4. Communicate effectively and professionally in groups through writing and speech.
  5. Support ideas with evidenced-based reasoning skills.
  6. Research ideas further on library databases.
  7. Facilitate engaging, evidence-based, and collaborative discussions.

We also understand that students today are coming to college against a backdrop of multiple societal stressors and personal traumas, so we put a premium on self-care. Along with critical thinking and communication skills, WISe 101 teaches cognitive empathy and mindfulness tactics that help students to self-evaluate, decompress, and face the challenges of the current moment.

The current generation faces many challenges that will require strong evidence-based reasoning skills to adapt to new situations and work collaboratively for change. For over a decade, we’ve partnered with the Interactivity Foundation and have used their facilitated discussion methods—the same methods that leaders in business, education, and government use to address complex and ongoing real-world problems, such as education reform and the climate crisis. Each week, students meet in small groups and facilitate their own class discussions on topics such as racial justice, LGBTQIA+ rights, gender equity, climate change, and the purpose of a liberal arts education. In this flipped-classroom model, our faculty serve as coaches who help students develop speaking and listening skills as discussion participants, and planning and facilitation skills as discussion leaders. Through these weekly student-led discussions, students create close bonds as they get to know each other as thinkers, and strong communication skills that will help them to become active and engaged learners throughout their college careers.

For more information, please contact Dr. Melanie Doherty at

DID discussions on campus

Transition to College Lab

Transition to College Lab

(Fall semester of First-year) 

All new first-year students will participate in a lab that focuses on transitioning to college. The lab challenges students to assess their current skills and provides information on developing and refining college success skills. 

Resources Offered

Resources Available

  • First-Year Advising 
  • Academic Success Workshops 
  • Tutoring 
First-Year Experience Awards Ceremony

Congratulations to all award recipients!

First-Year Experience Awards Ceremony
April 21, 2021 at 1:30pm
View pictures from this First Annual Event.


Ashley Coughenour
Autumn Bryant-Williams
Cady Elizabeth Leach
Cailey Bryant
Candis Wright-Graham
Christian Fountain
Daebreon Buie
Diomary Rodriguez-Pizarro
Emily Evans
Hannah Cooper
Isabel Berhanu
Jada Brazzell
Jamie Munger
Josie Scordato
Juliahna Stuart
Keiarah King
Miyah Evans
Natalia Williams
Sarah Sulak
Tia Logan
Tyler Lewis
Valentina Blanchard
Zoe Redmond


Abigail Bunn
Autumn Hosalla
Ayanna Hoskins
Brooke Bennett
BrookeLynn Bing
Chloe Pierre-Mitchell
Dayshia Curry
Delontra Williams
Imani Higginbotham
Ingrid Mazariegos-Solis
Jalees Murphy
Jessica Hurst
Julia Chinkhan
Kasie Murphy
Lativa Ray
Lauryn DiGiovanni
Lessly Perez
Margaret Erwin
Nalleli Rostro
Savannah McBride
Trinity Burger

First-year students with their awards


First Gen-Day

First Gen-Day

(National Day Celebration is November 8th- 2nd Week of November )

An event to celebrate the success of first-generation college students, faculty, and staff on Wesleyan’s campus. First Generation students are graduates who are the first in their family to attend college and who enrolled at (or graduated from) a four year college or university. 

Here are a few quotes from Wesleyan faculty and staff:

"Being a first generation college student gives me a sense of pride and accomplishment."
- Kristi Peavy, BS, Georgia Southwestern State Univiersity; MS, Valdosta State University
"Being a First Generation College student meant a way to make my mother proud. She worked 3 jobs to give me the tools I'd needed to (in her words) 'do things better' than she did. I appreciated the opportunity to make her proud and to prove to the rest of my family that education matters."

- Dr. Virginia B. Wilcox '90,
Auburn University 1993 and 2005

"Being a first generation college student means that I have the strength to face challenges. Those first few years in college, than later in graduate school, provided me with a lot of practice in navigating new situations, which absolutely carried over into other areas of my life. Looking back, I know that every problem that I was able to work through become my motivation to keep going."
- Dr. Brooke Bennett-Day
BS, Valdosta State University; MS, Florida State University; PhD, Florida State University

Meet Ken Blair

Ken Blair smiles for the camera

Ken Blair began his career at Mercer University in 2014 as an associate director in the Office of Student Financial Planning. He joined Mercer’s student affairs department in 2017, serving as an educational specialist, academic coordinator, and advisor for the University’s TRiO programs. TRiO Programs consist of federally-funded college opportunity programs that motivate and support students, especially first year students, in their pursuit of a college degree. 

Blair also served as a UNV 101 instructor for first-year students at Mercer and as a co-advisor for the Minority Mentor program for first generation students, Mercer's National Pan-Hellenic Council, and the campus organization W.O.M.E.N. campus organizations. He’s also a Golden Key Honor Society member and served on the Student Affairs Assessment Committee. For the past two years, Blair was nominated for the Outstanding UNV 101 Instructor of the Year Award. He was recognized as one of Mercer University's faculty/staff spotlights in 2019. Ken earned his bachelor of applied science in organizational leadership and a minor in education from Mercer University and his Master’s in Business Administration degree from Brenau University. 

Calendar of Events

Wesleyan College is privileged to steward many arts and cultural events and share them with the community. Most are free and open to the public. Wesleyan art galleries are open M-F 1-5PM and on Wesleyan Market Saturdays from 10AM-2PM.

Event listing

NCAA Division III Athletics

Wesleyan College is home to five NCAA Division III sports: soccer, basketball, volleyball, tennis, and softball. In addition, we offer an award-winning Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) Equestrian program.

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