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FYE Transformation Team Report

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FYE Transformation Team Report Powered By Docstoc
					Report of the Transformation Team on
   First-Year Experience
 University of Massachusetts Lowell

                Final Report
                March, 2007

          Joyce T. Gibson, Sponsor

           Melissa Pennell, Leader
                Susan Lemire
            Elizabeth Donaghey
          Karen Humphrey-Johnson
            James Graham-Eagle
               Arend Holtslag
                Paula Haines
               Frank Andrews
                Anne Ciaraldi
               Thomas Taylor
                                Table of Contents


Statement of Team Mission and Objectives

Overview of First Year Issues

List of Recommendations and Recommended Follow-up

Five Areas of Investigation:

       Block and Partial Block Scheduling

       Peer Mentoring

       First Year Courses

       Enrichment

       Administration and Program Coordination


Appendix

Works Cited
                                     Team Report

First-Year Experience Team Mission Statement: To facilitate the creation and execution
 of engaging programs in the classroom and in the campus environment to improve the
                          retention rate of undergraduates.



First-Year Experience Team Objectives:

1. Redefine the First-Year programs and develop a plan to execute for all new students.

2. Continue to use existing internal and external assessment tools to learn from students
the factors that impact their connectedness to UML.

3. Expand and refine learning communities for freshmen and commuters.

4. Examine literature on best practices in other institutions on First-Year Experience
Programs and recommend appropriate ones to adapt for our needs.

5. Collect baseline data and develop a process for measuring improvements.
        (This objective being performed by the Retention Committee.)



Overview of First Year Issues

         In a keynote address at a NACADA conference in 1999, Vincent Tinto of
Syracuse University posed the question, “What sorts of educational settings should
institutions construct to promote student retention? . . . Specifically, what should they
look like during the critical first year of college when student persistence is so much in
question?” (5). He then went on to identify four institutional conditions that “stand out as
supportive of retention”:

       1.   accurate and timely information/advice
       2.   support
       3.   involvement [enrichment]
       4.   learning

Since the 1990s, colleges and universities have attempted to address issues of retention
and student success, while researchers have worked to refine or enhance the principles set
forth in Tinto’s address and in much of his research. In 2000, John Braxton set forth four
propositions related to student persistence and success that have shaped the direction of
First Year Experience programs on many campuses. They are:
         1. Students bring to college different entry characteristics which will impact their
initial commitment to the institution.

        2. A student’s initial commitment to the institution will impact the student’s
future commitment to the institution.

        3. Students’ continued commitment to the institution is enhanced by the level of
social integration they realize early on.

        4. The greater the level of commitment to the institution, the higher the likelihood
of the student being retained through graduation.
                       (Cited in Berger and Lyon, “A Historical Look at Retention,” 24).


        Recently, John Braxton and Amy Hirschy have argued that institutional type plays
a significant role in determining approaches to retention and student persistence,
differentiating between residential and commuter campuses. They argue that on
residential campuses social integration and recognition of communal potential exercise
significant influence on retention and student persistence toward graduation. On
commuter campuses, however, where strong social communities are often absent, the
“academic realm” especially the classroom, plays a major role, serving as “a site for the
intersection of both social and academic dimensions of the student experience” (78).
They note, “Considering the classroom as a community facilitates meaningful
connections between students and faculty and among peers. Faculty who intentionally
involve class members in the learning process and engage critical thinking about course
materials contribute to student persistence. . . . Further, students who take courses that
feature active learning methods are more likely to experience greater degrees of
subsequent institutional commitment” (78). On commuter campuses, learning
communities can be fostered through block or partial block scheduling, especially when
blocks are created around themes or areas of interest.
        Because it blends a residential population and a commuter population, UMass
Lowell faces special challenges in addressing the First Year Experience. Whatever
programs and projects are initiated or sustained must take into account both populations
and their unique needs. In making decisions about next steps, UMass Lowell must keep
in mind what Vincent Tinto has observed, that students are “more likely to persist and
graduate in settings that provide clear and consistent information about institutional
requirements.” He further observes that “institutions that provide academic, social, and
personal support encourage persistence” (5).

