Freshman Interest Groups Sophomore Students Reflect on Th by zdp24442

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									       Freshman Interest Groups:
Sophomore Students Reflect on Their FIG Experience



                                 Ronald W. Laue
                                Frankie D. Minor
                        University of Missouri – Columbia
                           ACPA Annual Conference
                                 March 20, 2006
Objectives for Program Session

   Problem statement and purpose of study
   Overview of FIGs program at MU
   Overview of what the research already tells
    us about FIGs
   Overview of study
   Results
   Discussion
The Problem


Undergraduate persistence and retention
 rates must improve if higher education
 is going to meet the needs of our nation
 and the world

  –   Kuh et al., 2005
Where Should Efforts be Focused?


   There is overwhelming evidence that
    student success is largely determined
    by student experiences during the first
    year of college

    -Upcraft, et.al., 2005
Freshman Interest Groups



One of many first-year initiatives to
 further enhance student success
FIGs at MU

   Cohort of 15-20 first-year students
   Emphasis on particular major or interest
   Co-enrolled in up to three common courses
   Live in same residence hall (with few exceptions)
   Attend weekly one credit hour seminar,
    facilitated by a Peer Advisor
   Faculty/Staff Co-Facilitator involvement
5 Goals of FIG Program at MU

1.   Enhance entering students’ transition to college
2.   Make the campus psychologically small by creating
     peer reference groups
3.   Encourage group identity development
4.   Provide an integrated learning experience for
     freshman by connecting faculty, students,
     disciplines, and campus experiences in a
     purposeful, coherent, and seamless fashion
5.   Enhance student’s academic and social success
What we already know about FIGs from
quantitative research

   Higher retention rates
   Greater academic success
   Students report significantly higher levels of
    involvement in campus activities
   Students indicate a greater openness to
    diversity
    –   Pike, 2002
Purpose of Study


   To understand the lived experience of
    successful students who participated in a FIG
    –   The lived experience of students undergraduate
        first-year students is a complex phenomenon
        made up of abstract social interactions that affect
        student motivation and behavior
Student Success Defined


 –   Many dimensions of Student Success
 –   However…most colleges and universities verify
     Student Success as completing the required
     number of academic credits with a minimally
     acceptable GPA. If done, students are awarded a
     degree.
         –   Upcraft et al., 2005
Reason for qualitative approach

  –   The lived experience of undergraduate first-year
      students is a complex phenomenon made up of
      abstract social interactions that affect student
      motivation and behavior
  –   A qualitative research method was chosen as a
      way to understand the whole experience of
      students, and gain more insight on why college
      students behave and think the way they do
          –   Brown, et al, 2002
Criteria for Participants:


   Completed at least 24 credit hours
   Minimum GPA of 2.0
   Continued enrollment into second year
   Participated in FIG with a journalism
    emphasis in the fall or 2004
Participants (260 met criteria)

   17 interviews of sophomores in fall 2005
   12 women
   5 men
   11 Caucasian
   3 African American
   2 Mexican American
   1 Mexican/Iranian American
Interview questions


   What was it like being in a FIG?
   Were there FIG experiences that helped you
    become academically successful as a
    student?
   Were there FIG experiences that you did not
    find helpful?
Themes Emerging from Interviews

1.   Social Influence
2.   Unclear Connection with Academic Success
3.   Peer Advisor Influence
4.   Linking Students to their Major Department
5.   Unclear Mission of FIG Seminar
1. Social Influence of FIG

   All seventeen students discussed the social
    influence of the FIG. Social influences
    relates to experiences of seeing, being
    around, talking with, studying with, living with,
    and taking classes with, specific peers in
    their FIG.
   All seventeen participants talked about
    friendships made
2.      Unclear Connection with
        Academic Success

    Students often appeared confused, as to
     whether FIG was supposed to influence
     academic success
    Internal motivation
    Study groups
    Peer influence/motivation
3.     Peer Advisor Influence

   Participants discussed in detail the influence
    of their Peer Advisor
   Importance of peer mentor who has “been
    through it before”
   Approachability of PA
4.   Linking Students to their Major
     Department

Participants discussed benefit of linking to
  School of Journalism by:
 Meeting faculty
 Learning about various sequences
 Getting perspective on how to focus their
  energies
5. Unclear Mission of FIG Seminar

   Is it a study group?
   Is it a class?
   How does it relate to our other classes?
Points to Consider

   The emphasis on the social
   Finding where academic success fits in
   Finding the right people
   Relationship of FIGs to retention
   Mission and goal of FIG Seminar
Questions and Discussion
References
Brown, S.C., Stevens, R.A., Troiano, P.F., & Schneider, M.K.,
        (2002). Exploring complex phenomena: Grounded
        theory in student affairs research. Journal of College
        Student Development, 43(2), 173-183
Kuh, G.D., Kinzie, J., Schuh, J.H., Whitt, E.J. (2005). Student
        success in college: Creating conditions that matter. San
        Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Pike, G.R. (2002). The differential effect of on- and off- campus
        living arrangements of student’s openness to diversity.
        NASPA Journal, 39, 283-299
Upcraft, M.L, Gardner, J.N., & Barefoot (2005). Challenging and
        supporting the first-year student: A handbook for
        improving the first year of college. San Francisco:
        Jossey-Bass.

								
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