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Notre Dame College first-year Falcons have enjoyed the family atmosphere and their fall education on campus despite challenges caused by the worldwide pandemic.

New students at Notre Dame participate in a first-year seminar course and write reflection papers on the academic connections they have made in their first months at the College as part of their final exams. Through these assignments and personal communications with their instructors, the Notre Dame students expressed appreciation for the safe in-person first semester they have been able to experience.

“I just want to say thank you. I don’t think the staff and faculty at Notre Dame get enough credit for how they have handled having to teach in the middle of a pandemic,” one student stated. “I don’t want you to think it goes unnoticed. … My friends and I think the faculty have done an outstanding job this semester.”

Faculty Connections

The College implemented an innovative Falcon Flex model that allowed students to safely attend classes and learn in-person from faculty on campus this fall. Face masks, six-foot spacing, small classes and extra cleaning are observed.

“I believe the best decision for me was to come to college. I have learned so much from one semester, imagine what I’ll learn in four years, a student wrote. “The professors and staff are extremely helpful. I am becoming a better person and getting to learn new things. Notre Dame College is a great place with great people.”

In addition to in-person courses, Notre Dame academic support services through the College’s Student Success Center; First Generation, or FirstGen, Center; and Academic Support Center for Students with Learning Disabilities, among others, continue to be present, as well as available via remote access, for new and returning students.

“Overall, this semester was a great learning experience for me,” another first-year student wrote. “The College offers so much help that they want their students to succeed and don’t want them to struggle. Thanks to FirstGen, my advisors and my tutor for making this semester smooth and helping me end with straight A’s.”

Student Bonding

Not all first-year Falcons may make the president’s or dean’s list, but they did experience a curriculum designed to aid in their transition to college life. The seminar course covers time management, goalsetting, student conduct and counseling services.

“There are many things that I have to tune up and sharpen up, but I hope,” one student wrote, “my teachers continue to be the stepping stone for me.”

Outside of class, while NCAA Division II athletic events have been postponed until spring, the first-year students still were able to live in residence halls, practice their sports, and participate in student activities due to the health precautions Notre Dame has taken. These safe contacts with classmates and coaches along with faculty and staff have helped the students bond during a time when quarantines are common.

“During my time here at Notre Dame I have learned that this is not just a school to get a degree and leave, it’s actually a family that you grow with. They direct you into the right path, and they want you to succeed in every way possible. I have learned so much on my journey here at Notre Dame, and I cannot wait to learn more,” another student wrote.

Personal Growth

The first-year Falcons learn not only about academic and social offerings at the College but also about the history and mission of Notre Dame during their seminar. They also explore their personal education and career goals.

“This semester taught me a lot of valuable things I needed to know about myself,” one student stated. “I’m glad I had the classes I had this year because it provided me with opportunities to grow.”

The first-year seminar courses are taught by faculty and staff, including members of Notre Dame’s campus ministry office, who shared many of these fall semester student comments with the wider College family.

“Notre Dame College is a college that’s all about making people feel like family,” another student wrote. “Notre Dame College has taught me a lot, and I hope I continue to see growth and excellent performance out of myself as I take this long journey to reaching my ultimate goal.”

December 2020
Anita Yoder contributed to this article.

About Notre Dame College

For almost a century, Notre Dame College has educated a diverse population in the liberal arts for personal, professional and global responsibility. Founded by the Sisters of Notre Dame in 1922, the College has grown strategically to keep pace with the rapidly changing needs of students and the dramatic changes in higher education. But it has never lost sight of its emphasis on teaching students not only how to make a good living but also how to live a good life.

Today, the College offers bachelor’s degrees in 30 disciplines plus a variety of master’s degrees, certification programs and continuing and professional development programs for adult learners on campus and online. Notre Dame College offers NCAA Division II intercollegiate athletic programs for men and women and is located in a picturesque residential neighborhood just 25 minutes from the heart of Cleveland. Hallmarks of the Notre Dame experience include stimulating academics, personalized attention of dedicated faculty and staff, and small class sizes.

Notre Dame College is located at 4545 College Road in South Euclid. For further information contact