Two statements from “Parsing The First Year of College: Rethinking The Effects of
College on Students” also informed our approach to the question of the first year
experience:

       [Assign] the first college year a high priority for the faculty. Few college
       experiences are more strongly linked to student learning and persistence
       than students’ interactions with faculty members. It matters little whether
       these contacts entail faculty members’ pedagogical approaches (Johnson
       & Johnson, 1995; Qin, Johnson, & Johnson, 1995), interactions in learning
       communities, or contacts in the broader context of the major department’s
       values and norms (Smart, Feldman, & Ethington, 2000). Such contacts
       influence changes in the cognitive, psychosocial, and attitudinal domains
       of students’ lives (Berger & Milem, 2000; Volkwein, 1991), as well as
       their persistence and degree completion (Braxton, Sullivan, & Johnson,
       1997).

       Engage students, both in and out of the classroom, in order to develop
       attitudes, behaviors, and skills consistent with the desired outcomes of
       higher education and the institution’s philosophy and mission. Pascarella
       and Terenzini (2005) concluded that “the impact of college is largely
       determined by individual effort and involvement in the academic,
       interpersonal, and extracurricular offerings on a campus. . . . This is not
       to say that an individual campus’s ethos, policies, and programs are
       unimportant. Quite the contrary. But . . . it is important to focus on the
       way in which an institution can shape its academic, interpersonal, and
       extracurricular offerings to encourage student engagement” (p. 602).


        To make a real difference in the nature of the first year experience at UMass
Lowell and to improve our retention of students requires the commitment of the entire
campus. No single office or individual can effect the changes necessary to ensure that a
larger percentage of our students find pathways to success and chose to complete their
degrees at UML. No one program or project can transform the first year of college. The
campus must think in terms of a holistic approach to the first year, even if it takes a few
years to phase in all the necessary components. Universities “dedicated to expanding
educational opportunity” value “diversity, high-quality undergraduate teaching, and
support for all students. They promote social responsibility by encouraging students to
give back to their communities” (Kuh et al, 28). Those schools highlighted in the
Documenting Effective Educational Practice (DEEP) project also realize that “there is no
substitute for human contact, whether face to face or via e-mail” (Kuh et al, 88).

       As part of our initial approach to the question of the First Year Experience at
UML, the Transformation Team mapped out an extended first year, looking for points of
decision, concern, or crisis for students. Among those points that we identified as First
Year Watermarks are:

Admissions decision
Financial aid decision
Tuition/fees due
Orientation
Placement testing
Adjusting to class schedule
Learning to navigate campus/Locating campus services
Understanding instructors' expectations
Add/drop decisions
Paperwork due dates
First bad grade
Midterms
“W” date
First semester advising/Finding academic advisor
Advising for second semester
Course selection/ISIS/ Enrollment appointments
Realizing grades are in jeopardy
Major assignments due
Final exams
Grade reports/Academic warning
Choice of major/change of major


We also noted ongoing factors that have an impact on student success:

Making friends/Adjusting to roommates
Becoming independent from parents
Alcohol and drugs
Sex/relationship issues
Absenteeism
Off-campus work
Parking
Illness
Stress


       Acknowledging that we cannot address all of the issues that face first year
students, the Team decided to explore avenues that would allow us to address many of
them. The areas that we chose to focus on include:

       Block and Partial Block Scheduling

       Peer Mentoring

       First Year Courses

       Enrichment

       Administration and Program Coordination
List of Recommendations and Recommended Follow-up
        Ideally the recommendations from all five areas of investigation should be
implemented as a whole to create a coherent and dynamic first year experience.
Realistically, some of these recommendations will require significant lead time for
implementation, since they will require review and approval by college committees and
the Faculty Senate or coordination of course scheduling and availability among
Department Chairs. Many of these recommendations will require financial resources
and/or staff to make them operable.

        If any of these recommendations are implemented, the University needs to make a
long-term commitment to them. Running a program for a semester or two and then
discarding it makes it impossible to assess, enhance, and fine-tune a retention effort.

Overarching recommendations:

Provide greater and secure funding within the operating budget for FYE related
programs/activities, including orientation, common text, student-faculty research,
the honors program, CLASS, etc.

