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FOR COLLEGE TRANSITIONS

No. 3 July 2019

A publication from the National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience® and Students in Transition

CONTENTS 

1

Supporting Transfer Student Success Through a Faculty Mentor Program Appalachian State University recruits faculty and staff specifically to provide support and resources to transfer students, with the aim of forming impactful academic relationships. 

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A UCF Knights Tale: Intentional Efforts to Achieve Student Success An initiative at the University of Central Florida aims to raise graduation and retention rates while developing methods to restructure support services. 

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Supporting Transfer Student Success Through a Faculty Mentor Program Transfer students account for one third of the Kim Morton Associate Director, Office of incoming class at Appalachian State University, a Transfer Services campus of 17,000 total undergraduates, and the Appalachian State University institution puts a high priority on helping this population transition. The eight-person Office of Transfer Services uses many intentional efforts to boost integration and success, resulting in new transfer students either returning for their second year or graduating for a strong retention rate of 86%.

Academic Recovery: The First-Year Seminar for Students on Probation The University of South Carolina aims to support students at a potential crisis point in an effort to help them adopt the skills and mindsets needed for college success. 

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Maintaining Motivation and Preventing First-Semester Burnout Middle Tennessee State University creates a curricular intervention for first-semester students to normalize conversation around common obstacles while facilitating dialogue about effective strategies. 

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Self-Directed Learning to Support Part-Time FYS Instructors: A Proposed Model An instructor at Kennesaw State University designs a model for teaching with an eye toward developing self-directed learning practices. 

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Resource Spotlight: The State of First-Year Program Assessment: Recent Evidence from the 2017 NSFYE Assessment of first-year programs is happening more frequently, using a wider variety of formats. What does this mean for individual offices at an institution?

Appalachian State uses many intentional efforts to boost integration and success for incoming transfer students, which number 1,700 annually. Photo courtesy of the Office of Transfer Services.

With 1,700 new transfer students a year at Appalachian, creating a true mentor–mentee program in which each student is assigned a specific mentor would be impossible. Instead, that one-on-one relationship happens with an academic advisor throughout students’ degree progression. Thus, the Faculty Transfer Mentor program, which involves more than 100 trained faculty and staff who volunteer their time to develop supportive academic relationships with transfer students, serves as a vital additional resource. Originally designed to help prospective transfers connect directly with faculty regarding their college requirements, this academic integration-focused program has evolved as the Office of Transfer Services has expanded its reach. Mentors make themselves available for transfers, answering questions, providing support and referrals, and advocating for students within their academic department and elsewhere. Many faculty in the program were either transfer students themselves as undergraduates or have seen transfers struggle in their transition and want to help. These faculty mem-


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bers’ passion to help students transition into Appalachian makes them strong advocates for relating to and supporting this population.

A Move to Proactive Coaching Key to this program is the training mentors receive at the beginning of their service. All interested mentors must attend a 90-minute in-person training, during which they learn about the transfer student population nationwide, in North Carolina, and at Appalachian; the characteristics and needs of transfer students; and what they can do as mentors to help. We have found it helpful to offer the training sessions in mid-semester, after the rush of the start of the semester but before advising kicks in for the next semester. Sessions are usually small, with 5 to 10 participants, and offered multiple times per semester. The small groups allow participants to add to their experiences and ask questions throughout. In addition to understanding who our transfer students are, the training provides mentors with adjustment survey results to help explain the challenges facing transfers’ transition, resources from the Office of Transfer Services and other offices on campus, and best practices in working with transfer students. Once their training is complete, participants confirm their interest in being faculty mentors, and Appalachian markets them to prospective, admitted, and current transfer students to discuss curriculum plans and academic resources. The Office of Transfer Services’ website lists mentors’ contact information, but students can also find out about the program through targeted emails, support resources, and other websites. Mentors receive a sticker to put on their office door so students can identify them when visiting their department. The Office of Transfer Services also provides ongoing training for mentors by distributing relevant information (e.g., updated campus demographics, resources, student engagement opportunities), sharing news articles on the subject of transfer students, and encouraging participation in online webinars (e.g., the National Student Clearinghouse). As topics come up, we may schedule more in-person training or student panels so that mentors are familiar with new resources or issues. Information on the training schedule and the Faculty Transfer Mentor program goes out to the Appalachian campus community through email. In addition, students and current Faculty Transfer Mentors can recommend colleagues to serve, and those employees receive targeted invitations. The Office of Transfer Services specifically recruits academic programs with high transfer populations and emphasizes the mentor program at meetings with new department chairs. The program is also discussed at Appalachian’s New Faculty Orientation. Aggressive recruiting and word-of-mouth about the program have helped the university triple the number of mentors trained over the past few years. After mentors’ training is complete, they receive surveys from the Office of Transfer Services to assess the program’s material and usefulness. The office annually assesses the program and how mentors are used, while ensuring participants want to continue

“The training provides mentors with adjustment survey results to help explain the challenges facing transfers’ transition, resources from the Office of Transfer Services and other offices on campus, and best practices in working with transfer

students.

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serving. Over the past three years, 100% of mentors said the training met their expectations, and 97% were extremely satisfied or satisfied with training. The office has received comments such as “This was the best training workshop that I’ve been to since I started working at Appalachian.”

