Wednesday, April 17, 2013

UNO First Year Experience Breaks Down Barriers with "Pizza with a Professor"

BirdieEarly Research Professor of Psychology Elizabeth "Birdie" Shirtcliff, who teaches a popular UNO course on human sexual behavior, will talk about gender and testosterone at Thursday’s “Pizza with a Professor” event.

The University of New Orleans First Year Experience aims to increase student engagement with faculty and promote academic interest this spring with a new program involving tantalizing teacher talk and a surefire draw: free pizza.

"Pizza with a Professor" is designed as an informal discussion and opportunity for professors and students to get know one another over lunch, said UNO student success counselor Nicole Ralston. The new program is designed to break down any imagined barriers between professors and students and to show that professors are people too, said colleague UNO student success counselor Meghan Schwab. To roll out the new program, First Year Experience is "focusing on professors who have good rapports with students and are doing really cool things on campus," she said.

Enter Early Research Professor of Psychology Elizabeth "Birdie" Shirtcliff, a behavioral endocrinologist who seeks in her work to understand the developmental factors leading to increased risk for psychopathology during adolescence. Shirtcliff, who teaches a popular course at UNO on human sexual behavior and works in the University's Stress Physiology In Teens (S.P.I.T.) Laboratory on main campus will explore myths and facts surrounding testosterone and gender behavior.

"How Manly Is Your Testosterone? New Insights Into the Sex Hormone Testosterone and Risky Behavior" is slated from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. Thursday, April 25 in the UNO Student Success Center, located in Milneburg Hall, Room 159.

The mix of social engagement activity and academic focus should draw students of all types and interests, said Schwab.

"It's a mix between building a community and promoting academic success and engagement and a chance to get free pizza provided by the Student Government," Schwab said.

"Research shows that students do better in college, they're more likely to do better in classes, they're more likely to graduate, if they're engaged."

The University's office of First Year Experience was introduced to UNO under the administration of President Peter J. Fos with the aim of improving student success and increasing retention rates at the university.

Learn more about the new First Year Experience programs at the University of New Orleans >>
Read about First Year Experience and Start-ing Strong at University >>