First Year Experience should continue to be an on-going initiative of the University;
a focal point of attention in yield and retention efforts.
A mission, vision, and long range goals should be developed for the UML First Year
Experience initiatives and agreed upon by the campus community.

Specific recommendations based upon the Team’s work:

        1. Implement partial block scheduling as a means of fostering greater connections
among students in their classes. In a three course block, two of the courses should be
small (30 students or fewer) to ensure interaction among students and between students
and faculty. This project will require sufficient lead time (at least two semesters to lay
the groundwork and allow chairs to work together to create the schedule blocks). It will
also require funding for additional teaching staff, whether 01s or 03s, to ensure that a
sufficient number of low-enrollment, first year sections are available.

        2. Implement a peer mentoring program to serve students in all of the
undergraduate colleges. Peer mentors can be linked to the orientation program and/or to
the course clusters formed by partial block scheduling. This program can be supervised
either through Enrollment Services and Student Success or through the proposed
Orientation and First-Year Program office.

       3. Create a task force with significant faculty participation to study, design, and
present to the Undergraduate Policy Committee and the Faculty Senate for their approval
a one-credit first year course that will encourage student engagement in the academic
community and promote first year students' commitment to UML.
        4. Establish a “Certificate of Leadership and Service” program. Students who
engage in a variety of activities, including community service and service learning as
well as on-campus participation, can earn points toward a special certificate to be
awarded at graduation and noted on the transcript.

       5. Create an Orientation and First Year Programs Office to be enhanced with a
minimum of an Assistant Director and administrative support to address the needs of a
growing First Year Experience Program. This office should have the resources to
conduct a well-rounded orientation and year-long first year experience program. It
should also maintain regular contact with other offices and with faculty engaged in first
year experience efforts.
Team Method, Approach, Research


The Team divided into subcommittees, each of which explored one of the selected areas
in greater depth, shared findings with the Team, and prepared a report that reflected the
benefits and challenges of implementing recommendations at UML. These draft reports
were shared with the First Year Experience Task Force of the Council on Teaching and
Learning and the Academic Affairs Committee of the SGA. Input from both of these
groups has been incorporated into this version of the Team Report. The area of greatest
interest was in the First Year Course and ways that it could be developed.



WORKGROUP – BLOCK SCHEDULING
Descriptions:

   1. Institutions used a form of block scheduling “course clusters” or “linked classes.”
      as the foundation for a wide variety of learning communities.
   2. Advising was mandatory and critical to the success of the first year.
   3. Duration varied based on the learning community and discipline:
      -        A generic “Long Beach” learning community – 3 semesters
      -        Academic discipline-based often continued informally after first year.
   4. These did not necessarily have first year course but had other components that
      supported student learning, such as projects, mentoring, clubs & activities, and
      research.
   5. Most of these clustering initiatives included changes in other areas, such as
      orientation, clarifying gen. eds., and the addition of mentoring.

Benefits:

   1.   Smaller sections.
   2.   Freshman only.
   3.   Bonding outcome – Students felt they “belonged.”
   4.   Associated activities reinforced.
   5.   Improved transition into courses once settled in a major.
   6.   More comfort with approaching faculty.
   7.   Particularly effective with commuting students.

Schools that have had success with this program:

   1.   LSU – “University College” = Advising Center.
   2.   California State Long Beach
   3.   University of Auckland, New Zealand
   4.   Northern Michigan
   5.   Leman College of City University of New York
Organizational elements:

       Themes work best to create coherence
       Faculty need to meet regularly to maintain coherence


WORKGROUP: PEER MENTORING PROGRAM

Goal:
The goal of the Peer Mentoring program would be to utilize high-achieving upper level
students in a mentoring relationship with incoming freshmen to assist in the transition
from high school to the academic and social life of a University. The mentors should be
successful students (but would not be limited to those on the Dean’s List) who are
involved in the University community and who could
     help freshmen make connections and get involved in activities to instill a sense of
       belonging at UMass Lowell
     encourage better communication to help students obtain accurate information and
       access the help they might need
     set an example for academic success

The hoped-for result would be improved freshman retention.