Activities Visibility As Faculty Transfer Mentors enjoy interacting with transfer students, Appalachian provides additional opportunities for them to be visible on campus and help market the program. Mentors help staff pre-orientation programs and other welcome events at the university (e.g., tables and tents during the first few days of classes, pizza parties). They also host discussions on the institution’s common reading during Welcome Weekend and conduct a faculty–student exchange in which they advise students on adjusting to college. Since most transfers live off campus, many transfer mentors also participate in House Calls, a program hosted by the Office of the Dean of Students in which volunteers knock on the doors of off-campus students to check in and provide resources.

Outreach At the beginning of the semester, Faculty Transfer Mentors receive lists of incoming transfers and will often reach out to those in their major. This proactive outreach gives faculty and students the chance to connect. With 70% of Appalachian’s transfer students arriving from community colleges, we ask faculty to make new students aware of activities that might not have been available at their previous institution (e.g., research, internships, study abroad). A few departments go further, hosting welcome events for transfer students such as a math department tea or a geology pizza lunch.

Advocacy

“Over the past three years, 100% of mentors said the training met their expectations, and 97% were extremely satisfied or satisfied with

training.

An important benefit of the required training for mentors and continual communication about transfer-related issues is increased understanding of this student population’s needs. This often leads faculty and staff to advocate for transfer students in their department and with campus committees. For example, mentors have reached out to the Office of Transfer Services to ask how a curriculum change could affect community college transfer student pathways, as well as with ideas to improve workflows for course petition approvals and create articulation agreements.

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Conclusion

Contact

Having faculty and staff mentors volunteer their time to provide additional support and resources to transfer students has benefited Appalachian in ways hard to quantify. While we cannot directly correlate our strong retention rate and slight uptick in transfer graduation rates over the past four years to a single program, students report that the mentors do contribute to their success:

Kim Morton mortonka@appstate.edu

• When prospective students are asked why they chose to attend Appalachian, our Faculty Transfer Mentors are often recognized for the time they spend explaining academic programs, laying out expected coursework, and giving tours of their departments.

Related Articles in E-Source Knox, B. (2008). A mentor’s stake in retention. 5(4), 13, 15. Roberts, D. (2015). Award-winning programs focus on transfer transition. 12(2), 8-10. Stonebraker, R. J. (2006). Faculty mentoring at-risk first-year students. 3(5), 3-4.

• In our campuswide transition student survey, 13% of new transfer students specifically recognized their mentor as the person who had been most helpful to their success. • In our annual Transfer Student Survey, mentors were named as a key resource helping transfer students through their transition to Appalachian 11% of the time. • Students frequently nominate their Faculty Transfer Mentors for our annual Transfer Champion Award. The past two winners, both Faculty Transfer Mentors, were recognized for their dedication to connecting transfers with their academic departments, easing barriers, and advocating for the needs of transfers. Going forward, we hope to continue recruiting mentors in the majors where they are not yet represented, while continuing to increase their visibility on campus and collaboration with the Office of Transfer Services. Institutions interested in starting a similar program will benefit from campus partners that advocate for transfer students during discussions, on committees, and in their departments. In a successful program, mentors will form impactful relationships with transfer students that could make the difference between success and failure, feeling a sense of belonging or not, and retention or attrition. Each person and interaction at a university plays a crucial part in student success, and the Faculty Transfer Mentor program is an effective strategy for supporting this important population.

FOR MORE ON TRANSFER STUDENTS . . .

Building Transfer Student Pathways for College and Career Success Mark Allen Poisel and Sonya Joseph, Editors in partnership with the National Institute for the Study of Transfer Students

This new edited collection offers insight into institutional and statewide partnerships that create clearly defined pathways to college graduation and career success for all students. ISBN: 978-1-942072-27-0 (2018). $30 E-Book ISBN: 978-1-942072-26-3 (2018). $23.99

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A Farewell from Dr. Christina Hardin Serving as editor of the E-Source for College Transitions newsletter these past four years has been a great personal and professional pleasure. I have had the honor of working with many great and cooperative writers and am grateful for their contributions to the study of first- and second-year college experience and transition programs, courses, faculty, and students. The body of research surrounding student transition to college is ever-expanding, and the work by our community is very important to continued student success. Dr. Christina Hardin As the new generation of students, whom Twenge (2017) calls the iGeneration (iGen) because of their heavy reliance on all things technology, grows and transitions into college, discovering new models of excellence in teaching and learning will be integral to their success. Expanding research in educational psychology that focuses on iGen’s academic behaviors, expectations, and learning styles highlights the dramatic changes in these students’ intrinsic and extrinsic motivations for learning (Twenge, 2017). Special attention should be paid to the connections between iGen’s beliefs about learning, their expectations for learning, and the environments in which they learn. Additionally, teaching and learning practices in the first and second year of college will need to evolve in order to support this generation of students. I am encouraged by the contributions to E-Source that describe efforts to improve students’ learning environments, and I look forward to seeing continued work in this area.

I want to thank the team at the National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition, specifically Tracy Skipper and Todd Money, for their support and dedication to me, the E-Source newsletter, and its readership. The three of us worked together as a seamless team, and I am very appreciative for such a great support system. I also want to thank the E-Source review board members. The rotating members of this board, which was created three years ago, worked closely with me to provide constructive feedback and guidance to contributing authors. I am grateful for their time and hard work to ensure that manuscripts submitted to E-Source were relevant and focused. I look forward to a continued partnership with the National Resource Center and am encouraged by the number of faculty, staff, and administrators whose dedication to students continues to grow and expand the first-year experience and students in transition network.

