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Author Topic: First Year Experience?  (Read 49547 times)
rbeach423
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« on: October 17, 2012, 2:48:32 PM »

I am helping head up a new First Year Outreach/Experience program at my university. I work in Academic Advising and am searching for best practices or ideas regarding this program. Does anyone have experience in this area? What kind of outcomes do you aim for? Do you involve multiple people on campus? Do you have extra resources available for freshmen as part of this?
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lohai0
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« Reply #1 on: October 17, 2012, 3:16:51 PM »

I teach a lot of FYE pods. I don't have time to talk now, but I may later in the week, so I'm bookmarking for now.
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cgfunmathguy
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« Reply #2 on: October 17, 2012, 3:31:56 PM »

We're currently implementing an FYE. We conducted a self-assessment through the Gardner Institute http://www.jngi.org/foe-program/. You might try looking there for information.
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polly_mer
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Have you worked on that project today?


« Reply #3 on: October 20, 2012, 8:32:52 AM »

We have a FYE here and we had one at my last institution.  I think it's a good idea, but I also think that the basic premise is flawed.  Students do need to know how to succeed as college students, however teaching students the methods of success (how to study, how to take notes, how to interact with the professors) in a classroom setting where the theory is disconnected from the practice results in many people going through the motions without internalizing the messages.

I teach a general education class to freshmen.  While I have been in direct contact with the FYE instructor and the tutoring center to ensure a consistent method on various techniques, the students with whom I speak act as though I am telling them something for the first time.  2 hours outside of class per week to study per credit?  No way!  Take notes in class based on important ideas and rewrite them within 24 hours to fill in gaps?  C'mon.  Reading the textbook is more than looking at every word in the appropriate order and highlighting some main ideas?  You have got to be joking!  Make a study schedule for things that happen weekly and be sure to put in time for the big projects on which you should be working a couple hours a week for a month?  Naw, that's just crazy talk.

The disconnect between what happens in a classroom (all that hoop jumping to get a grade to get a ticket punched for the next level) and education (hmmm, people teach things in classrooms as an efficient way to convey information to a group and allow individuals to practice the necessary skills in a low-risk atmosphere) is just too great for many freshmen to bridge, even with explicit instruction.
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lohai0
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« Reply #4 on: October 20, 2012, 9:06:53 PM »

FYE here has two different kinds of pods: ones based on majors and ones based on interest. The interest pods (rock climbing etc) seem to get similar results to the majors pods in terms of retention. Socially, when the pods bond, they are pretty incredible (see my recent classroom victory). When classes go badly, the fact that the students are one social unit makes them go worse. As far as the FYE course goes, the only useful result I've seen is that the pods tend to get somewhat better instructors in their courses, and the pods send slightly more professional emails.
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venerable_bede
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« Reply #5 on: October 30, 2012, 5:57:14 AM »

I think what you're looking for, at least to start, is the University of South Carolina National Resource Center for the First-Year Experience and Students in Transition. They have a ton of resources, publications, links to sample syllabi, etc.

It might not be exactly what your institution is thinking about implementing, but it's a good start.

Also, in addition to the USC FYE publications, there are a couple of useful books:
  • Challenging and Supporting the First-Year Student: A Handbook for Improving the First Year of College
    Achieving and Sustaining Institutional Excellence for the First Year of College
etc.

These resources will give you many different answers to all of your questions. The two books in particular are useful for providing case studies of FYEs at different kinds of institutions.
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