The Mentors
The mentors would be recruited from the student population through advertising in the
Connector, the Shuttle (to encourage faculty and staff to make students aware of the
program and recommend possible mentors), attractive posters, emails, etc. Certain
populations would be targeted including students in the University Honors program, the
Honor Societies affiliated with various Colleges and majors, Orientation leaders and
members of the Residence Hall staff. Ideally, two mentors would be assigned to a group
of 10 – 12 mentees with each mentor taking responsibility for individual contact with half
of the mentees, but allowing for group interaction and activities as well.

Training
Training would be required for all mentors to explain program expectations and to
improve interpersonal skills. Mentors would become familiar with University resources
such as the Counseling Center and the Centers for Learning. They would also be
familiarized with the large number of opportunities for involvement on campus, including
(but not limited to) the Rec Center programs and Student Activities. They should also be
familiarized with academic requirements and regulations, but, more importantly, be able
to tell a student what office and/or person can provide the specific information needed.
Ideally, the training would take place in May so that mentors would be ready to meet
students at June Orientations.

Mentor/Mentee Activities
Suggested mentor activities could include (but would not be limited to):
      do email contacts before school starts and perhaps as often as three or four times a
       month during the semester
      invite mentees to any activities they are involved in
      organize breakfast or lunch meetings
      visit mentees’ rooms
      organize a movie night
      escort mentees to resources such as the Tutoring Center so they know locations
       and feel comfortable with how to get the help they need
      give mentees a tour before classes start of the specific buildings and classrooms
       on their schedules
      make sure mentees attend Freshman Convocation
      assist mentees with accessing UML email and/or ISIS if help is needed
      reach out to mentees and check on their “stability” in times of crisis – we would
       certainly hope that something like “9/11” or the death of several freshman
       students in a single semester would not happen again in the near future, but those
       would be examples of events where some intervention might be necessary.


Organization and Funding
Funding for the Mentoring program is essential, and the initial request is for $100,000.

It is recommended that one office on campus be given the responsibility of running the
mentoring program including recruiting, training, evaluation and oversight. Ideally, this
program would run out of the First Year Programs office. Currently, the Office of
Enrollment and Student Success would seem to be the best location. The hope would be
to find one staff person to supervise the entire program and 2 or 3 juniors, seniors, even
possibly graduate students with Campus Work Program money or Federal Work Study
who could take on the record-keeping as their job. It is suggested that mentors keep logs
of activities and contacts and keep copies of emails, etc. The student clerical staff would
be responsible for entering everything into a database.

Mentors would NOT be paid, but should receive something in the way of “perks.”
(specific perks to be determined.) Feedback from the SGA and the Task Force indicated
that students who take on this role need to be compensated for their time, either with a
stipend or with course credit, since the time they dedicate is time taken away from a job.

Mentors should have access to River Hawk dollars to treat mentees to a meal or snack,
and there should be funds to provide refreshments (pizza, cookies, Cokes, Danish, coffee,
whatever) for meetings with mentees.

Possible sources of funding include:
    specific donations from alums through the development office
    University budget
WORKGROUP: FIRST YEAR COURSE/ACADEMIC REINFORCEMENT

Goals:
Our main goal is to improve retention and bring first year students back for their second
year. To do so, we would like to implement academic components that:

   o Encourage first year students to begin to shape their academic identity by
     cultivating responsibility and curiosity
   o Support exploratory studies for undeclared students/students at risk in their
     declared major
   o Provide first year students with a stronger sense of connection to faculty
   o Develop first year students' fundamental study skills directly in the classroom
     context
   o Help first year students take advantage of on- and off-campus enrichment
     opportunities
   o Assist first year students in navigating academic policy and procedure


Implementation:
Due to the limited room for change in the curricula in several departments, no single
solution for academic reinforcement in students' first-year experience is possible. We
recommend the immediate implementation, on a trial basis, of one or more of three
scalable models which address our major concerns:

   1. Supplemental FYE materials presented in the context of an existing class
   Small curricular supplements, addressing topics (such as developing academic
   identity, study habits, or University policies) delivered during time set aside in
   required courses such as College Writing A or I or Calculus I recitation.