Reference Twenge, J. M. (2017). iGen: Why today’s superconnected kids are growing up less rebellious, more tolerant, less happy—and completely unprepared for adulthood—and what that means for the rest of us. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.

Contact Christina Hardin chardin1@valenciacollege.edu

SOURCE E-Source for College Transitions (ISSN 15455742) is published three times a year by the National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition at the University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208. The National Resource Center has as its mission to support and advance efforts to improve student learning and transitions into and through higher education. The First-Year Experience® is a service mark of the University of South Carolina. A license may be granted upon written request to use the term The First-Year Experience. This license is not transferable without the written approval of the University of South Carolina. The University of South Carolina is an equal opportunity institution.

PUBLICATIONS STAFF Christina Hardin E-Source Editor

Todd Money Editor

Stephanie McFerrin Graphic Designer

Tracy L. Skipper

Assistant Director for Publications

Jennifer Keup Director

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A UCF Knights Tale: Intentional Efforts to Achieve Student Success

Jacob Bonne

Comprising 13 colleges and serving more than 68,000 students from all 50 states and more than 146 countries, the University of Central Florida (UCF) is one of the nation’s largest universities. For incoming students, UCF seeks to increase access while also maximizing academic achievement, with an emphasis on student success, retention, and completion. In 2015, the university sought to address the goal of achieving the state’s preeminence performance metrics. The preeminent designation, which now includes a 60% four-year graduation rate and a 92% first-time-in-college (FTIC) retention rate, comes with millions of dollars in additional funding. At the time, UCF’s FTIC retention rate was 88.8%, and its four-year graduation rate was 40.4%. With retention remaining stagnant for the previous three years, UCF realized it needed a new approach.

Associate Vice President, Student Success

Director, Office of Student Success

DeLaine Priest

University of Central Florida

In developing its strategic plan, Collective Impact, UCF aimed to bring excellence to scale, making a greater impact on students and the community. The university used data from FTIC exit surveys, student feedback, and its Institutional Knowledge Management unit to identify barriers affecting student success and retention. In 2016, UCF established the Student Success Process Improvement (SSPI) initiative to address those barriers to student success, as well as develop methods to restructure support services and identify interventions and strategies to increase FTIC students’ retention.

Specific Targets for Student Success Born from this initiative was the SSPI Retention Team, a collaborative task force featuring more than 30 Student Development and Enrollment Services team members. Within the SSPI, a model was created (see UCF’s website) to identify four subgroups (teams) to target areas specifically affecting student success: enrollment, financial assistance, registration, and advising and retention. The subgroups worked from a framework of improvement and implementation, guided by evaluation, assessment, design, and change management. Key insights from the SSPI initiative highlighted the importance of additional course availability and enhanced financial support, while identifying challenges for students who must navigate registration holds. At the core of SSPI was the university’s desire for data-driven decision making. With this in mind, UCF incorporated an Education Advisory Board (EAB) predictive analytics platform called the Student Success Collaborative Campus, enabling advisors, faculty, and staff to determine which students needed interventions and providing a communications platform. Using the EAB platform, the newly developed Office of Student Success used historical institutional data to identify six high-priority subgroups of students: (a) those reporting low high school GPAs (2.0-2.49), (b) off-campus residents, (c) select on-campus residents, (d) minority males, (e) those who earned a specific grade in UCF’s first-year seminar, and (f ) first-generation and/or Pell-eligible status. The SSPI Retention team crafted outreach and interventions, used primarily throughout the spring and summer to support students not registered for the upcoming fall Return to Front Page Copyright © 2019 National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience® and Students in Transition, University of South Carolina

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semester, while also considering the aforementioned subgroups. Prior to registration, the team identified outreach strategies tailored to individual subgroups. Significant work was done to address student holds, for example, as holds have a multiplicative (rather than summative) effect, and students could become frustrated or disheartened while attempting to resolve a hold if another was in place. Through collaboration with academic colleges and campus partners, UCF implemented the following strategies to address holds: • increasing the threshold for financial holds from $100 to $500 to reduce the number of students with holds because of small financial balances; • temporary hold lifts for parking tickets, or other administrative holds; • temporary hold lifts paired with payment plans for students with housing balances; and • follow-up communication and advising support for students.

Informing Students Strategically To connect with students, UCF developed communication plans using various modalities. Outreach via calling campaigns and text messaging has been integral to assisting students with complex or multiple holds. In one mid-summer campaign, the university received a 42.4% response rate from students via text on the first day, which allowed staff to craft further strategies and interventions. Buy-in from university leadership was critical, as college deans and associate and assistant vice presidents helped call and text unregistered students. Such calls from administrators represent an escalation of previous campaigns by peer mentors and academic advisors. This further highlights UCF’s aim to provide students with a sense of belonging. Identifying a strategy to deliver students the right information at the right time, in the right way, and by the right person was critical to ensuring success. Students who indicated they were not returning to UCF received an exit survey to gain further insight on their experience. Some of the reasons FTIC students cited for not returning to the university included: finances, difficulty making friends or feeling isolated, homesickness, and the institution’s geographical location. Through analysis and review of risk indicators, UCF is collaborating with campus partners to support students and alleviate these factors for not returning. For the 2018-2019 cohort, efforts to reach targeted populations were structured around key areas of financial aid, engagement, and academic success.

