Is Iowa State big or small? Yes.

Each week, small groups of first-year Iowa State students meet with their professors to discuss a recent lecture. Together, they informally talk, ask, answer, probe, expand and explore. Perhaps most important, the students connect. They connect with the subjects they’re studying, with each other and with their professors.

Welcome to the Connections program, the brainchild of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. It’s a one-credit seminar offered to first-year students that’s designed to make a large lecture feel smaller.

It’s just one of the programs at Iowa State that’s focused on helping students feel welcome the minute they set foot on campus. We want them to have the limitless opportunities of a major university, yet feel comfortable and confident enough to experiment, explore -- and enjoy their adventure.

“Connections is much more personal than a lecture. We have in-depth discussions,” observed Jim Colbert, professor of biology, who teaches a Connections course. “Getting to know a faculty member helps students really feel like they belong.”

No wonder we’re so big on being small.