       benefits:
               little to no cost
               ease of implementation: does not rely on block scheduling
               able to reach every student via required courses
               able to reach students in the critical, early part of the semester
               provides important institutional information in the context of academics
               might improve students' sense of responsibility for academic performance,
       understanding of policy
               might improve likelihood of students seeking advising
               little faculty training required

       drawbacks:
              least fully integrated approach might imply less commitment to the
       content delivered
              time devoted to topics would not be sustained throughout the semester
              does not ensure more meaningful contact with faculty or peers
           if staff are to present this material, model does not improve faculty/student
       interaction
           does not encourage exploratory learning
           limited time for enrichment activities


2. FYE contact hour
A fourth contact hour added to an existing required course, possibly College Writing
A and I, which would be used expressly to meet a variety of FYE goals

   benefits:
           more fully integrates academics with FYE goals
           limited difficulty in scheduling
           provides open hour for enrichment activities
           requires no changes in curricula; extra contact hour allowed in 3-credit
   courses
           could be used to present enrichment activities

   drawbacks:
          cost for faculty (possibly part-time faculty) if faculty are to "teach" the
          FYE hour
          if staff are to "teach" the FYE hour, model does not improve
      faculty/student interaction
          does not necessarily integrate academic material into the FYE hour
          presents FYE material as coming from only one department; students
   might not consider relevant to major
          does not necessarily encourage exploratory learning


3. Freshman interest groups
In this most fully-committed approach, students in identified groups take a set of two
or three integrated courses together, grouped around a shared topic, designed and
taught by faculty working in concert to consider FYE goals. Would include at least
one reduced-size, freshman-only section.

    benefits:
            most fully integrates academics with FYE goals
            fully integrated approach signals institutional commitment to FYE
            multi- or inter-disciplinary approach encourages exploratory learning
            establishes intimate group of peers, automatic support network
            models faculty cooperation and engagement for students
            smaller classes encourage closer faculty-student interaction and more in-
depth assignments
            closer faculty-student interaction encourages attention to individual
students' progress and good advising
              emphasis on personal responsibility and academic identity reinforced by
   multiple faculty
              enrichment activities developed as part of the FIG reinforced and
   encouraged by several instructors
              possibility of exciting topics and combinations of classes
              increased contact time means better chance of sustaining contact with
          commuting students

      drawbacks:
             not all majors have room in the curriculum for three courses
   simultaneously, if two are outside the major
             requires greater faculty commitment
             greater cost for faculty preparation
             greater cost for reduced class sizes
             requires significant scheduling changes, including block scheduling


Assessment:
Any pilot program would need to be evaluated in terms of the above-stated goals.
Evaluation techniques would include analysis of statistical data on retention and
academic performance among students involved in the pilot program and in a parallel
control sample, as well as survey data allowing comparison to the 2005 NSSE results and
allowing narrative, qualitative study of the pilot program's effectiveness. Any pilot
program would need to be sustained over four or five years to allow any effect to be
apparent.


Feedback from Task Force and SGA:

SGA members felt that attaching an FYE course to an existing course ran the risk of
having FYE issues set aside if an instructor felt pushed for time. They explained that for
the FYE course to be effective, it needs to stand on its own. To embed it into an existing
course meant that the FYE materials would get buried and possibly ignored.

SGA members also felt that there needs to be a “universal” course as well as any courses
that may be offered with colleges, given the number of students who change majors over
the course of their careers.

SGA members endorsed the concept of a one-credit course that focused specifically on
First-Year issues and needs and suggested that peer mentors could play an important role
in such a course. See Appendix I.

Some colleges or departments are experimenting with courses – Nursing will introduce a
new course next year to be taught by full-time faculty. (See Appendix II).
WORKGROUP: ENRICHMENT
         Student engagement and enrichment are identified in much current literature as
key pieces to any campus retention effort. Engaged students bond more strongly with the
institution, have higher rates of academic success and persistence, are more likely to
report satisfaction with their college experience. A successful “First Year Experience” is
far more than “a single event, program, or course” (Association of American Colleges &
Universities, peerReview, Summer 2006). It requires a campus-wide approach that
incorporates academic departments, academic services, student services, and student life.