Grants Provide More Outreach

“The SSPI Retention team crafted outreach and interventions, used primarily throughout the spring and summer to support students not registered for the upcoming fall semester, while also considering [six high-priority] subgroups.

Another strategy UCF used to address retention was completion grants, which specifically target FTIC students at risk for being dropped from courses because of non-payment or other financial concerns. For the 2017-2018 FTIC cohort, 93 students were identified as at risk for these reasons. Through consultations and outreach by the Registrar’s Office, financial aid, and the Office of Student Success, 91 of the 93 enrolled in courses for the fall semester, and 35 received grants to help cover costs. Return to Front Page Copyright © 2019 National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience® and Students in Transition, University of South Carolina


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Additional outreach and support for students at risk of being dropped from classes for non-payment will become standard practice moving forward. Ultimately, the efforts across UCF have proven fruitful. The university’s full-time FTIC retention rate rose above 90% for the first time with the 2017-2018 cohort, representing an increase of 1.6% over two years (Table 1). Historical trends indicate higher registration in the weeks leading up to the start of the fall semester (Figure 1). Registration rates start at increasingly higher levels each summer, and periods of rapid increase are coinciding with outreach efforts. Table 1 Retention rates at UCF Retention rates

2013 - 2014 pre-SSPI

2014 - 2015 pre-SSPI

2015 - 2016 pre-SSPI

2016 - 2017 SSPI Year 1

2017 - 2018 SSPI Year 2

UCF full-time FTIC

87.5%

89.1%

88.8%

89.6%

90.4%

First-generation

87.4%

87.6%

88.2%

88.1%

89.3%

Minority male

85.9%

88.1%

86.2%

88.9%

91.6%

“The university’s full-time FTIC [firsttime-in-college] retention rate rose above 90% for the first time with the 2017-2018 cohort, representing an increase of 1.6%

Figure 1. Summer-to-fall full-time FTIC enrollment trends (number of weeks prior to start of fall).

over two years. Within the same timeframe, four-year graduation rates rose to 45.7% (the 2014-2015 cohort). These increases highlight outstanding intentional work, which also includes a Think30 campaign that encourages students to take 30 credit hours a year in order to graduate in four years. Think30 employs strategic communication and marketing events, partnerships with housing, workshops, and orientation.

Next Steps UCF’s student success story contains several important next steps. As a key takeaway from the SSPI project involved reimagining the undergraduate advising and coaching experience as a decentralized system encompassing predictive analytics and technology and including a hub for undeclared students and professional development. In addition, UCF is developing a Knight Student Success Center to scale current programs and Return to Front Page Copyright © 2019 National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience® and Students in Transition, University of South Carolina


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resources. One of the center’s goals will be to identify students who need additional support and provide them a pathway to four-year graduation. After further efforts to review risk factors, UCF also has developed a revised version of its predictive analytic high-priority model, based on two years of assessment. Using a casemanagement approach, the efforts of the 2018-2019 retention team will feature a network of liaisons at the university to provide expertise and assist with individual student outreach. This team will review and implement greater statistical analysis of risk factors, which will better highlight the foundational, rather than mitigating, causes of student attrition. Further, the team has worked to identify communication gaps as well as peak periods in the university calendar that might require synchronized efforts to reduce “noise” and provide the right message to students at the right time. Additionally, a review of university policies to identify and remove other barriers to student success is underway. All levels of the university are seeing a renewed passion for collaboration on student success initiatives. At a recent forum, UCF’s provost shared her belief that everyone involved is integral to student success. Increased collaboration with colleges, faculty, and academic programs is a cornerstone of the SSPI. Along with leadership support, leveraging technology is critical. To aid its predictive analytics and scheduling software, UCF is implementing new methods, such as online self-scheduling for advising appointments, to minimize administrative processes while maximizing engagement time with students.

Contact Jacob Bonne bonne@ucf.edu

Related Articles in E-Source Glaessgen, T. A., Wood, K. S., Biggs, M. M., & Darabi, R. L. (2018). Creating pathways to improve first-generation student success. 16(1), 16-19. O’Connor, K. M., Polizzi, D., & Farnum, J. O. (2009). Succeeding in student success: Tracing Lasell College’s retention increase. 6(6), 1-3.

Much work is still needed to accomplish the goals outlined by Collective Impact and ensure student success. The challenges of student finances, sense of belonging, and academic success for UCF students are doubtlessly reminiscent of obstacles for students elsewhere. Through support from leadership, as well as leveraging technologies, datadriven decision making, and financial resources, UCF aims to continue fostering a culture of student success with a focus on retention and completion.

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Academic Recovery: The First-Year Seminar for Students on Probation

Michael Dial Assistant Director of First-Year Advising, University Advising Center University of South Carolina

Dating back to the early 1970s, University 101 (UNIV 101), the University of South Carolina’s (UofSC) first-year seminar, has supported almost 100,000 first-year students’ transition to and through the university. Many consider UofSC the birthplace of the modern first-year experience movement. Each fall, about 80% (n = 4,500) of the firstyear cohort enrolls in UNIV 101. For most of this group, the course helps them adjust to the rigor and freedom of the collegiate experience. About 2% (n = 70), though, do not successfully complete UNIV 101. UofSC offers a grade forgiveness policy allowing students to retake up to two classes in which they earned a D or worse. After successfully completing the second attempt, students can apply to have the original grade stricken from their transcript. Those students who fail to complete UNIV 101 also tend to not do well in their other courses and often find themselves on academic probation. For example, in Fall 2017, 35.94% of students who failed UNIV 101 also failed English 101 (ENGL 101). As a comparison, less than 1% of students who successfully completed UNIV 101 failed ENGL 101. At UofSC, first-year students on academic probation and those who fail UNIV 101 are invited to enroll in an Academic Recovery section of UNIV 101 the following spring.

