Orientation to Cortland

Orientation to Cortland: Learning about our community, policies and procedures

COR 101 should extend the goals of summer orientation by continuing to familiarize students with SUNY Cortland. This includes getting to know the physical campus and also learning about the culture of our campus.


  1. Understand the purpose of COR 101 and encourage students to get to know their COR 101 classmates.
    • Utilize Icebreakers to help students get to know each other.
    • Review the syllabus with students to outline the purpose of the class.
    • Have students complete and turn in the Student Information Sheet
    • The Marshmallows Teaching and Learning Activity can help build class cohesion as well as allow your students to collaborate and apply concepts in an engaging and memorable manner.
    • Try the Polaroid Reflection activity. This activity not only helps you to get to know your students but the students can look at the picture at the end of the semester and discuss how much they may have changed.
    • Ask students to write down or discuss the purpose of COR 101, find out what they want to get out of this seminar and learn what they expect of their instructor and TA
    • Biographical Poem (PDF)
    • Lifelines activity (PDF): a get to know you activity that gets students to think about the people in their life
    • Sentence Game (PDF): a lighthearted activity to learn more about your students
    • Icebreaker links (PDF): see additional activities to help get to know your students
  2. Learn the layout of campus
    • Have student complete a Cortland Geography Quiz (also encourage students to include the local community, not just the campus)
    • Arrange a Scavenger Hunt (PDF) on campus for photos of various campus offices and facilities.
    • Arrange a Lower Campus Scavenger Hunt (PDF - created by a former Student Facilitator) of various offices and facilities.
    • Ask students to draw a map of SUNY Cortland (and the local community) and how they perceive the campus (and community).
  3. Introduce students to the LIBRARY. Find out about library games, tours, instruction - SPECIFICALLY designed for your COR 101 class on Orientation to Cortland!! One of the librarians can assist with this topic. 
  4. Have your students demonstrate an ability to navigate the Cortland website and myRedDragon
  5. Review critical policies and procedures and where to obtain information on these policies
    • Have students identify all the campus sources of information
    • Have each student identify important resources related to their major and goals 
  6. Review Code of Conduct
    • Have students visit Student Conduct website and critique the Code of Conduct
    • Discuss norms, standards, and rules in class
    • Ask your Teaching Assistant to come up with typical "scenarios" or case studies. Have students reflect in groups about what they would/would not do in situations.
    • Ask Student Conduct to visit your class and lead a discussion. 
  7. Begin to identify opportunities for involvement and how students would like to become involved on campus
    • Have students share what they were involved with in high school and what they want to be involved in at Cortland
    • Have each student investigate their interests and interview a student or faculty member involved with that interest
    • Provide students with a list of clubs/organizations. Have students attend one meeting and report back to the class
    • Activity Sheet (PDF): a tool for students to keep track of and reflect on their (on and off) campus activities
    • Guidelines and Evaluation for Reflective Papers (PDF): is a resource to assist students when they write a reflective paper regarding their campus activities (created by Ellen Newman)
    • Encourage student to utilize the Writing Resource Center website (create by English Department faculty)
    • Spend some time discussing Academic Integrity. Don't forget to assign activities like  "Types of Plagiarism" or the Cite it? game to get all the students engaged with the topic. You could also discuss plagiarism by starting with the topic of illegal music downloads.  Don't forget to review the Academic Dishonesty Report Summary (former sample report) the Provost's office distributes each semester. There is a lot of good information found on the summary. A new report is mailed to campus each semester. 
    • Writing guide with APA format (created by Ellen Jampole)
  8. Help students identify the culture of Cortland
    • Encourage students to explore some aspect of the City of Cortland - a landmark, a festival, some history
    • Ask students to participate in a SUNY Cortland tradition. Discuss what makes a tradition? How will they leave their mark at SUNY Cortland?
    • Have the class create a collage of ideas, pictures, words that define Cortland. This can be done individually, in small groups, or as a large class project
    • Have small groups create posters that capture an element of SUNY Cortland. Ask students to choose a theme and create a poster that captures that theme
    • Encourage students to read The Dragon Chronicle, and discuss its contents.