        College or Student Enrichment serves as an umbrella term that incorporates many
areas of academic experience and student life that are intended to engage students and
support their success. Under this term, colleges and universities in the US and abroad
group the following programs and services:

Academic enrichment workshops
Group study/peer Tutoring
Transitional Year Programs
Career and academic counseling
Social/cultural activities and programs
Funding and support for undergraduate research projects
Internships and practicum projects
Honors programs
Study abroad
Common reading programs and related activities
Extracurricular activities and organizations
Pre-college summer programs for at risk students
Informal Faculty-student programming


Many of these elements of student enrichment already exist at UMass Lowell. Are we
making the best or full use of them?

       In National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) data for UML, our scores
place us in the lower half of colleges and universities evaluated by their own students for
engagement and enrichment opportunities. (This is true for both first year and senior
responses – we fare better than about 20 - 25% of doctoral-intensive campuses.)


       The National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) presents questions on the
following “enrichment” areas:

Participating in co-curricular activities
Practicum, internship and field work experiences
Community service or volunteer work
Foreign language study or study abroad opportunities
Independent study
Culminating senior experience (capstone)
Serious conversations with students of different religious, political, or personal values
Serious conversations with students of a different race or ethnicity
Use of electronic technology
Campus environment that encourages contact among students from different backgrounds


These are all areas in which UML has existing programs and/or resources. Some, such as
a capstone experience, pertain to seniors in most fields of study, but many others are part
of an entire undergraduate experience, some of which can be initiated in the first year.


A sampling of what we already host or offer at UML:

an honors program
honor societies affiliated with academic disciplines, student leadership, student service,
        etc. (need a complete list readily accessible on the web)
over 100 student organizations, about 70 of which are active
12 varsity teams, 20 club sports programs, and classes/interest groups at the CRC
an expanding study abroad program
funding for undergraduate faculty-student collaborative research projects
an Undergraduate Research Symposium
a common text program within the first year College Writing sequence
university performing arts groups, including Marching Band and Choral Union which are
        open to all students regardless of major
peer tutoring, including on-line tutoring
a Strategies for Success summer session organized by the Centers for Learning
advising support through the Centers for Learning
an orientation during the summer for first year and transfer students
career counseling, including internship opportunities, through Career Services
programming through the Office of Multicultural Affairs
programming through the campus ministries


What are special challenges for UML?
      A high commuter population
      A high percentage of first-generation college students
      A high percentage of students who work more than half-time to meet their
              expenses and leave campus early to do so


Given what we already have in place, what can we do to make enrichment and
engagement more effective on campus?
1. Provide greater and secure funding within the operating budget for
programs/activities, including orientation, common text, student-faculty research, the
honors program, CLASS, etc.

2. Become more consciously aware of links between academic success and
engagement/enrichment and more intentional as a campus in how we view the first year
as a whole

3. Provide greater coordination of programs/resources and more unified
publicity/information about them geared to a first-year audience – right now, too much
information is scattered across our web site

4. Think more holistically about the first year and offer faculty/staff development
activities to make the campus more aware of special first year concerns and approaches to
addressing them


New projects:

1. Establish a student “Certificate of Leadership and Service” program:

         Students who engage in a variety of activities, including community service as
well as on-campus participation, can earn points toward a special certificate to be
awarded at graduation. Earning this certificate should also be noted on the student’s
transcript. This will allow UML to recognize in a public way more of the students who
contribute than just the handful who currently receive medals at Commencement. Such a
certificate can be noted on resumes and in applications for graduate study. (The idea for
this, revised to suit UML, comes from a program at Canberra College in Australia).

2. Establish a program to recognize faculty and staff contributions to
enrichment/engagement:

       If faculty and staff are involved and through their own actions communicate the
value of participation in enrichment opportunities, they can have a profound effect upon
student perceptions. Such involvement usually requires time beyond the regular work
day/week. Such commitment deserves to be valued and validated by the University.