Theoretical Frameworks The Academic Recovery section maintains the learning outcomes of general UNIV 101 sections, while adding an enhanced focus on noncognitive factors including grit (Duckworth, 2016) and the cultivation of growth mindsets (Dweck, 2008). For Spring 2018, course design and individual meetings with students were guided by the Transtheoretical Model (TTM) of Human Behavior Change (Prochaska & DiClemente, 1983), which recognizes that behavior change occurs in stages, with unique milestones along the way. Further, motivational interviewing (Miller & Rollnick, 2012) and the Appreciative Education Theory-to-Practice Framework (Bloom, Hutson, & He, 2008) shaped instructor interactions with students. The motivational interviews allowed students to observe ways in which their current behavior was inconsistent with their ideal future states. On the other hand, the appreciative education framework is an intentional, collaborative model aimed at helping students optimize their educational endeavors and set and achieve goals.

Course Design First-year students often are surprised when they are put on academic probation, report being unclear on the academic expectations their institution had for them, and express feelings of shame and embarrassment (Barouch-Gilbert, 2015). The Appreciative Advising Inventory (AAI; Bloom et al., 2008), a 44-question survey instrument, was used as an intake and exit survey for students in the Academic Recovery section. During Fall 2017, enrolled students’ lowest reported assets fell within the Positive Identity Return to Front Page Copyright © 2019 National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience® and Students in Transition, University of South Carolina


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(M = 3.83/5.00) and Constructive Use of Time (M = 3.03/5.00; see Figure 1) domains. Further, many students noted on the intake survey that they expected better of themselves and were disappointed in their academic performance the previous semester.

“All of the students who had previously taken UNIV 101 completed the second attempt Figure 1. Appreciative Advising Inventory intake and exit mean scores for Fall 2017 and Spring 2018 presented on a 5-point scale (where 1 = strongly disagree and 5 = strongly agree).

Given the potentially fragile emotional state of first-year students on probation, UNIV 101 staff worked to normalize their circumstances early on. The first class was dedicated to exploring expectations, including what instructors expected of the students, what students expected from the instructors, and what students expected of one another. The class ended with a yarn-ball activity in which one student started with a ball of yarn, holding the end, and shared how college had not gone as they expected. They then threw the ball, holding the end of the yarn, to another student who did the same, forming a web of students who had experienced challenges in their first semester. Over the next two classes, students introduced themselves to their classmates through graded, four-minute “My Story” presentations. Anecdotally, on class assignments, students often expressed relief to know they were not alone in facing such challenges.

with a better grade and were eligible for the university’s grade forgiveness

policy.

Significant time and effort, both in and beyond the classroom, were used to enhance and practice effective, self-regulated learning skills. Lessons and assignments specifically targeted a variety of academic strategies including prioritization and time management, effective group work, note taking, study strategies, and preparation for final exams. One assignment, Passport to Success, allows students to submit evidence of completing a variety of positive academic behaviors via the class GroupMe (a messaging app) in an effort to positively norm successful approaches. The assignment aims to help foster habits and behaviors that lead to personal and academic success. Later in the semester, student groups presented analyses of scholarly journal articles on a collegiate academic skill. Return to Front Page Copyright © 2019 National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience® and Students in Transition, University of South Carolina


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Finally, to recognize the connection between sense of belonging and student persistence, a portion of the semester was spent introducing students to the campus and surrounding community. During a full class session, students explored the university’s rich history. Various other activities in classroom and beyond encouraged students to appreciate and use campus resources including the Student Success Center, the counseling center, advisors, and faculty. Other topics included values and identity development, strengths exploration, GPA calculation, holistic wellness, and financial literacy.

Results In Spring 2018, 21 students enrolled in the Academic Recovery section of UNIV 101. Two completed hardship withdrawals from the university, and one did not attend after the second day of classes, obviously earning a failing grade. Of the remaining 18 students, 15 (83%) began the semester on academic probation. By the end of the semester, 17 showed GPA improvement, and average term GPA (Fall 2017 to Spring 2018) increased from 1.32 to 2.37/4.00. Ten students (55.56%) recovered academically and were no longer on probation, and another four earned semester GPAs that allowed them to persist for another semester. In all, 14 (77.78%) returned to the university in Fall 2018. All of the students who had previously taken UNIV 101 completed the second attempt with a better grade and were eligible for the university’s grade forgiveness policy. In addition to improved grades and retention to sophomore year, results from the AAI exit survey provide evidence of course effectiveness. While the survey was not designed as a pre- or post-inventory, students showed improvement in all eight identified factors. The greatest gains were in the Constructive Use of Time (M = 3.03 to 3.56/5.00; see Figure 1) and Positive Identity (M = 3.83 to 4.20/5.00) domains. Finally, on end-of-course evaluations, students indicated the course was a valuable experience (M = 4.89/5.00), helped them adjust to college life (M = 4.94/5.00), and that content and topics were relevant to their needs (M = 4.72/5.00).

