Freshman Forum

Meinig Family Cornell National Scholars (MFCNS)

Freshman Forum

Course Description

The MFCNS Freshman Forum is an opportunity to:

  • spend time as a class of student leaders;
  • examine our understanding of leadership and the basic elements that define it;
  • interact with other leaders at Cornell; and
  • explore opportunities to apply the group’s leadership skills in a team effort to address an issue and affect change on the Cornell campus.

Meeting Times – Spring 2018

Session I: Wednesday, Jan. 31 5:00-6:30pm G10 Biotech
Session II: Wednesday, Feb. 7 5:00-6:30pm G10 Biotech
Session III: Wednesday, Feb. 14 5:00-6:30pm G10 Biotech
Session IV: Wednesday, Feb. 28 5:00-6:30pm 401 PSB
Session V: Wednesday, March 7 5:00-6:30pm 401 PSB
Session VI: Wednesday, March 21 5:00-6:30pm 401 PSB
Session VII: Wednesday, April 11 5:00-6:30pm 401 PSB
Session VIII: Wednesday, April 18 5:00-6:30pm 401 PSB
Session IX: Monday, April 23 5:00-6:30pm 401 PSB
Session X: Wednesday, April 25 5:00-8:00pm Statler Hotel Ballroom

Remember:  Your participation in Freshman Forum is required in order to remain in good standing in the MFCNS program.  Please contact Kris DeLuca [300 Kennedy Hall, 255-8595, kd15] immediately if you have any scheduling difficulties or other concerns.

Project Initiative

The Spring 2018 component of Freshman Forum will consist of project-based work where students will be responsible for investigating an issue of particular concern to members of our Cornell community.  Students will be asked to investigate multiple elements and points of view that influence a more general issue.  Freshman Forum will culminate with a formal group presentation of findings to top university administrators interested in the opinions of students as one method to obtain information relevant to the future of Cornell University.

Example:  A previous project was ON-LINE IDENTITY & SECURITY.  Sub-topics included 1. Social networking norms 2. Legal dimensions 3. Issues created due to technology 4. Issues created due to marketing 5. Impression management.

Team Formation and Responsibilities

The project topic and project parameters (sub-topics) will be discussed and selected at the first (and if necessary, second) meeting of the spring Freshman Forum.  Once the topic is selected, you will select a sub-topic team and, as a team, you will decide how you wish to investigate your particular sub-topic.  All teams must ultimately work together to come up with one collaborative presentation synthesizing all the project teams’ individual findings.

Each project team is responsible for the following:

  • determining how the sub-topics will be further explored, utilizing all resources available at this university, including suggestions from the director regarding individuals with interest/expertise in relation to the team’s specific topic
  • establishing meeting times outside of Freshman Forum and delegating tasks in order to meet the established overall timetable outlined for the semester
  • managing workload and participation of all team members in order to complete all established tasks
  • writing timely reports; contributing to final presentation content discussions and possibly making oral presentation of findings

How the Spring Semester Schedule Works:

Session I (and possibly Session II):

▪General discussion/selection of the overall project. 

The director will bring you 2-3 project topics, elicited from the Cornell administration, from which you will choose. 

The general topic will have 4-6 sub-categories/topics which will require small group work.  Individual members will select which sub-topic is of interest to them specifically.  This group, formed through common interest in the sub-topic, will be the team with which you’ll work for the duration of the semester.

▪Determine initial steps to investigate your team’s specific sub-topic.  

▪Delegate tasks among project team members. 

▪Coordinate contact method among project team. 

▪Determine regular time for meetings outside of Forum.

Designate one person to serve as contact person in the event information must be shared outside of Forum activities.  Send that contact person’s name, plus all members of that team, to Kris DeLuca by February 16th.    

Sessions (II)/III – VIII:

These Freshman Forum meeting times serve as check-in times and information sharing between and among the individual project teams and the director.  They will help clarify your particular area of investigation; allow for collaboration between groups; and reduce duplication of information.  Each session will include a reporting-out from each individual project team to the entire membership.  Earlier sessions will be about process and the general focus of your inquiry.  Later sessions will become more focused; sharing of information and findings; synthesizing key points; and determining methodology for producing and presenting a final report; as well as creating the final report.

Special Assignment for Session V (March 23rd):

Each student is to provide a written progress report, no more than 2 pages in length (approximately 500 words).  Detail which element of the overall project you are working on; what research you and/or your project group has gathered; with whom you’ve spoken; key points to promote to the administration.  This paper is to be submitted by the end of session in hard copy and sent to kd15 electronically.


▪Run through presentation; clarify and refine information; practice oral presentations.  If revisions need to be made, assign tasks to specific individuals.

Session X/ April 25:  FINAL PRESENTATION

Dinner with MFCNS Executive Board Members, MFCNS Executive Mentors and upper-level University administrators. 

▪Final team presentation that outlines methodology for analysis of the issues; demonstrates common findings as well as provides information unique to specific aspects related to individual project teams’ topic; and provides recommendations on how this university can/should address the area of primary concern.  Recommendations are to be considered by university administrators for future programming.  You all should be prepared to field questions from the audience participants.

A final written report from each project team – ONE paper per project team; no more than 5 pages in length (approximately 250 words per page) - addressing these same points should be completed by this date but can be submitted electronically to kd15 no later than 4:30pm, May 4th.  Project team papers, along with the final presentation, WILL be shared with university administrators. Plan accordingly (be clear/proofread/etc)!

***Attire for final presentation:  Business casual dress is required. General guidelines for business casual are as follows:

Dress pants, khakis, slacks, skirts, collared shirts, conservative blouses

Let Kris know of any presentation equipment needs (LCD projector, flip charts, white board, etc.) two weeks prior to the final presentation meeting. Project team papers WILL be shared with university administrators.


This activity will challenge your abilities to work as members of a team.  It also will facilitate your understanding of individuals and resources available at Cornell University.  Should any questions or concerns about your team’s project or performance come up over the course of the semester, you should contact Kris DeLuca (kd15, 255-8595) as soon as possible.

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