Longer term project:

Explore the possibilities for creating an open meeting/activity time built into the weekly
schedule of classes to facilitate wider student participation. Current space and
scheduling issues may not accommodate this, but the campus should be planning ahead.
WORKGROUP: FIRST YEAR PROGRAM ADMINISTRATION

After researching 43 different institutions and their efforts in the area of first year
programs we found that 12 have comprehensive first year programs including a course,
enrichment efforts, and a connection with the Academic Success Office (like UML’s
Centers for Learning) and another four institutions offer enrichment opportunities and
academic support but no freshmen course. The other 30 institutions either have a course
administered by the Academic Success Office or Academic Affairs with a few
administered by academic college areas, or there is no longer either a first year program
or course at the institution beyond Orientation.
       Most programs had two – six staff members, not including the faculty or staff
        teaching the first year course and academic advisors. Most had a dean or director,
        some an assistant dean or assistant director, and the remaining were
        administrative support. All programs relied heavily on graduate and
        undergraduate staff for Orientation Programs, Peer Leaders in courses, and Peer
        Mentors (as examples).
       These 16 institutions housed their programs within an office called First Year
        Programs, Freshmen Programs, New Student Programs, etc. Many were
        connected with the Orientation Program, but offered enrichment programs and the
        first year seminar as well.
       At some institutions faculty, staff, and administrators were recruited in support of
        the program and were offered an invitation to teach a course. At other institutions
        the course was tied to an academic college and the faculty of that college taught
        the course.
       Enrichment programs were offered by linking with academic departments, student
        organizations, and through speakers’ series. There seemed to be an overall
        mission at these institutions to tie the first year student to the institution through
        connections with many facets of the college or university.
       Many of these programs have a vision and/or mission for their efforts, as well as
        long range goals (one had their goals posted for 2005-2010).


Recommendations
       The Orientation and First Year Programs Office should be enhanced with a
        minimum of an Assistant Director and administrative support to address the
        needs of a growing First Year Experience Program.
         o “We have a disjointed structure supporting student success with good
           intentioned cooperation rather than intentional coordination.” Quote from
           the Executive Summary from Indiana State University found at
           http://www.indstate.edu/fyp/pdfs/final-report.pdf and seems to sum up the
           state of UML’s FY efforts.
   This office should have the resources to conduct a well-rounded orientation and
    year-long first year experience program including a FY Course and enrichment
    opportunities.
   First Year Experience should continue to be an on-going initiative of the
    University; a focal point of attention to yield and retention efforts.
   A mission, vision, and long range goals should be developed for the UML First
    Year Experience initiatives.
   Intentional efforts towards connecting commuter students to the institution using
    on-line communication and on-line communities.
                                     Appendices:



Appendix I: SGA Resolution (passed unanimously on 7 March 2007):

Whereas increasing the Freshman retention rate is an important goal of the University of
Massachusetts Lowell; and

Whereas the success of the University of Massachusetts Lowell as an institution is
dependent on the wellbeing of its students; and

Whereas the University of Massachusetts Lowell does not currently provide an all-
encompassing Freshman Year Program; and

Whereas such a program is crucial to increasing student satisfaction with the University
of Massachusetts Lowell;

Be it resolved that the Student Government believes that a Freshman Year Seminar is
crucial to the success of not only Freshman students, but also the student body as a
whole.




Appendix II: First Year Course to be Offered by Nursing in 2007-08.

                           University of Massachusetts Lowell
                           School of Health and Environment
                                Department of Nursing


I.     Course Number and Title: 33:101 Strategies for Academic Success I


II.    Placement in Curriculum:

           Semester:                 Fall semester
           Credits:                  0.5 credit each semester
           Time Allotment:           1 hour every other week


III.   Course Faculty and Office Hours: TBA
IV.    Course Description: This introductory course will assist nursing students to learn
       strategies for creating greater academic, professional, and personal success.
       Specific attention will be given to exploring the profession of nursing, goal setting
       and time management, critical thinking, text reading and note taking skills, and
       studying and test taking techniques.


V.     Course Objectives: At the conclusion of this course, the student will be able to:

       A.   Discuss a beginning understanding of the profession of nursing.
       B.   Discuss skills needed to succeed in college and the nursing program.
       C.   Recognize personal learning preferences.
       D.   Employ organizational and time management skills.
       E.   Apply critical thinking skills to the study of nursing.
       F.   Apply techniques for reading, listening, note taking, and test taking.