Implications According to Tovar and Simon (2006), probationary students may exhibit low motivation, poor time management, and ineffective study skills and can also lack direction in academic, personal, and professional goals. Xiao (1999), though, found that secondsemester academic success is a significant predictor of student persistence, both to the sophomore year and to graduation. With the Academic Recovery course, UofSC aims to connect with and support first-year students on probation, a potential crisis point, in an effort to help them adapt the necessary skills and mindsets needed for college success. By reinforcing the developmental (e.g., time management, academic skills) and emotional needs of this group, institutions can deliver on the promises of challenge and support made to students and their families in the admissions process.

References Barouch-Gilbert, A. (2015). Academic deficiency: Student experiences of institutional labeling. Journal of The First-Year Experience & Students in Transition, 27(2), 101-111. Bloom, J. L., Hutson, B. L., & He, D. Y. (2008). The appreciative advising revolution. Champaign, IL: Stipes. Duckworth, A. (2016). Grit: The power of passion and perseverance. New York, NY: Scribner. Dweck, C. S. (2008). Mindset: The new psychology of success. New York, NY: Random House Digital. Miller, W. R., & Rollnick, S. (2012). Motivational interviewing: Helping people change. New York, NY: Guilford Press. Prochaska, J. O., & DiClemente, C. C. (1983). Stages and processes of self-change of smoking: Toward an integrative model of change. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 51(3), 390. Tovar, E., & Simon, M. A. (2006). Academic probation as a dangerous opportunity: Factors influencing diverse college students’ success. Community College Journal of Research and Practice, 30(7), 547-564. Xiao, B. (1999, May). The impact of freshman year academic success on student persistence and bachelor’s degree completion. Paper presented at the Institutional Research Annual Forum, Seattle, WA.

Contact Mike Dial mdial@mailbox.sc.edu

Related Articles in E-Source Bass, L., Tenery, D., & Hardin, C. (2016). Valencia College creates culture of CARE over early alert. 13(2), 10-13. Hanrahan, E., Borlovan, D., & Jensen, J. (2017). Developing a post-first-year seminar series for students on probationary status. 14(3), 12-14. Mathews, T. M., & Waters, S. M. (2005). LADDERS program leads to success for students on academic probation. 2(5), 4-5.

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Maintaining Motivation and Preventing First-Semester Burnout

Ryan Korstange

Finding success in college can be complicated. During their first semester, students face a litany of challenges (some unexpected), including recognizing the structural differences between high school and college, understanding the hidden curriculum, and handling a different academic schedule and workload (Erickson, Peters, & Strommer, 2006; Smith, 2013). Moreover, learning in a postsecondary setting requires high-level and sustained effort over a semester (Dunlosky, Rawson, Marsh, Nathan, & Willingham, 2013). A central question, then, is, What can be done to motivate students to complete all the work required of them (curricular and cocurricular) in their first semester?

Middle Tennessee State University

Assistant Professor, University Studies Coordinator, UNIV 1010 and UNIV 2020

Students who enroll in the first-year seminar (FYS) at Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) have a one-year retention rate close to 75% (74.5% in 2016-2017; 76.5% in 20172018), nearly matching the university rate as a whole, which was 74% in both 2016-2017 and 2017-2018. However, students who earned a grade of C, D, F, or W in our FYS have a one-year retention rate nearly 40 percentage points lower (37% in both 2016-2017 and 2017-2018). While retention depends on a variety of institutional, academic, and personal factors, these statistics indicate that students who do not complete the FYS with a grade of B or better are significantly less likely to be retained. This article describes a curricular intervention used in two sections of MTSU’s first-year seminar. The modest goals of this intervention were to: (a) remind students of their initial goals for their time in college, (b) normalize conversation about college’s challenging aspects, (c) identify varied challenges that students face, and (d) allow them to dialogue about effective strategies they are using to moderate their burnout and maintain motivation effectively. The intervention took place within an 85-minute synchronous class session in the final third of the semester.

Instructional Design The intervention itself has three phases: priming, categorization, and discussion. In the first phase (priming), because learning becomes more significant in authentic situations (Eyler, 2018), students are asked to explain their motivation for attending college, specific challenges they have experienced thus far, and strategies they have used for motivation. Students have five minutes to answer each of the following prompts on a 3x5 note card or Post-it note. Card 1: Why are you at college? Card 2: One specific challenge you face toward achieving your academic goals. Card 3: Another specific challenge you face toward achieving your academic goals.

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Card 4: A third specific challenge you face toward achieving your academic goals. Card 5: One specific strategy you use to motivate yourself when things get hard. Card 6: Another specific strategy you use to motivate yourself when things get hard. For the second phase (categorization), class responses are initially sorted into three groups: (a) “Why are you here,” (b) challenges, and (c) motivation strategies. Next, the students analyze the macro-categories in groups. Each subgroup of students reads and categorizes the contributions in their assigned category by whatever structure they find in the responses. Once each group finishes classifying their assigned responses, they report to the class, summarizing the responses and justifying their categorizations. The final phase is a collaborative discussion, connecting individual contributions from the priming phase and the categories that each subgroup identified. The discussion aims to help students reflect on their experiences and make meaning of them, with the goal of building on students’ expertise and helping them motivate one another. The lesson concludes with a short, reflective writing assignment. Students write a fiveminute, informal essay on how they plan to apply one of the motivational strategies discussed in class to a specific challenge they are facing that semester. The students receive feedback on their assignment at the beginning of the next class session.

In Practice: Student Response Examples Why are you here? When asked, about half the students said they were in college to get a job and another third said to get a degree, while just under a quarter mentioned personal growth or developing intelligence. Duckworth (2016) has demonstrated the value of gritty persistence to long-term goals. As such, a foundational strategy for helping students maintain motivation and avoid burnout is to help them remember these goals. Our in-class discussion (the intervention’s final phase) focused on the difficulty of being motivated by temporally distant goals (e.g., graduation, a job after college) and the related hardship of short-term motivation, particularly as the stress of the semester ramps up near finals.

“The discussion aims to help students reflect on their experiences and make meaning of them, with the goal of building on students’ expertise and helping them motivate one

another.

Challenges: Students identified many challenges from throughout the semester, which they categorized into financial, personal, classes/workload, and professors. Financial challenges concerned the cost of college and the difficulty of balancing work and school. The cost of college (direct and indirect) is increasingly a barrier to successful learning (Goldrick-Rab, 2016), and it was evident that students who work have less time to devote to their studies. Further, overwhelmed and overloaded students experience burnout more readily. The in-class conversation focused on finding scholarships and grants and reviewed strategies for balancing work and school without burnout that were introduced previously in the course, with an emphasis on strategies that students found useful. Return to Front Page Copyright © 2019 National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience® and Students in Transition, University of South Carolina


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Personal challenges named by students included illness, homesickness, difficulty making friends or finding belonging, and family emergencies. The classes/workload category outlined the challenge of balancing the various requirements of college (e.g., social life, academic work, employment, involvement), along with problems staying awake for class and using technology (i.e., the LMS, online educational resources). Education often presents as an individual and exclusively intellectual pursuit, even though research consistently demonstrates the positive benefits of social belonging, both for learning and retention (Jorgenson, Farrell, Fudge, & Pritchard, 2018). There is no doubt that students who struggle to find their place or groups to belong to on campus are more likely to burn out than those who connect with the university community. The in-class conversation focused on ways of prioritizing personal wellness and finding social support.

“While these students were

Interestingly, many of the students viewed professors as a challenge to their success and learning. In particular, they identified complicated and boring lectures, the quick pace of instruction, unorganized class sessions, unclear communication, poorly defined expectations, overlapping workload, and the difficulty of learning in a seemingly insignificant class. While these students were clearly motivated to learn, they did not always know what was required or how to meet those requirements, and sometimes the work they were asked to complete served to demotivate them. Further, students struggled to maintain motivation when elements of the classroom experience did not meet their expectations, even if those expectations were not realistic or appropriate. Our in-class discussion focused on the self-directed nature of learning in college and the differences in teachers’ roles in college versus high school. We also discussed several ways in which productive struggle, a concept focusing on developing effective processes and resilient mindsets to persevere through challenging academic situations, contributes to deep, transferable learning (Warshauer, 2015).

clearly motivated to

Motivation strategies: Students identified several ways to self-motivate. Many talked about focusing on the end goal (e.g., graduation, graduate school, future job). Additionally, students noted the benefits of building momentum by starting with one small task or checking tasks off a to-do list. Many identified critical members of their support system who help motivate them (e.g., friends, parents, siblings, mentors), as well as the benefits of exercise breaks and listening to music. Finally, students talked about the value of rewarding themselves for completing a task (e.g., with free time, social interaction, retail therapy). The subsequent discussion focused on the mechanics of each strategy and aligning motivation strategies with the challenges identified previously.

sometimes the work

learn, they did not always know what was required or how to meet those requirements, and

they were asked to complete served to

demotivate them.

Conclusion From a programmatic perspective, information from first-year students on the challenges they faced is crucial to help continually refine our support of this group. The fact that so many saw professors as a challenge to their success is alarming and indicates that students and faculty’s expectations for the classroom learning experience do not

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necessarily align. Further, these findings highlight part of the difficulty of transitioning to college: Students must adapt their learning approach to meet college expectations. Because of power structures inherent to higher education, whatever adaptation is required is usually the students’ to make. The success of this intervention from the students’ perspective is more difficult to ascertain. Course grades do not correlate well to one intervention, and retention and academic performance depend on several factors beyond motivation. Students enjoyed discussing their challenges, suggesting cathartic value. Further, students shared effective motivation strategies, many of which connected to research on motivation, thus providing an authentic place to discuss these theories. Finally, students came away with specific strategies for maintaining motivation in the final weeks of the semester. In the end, even if all this intervention showed students was that the first semester is hard and that someone—their FYS instructor—cares about their experiences, that is still a win.