I.     Course Number and Title: 33:102 Strategies for Academic Success II


II.    Placement in Curriculum:

            Semester:                 Spring semester
            Credits:                  0.5 credit each semester
            Time Allotment:           1 hour every other week


III.   Course Faculty and Office Hours: TBA


IV.    Course Description: This is a continuation of an introductory course to assist
       nursing students to learn strategies for creating greater academic, professional,
       and personal success. In this semester, consideration will be given to written and
       oral presentation strategies, communicating with others, library use and research
       techniques, wellness and stress management, personal finances, and campus
       resources.

V.     Course Objectives: At the conclusion of this course, the student will be able to:

       A.   Demonstrate a beginning understanding of the profession of nursing.
       B.   Examine skills needed to succeed in college and the nursing program.
       C.   Develop familiarity with the library and other campus resources.
       D.   Increase written and oral presentation skills.
       E.   Demonstrate beginning techniques for communicating effectively with others.
       F.   Discuss personal wellness, stress management, and finance strategies.
Appendix III: A Sampling of Colleges And Universities with FYE Offices, Programs or Seminars

                                                                               FYE      FYE                                            # of prof.
INSTITUTION NAME             Web Address                                       Office   Course What Department                         staff
Abilene Christian Universi
ty                           http://www.acu.edu/academics/fyp.html             Yes      Yes    First Year Programs                     2 staff
Indiana State University     http://www.indstate.edu/fyp/                      Yes      Yes    Freshmen Programs                       2 staff
Ithaca College               No site ~ under construction                      Yes      No     New Student Programs
Minnesota State
University, Mankato          http://www.mnsu.edu/fye/seminar/                  Yes      Yes    Orientation and First Year Programs     5 staff
Monmouth University          http://www.mnsu.edu/fye/seminar/                  Yes      Yes    First Year Experience Program           6 staff
Northern Kentucky
University                   http://www.nku.edu/~firstyear                     Yes      Yes    First Year Programs                     3 staff
Rensselaer Polytechnic
Institute                    http://www.fye.rpi.edu/setup.do                   Yes      No     First Year Programs                     6 staff
Rochester Institute of
Technology                   http://www.rit.edu/~306www/first-year/            Yes      Yes    Student Affairs                         unknown

San Jose State University http://www.sjsu.edu/muse/                            Yes      Yes    First Year Programs                     2 staff
Seton Hall University     http://academic.shu.edu/freshstd/                    Yes      Yes    Freshmen Studies                        3 staff
                          http://www.southampton.liunet.edu/stu_serv/freshma
Southampton College       n/freshman.htm                                       Yes      Yes    New Student Services                    2 staff
University of Cincinnati  http://www.uc.edu/learningcommunities/               Yes      Yes    Learning Communities ~ Residence Life   2 staff

University of Notre Dame     http://fys.nd.edu/                                Yes      Yes    First Year of Studies                   5 staff
University of South
Carolina                     http://www.sc.edu/univ101/                        Yes      Yes    Academic Support Services               unknown
University of Southern
Mississippi                  http://www.fye.usm.edu/                           Yes      No     First Year Experience Program           2 staff
University of Syndey,
Australia                    http://www.itl.usyd.edu.au/FYE/                   Yes      No     First Year Experience Program           unknown
                                    Works Cited
Berger, Jospeh B. and Susan C. Lyon. “Past to Present: A Historical Look at Retention.”
       College Student Retention: Formula for Student Success. Ed. Alan Seidman.
       Westport, CT: ACE/Praeger, 2005.1-30.

Braxton, John and Amy Hirshy. “Theoretical developments in the Study of College
       Student Departure.” College Student Retention: Formula for Student
       Success. Ed. Alan Seidman. Westport, CT: ACE/Praeger, 2005. 61-88.

Kuh, George, et al. Student Success in College: Creating Conditions that Matter. San
      Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2005.

Terenzeni, Patrick T. and Robert D. Reason. “Parsing the First Year of College:
       Rethinking the Effects of College on Students.” State College, PA: Penn State
       Center for the Study of Higher Education, 2005.

Tinto, Vincent. “Taking Retention Seriously: Rethinking the First Year of College.”
       NACADA Journal, 19.2 (Fall 1999): 5-9.

				
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