References Duckworth, A. (2016). Grit: The power of passion and perseverance. New York, NY: Scribner/ Simon & Schuster. Dunlosky, J., Rawson, K. A., Marsh, E. J., Nathan, M. J., & Willingham, D. T. (2013). Improving students’ learning with effective learning techniques: Promising directions from cognitive and educational psychology. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 14(1), 4-58. Erickson, B. L. S., Peters, C. B., & Strommer, D. W., (2006). Teaching first-year college students. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. Eyler, J. R. (2018). How humans learn: The science and stories behind effective college teaching. Morgantown, WV: West Virginia University Press. Goldrick-Rab, S. (2016). Paying the price: College costs, financial aid, and the betrayal of the American dream. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. Jorgenson, D. A., Farrell, L. C., Fudge, J. L., & Pritchard, A. (2018, January). College connectedness: The student perspective. Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 18(1), 75-95. Smith, B. (2013). Mentoring at-risk students through the hidden curriculum of higher education. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books. Warshauer, H. K. (2015, March). Strategies to support productive struggle. Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School, 20(7), 390-393. doi:10.5951/mathteacmiddscho.20.7.0390

Contact Ryan Korstange ryan.korstange@mtsu.edu

Related Articles in E-Source Abel, M. (2006). Increasing retention rates through academic early intervention programs. 4(1), 11-12. Clarke, K. C., & Dial, M. (2017). Revising extended-orientation seminar to meet the needs of new students. 14(3), 5-8. McFalls, T., DeJesus, M., Brown, S., & Gebauer, R. (2018). A move forward: Assessing student readiness and motivation via professional advising. 15(3), 1-4.

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Self-Directed Learning to Support Part-Time FYS Instructors: A Proposed Model

Lydia Laucella

First-year seminars (FYS) set the foundation for students to take ownership of their learning in college. A sampling of literature puts scholarly focus on the importance of developing self-directed learning (SDL) practices for both students and teachers (Garrison, 1997; Grow, 1991; Loyens, Magda, & Rikers, 2008; Silén & Uhlin, 2008), the benefits of which position students to develop an understanding of their strengths and weaknesses as learners. In turn, this understanding helps students focus their learning and helps teachers target their instruction. Most first-year students, however, are more familiar with direct instruction content delivery or teacher-centered pedagogies than with SDL behaviors. As SDL is typically a new approach for students, faculty modeling of these behaviors becomes imperative in helping students succeed in FYS and other first-year courses.

Reinhardt University

Assistant Director for the Center of Innovative Teaching, Assistant Professor of Education and Instructional Design

Even as the ability to translate SDL behaviors into everyday classroom practice grows in importance, colleges increasingly rely on adjunct faculty to teach first-year courses. As an example, in Fall 2018, Kennesaw State University (KSU) offered 145 FYS sections, according to Nirmal Trivedi, director of the First-Year and Transition Studies Department (N. Trivedi, personal communication, n.d.). Roughly 32% of those were taught by adjunct faculty members, with another 4% taught by instructors who worked full-time in other departments. Although these part-time faculty hold valuable real-world knowledge, they often are not provided adequate teacher training, so they can lack pedagogical expertise necessary to develop SDL behaviors in first-year students.

Supporting Part-time Faculty Garrison (1997) defines SDL as “an approach where learners are motivated to assume personal responsibility and collaborative control of the cognitive [self-monitoring] and contextual [self-management] processes in constructing and confirming meaningful and worthwhile learning outcomes” (p. 18). Garrison suggests that self-monitoring and self-management are represented by a student’s ability to set learning goals and become responsible for creating personal meaning. In a first-year classroom, students demonstrating SDL are likely to seek help after observing gaps in their learning and monitor their progress in collaboration with their instructor or classmates. Drawing on my own experiences as a part-time instructor of education in KSU’s First-Year and Transition Studies Department and on Shea, Li, and Pickett’s (2006) direct-instruction feedback loop, I developed a Model of Faculty Modeling-SDL, which can be used to support part-time FYS instructors. The model (see Figure 1) includes three stages, or steps, that instructors can implement at various points during the semester: (a) Faculty Modeling of I Do, Structured We Do, and You Do. This model can be applied to instructional activities that support learning and content delivery, while guiding students toward engagement in SDL practices.

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Figure 1. Proposed Model of Faculty Modeling-SDL.

Faculty Modeling of I Do: Setting the Instructional Tone and Setting a Baseline for SDL The first step in this model is Faculty Modeling of I Do, which sets the instructional tone as well as a baseline for SDL and features learning opportunities that require participation in and recognition of SDL behaviors. Carefully crafted, interactive and collaborative activities, including icebreakers (e.g., the Human Machine, the Fallout Shelter), Think– Pair–Share, and team-building exercises, can help students identify the instructional tone of the class. Such targeted activities can make clear the need for students to think critically about their own decision making while also instilling the idea that they drive conversations and learning experiences in the course. This idea sanctions students to “assume personal responsibility” for their learning outcomes (Garrison, 1997, p. 18). After setting the instructional tone, a class should establish a baseline for SDL understanding. For first-year students engaging in SDL, it is imperative to reflect on how their prior learning experiences impact their current ones, and how college expectations differ from those past experiences. Think–Pair–Share requires students to reflect on previous learning experiences in juxtaposition with college expectations, and students often discover that they share many common learning experiences defined by teachercentered pedagogies. Allowing students to reflect on the prior learning experiences with others allows them to build a conversation around these events. This, in turn, leads to a new dialogue and a baseline understanding of expectations for SDL practices in college. It also enables students to engage in collaborative control of cognitive self-monitoring (Garrison, 1997).

The Next Stage: Structured We Do The next step of the model is Structured We Do, composed of short, structured SDL activities that complement FYS content delivery. One example is the Real World activity, in which the instructor provides structure with a mini-lesson on FYS content (e.g., motivation, goal setting). After the lesson, the instructor plays a song (or two) to the class and completes a free-write on how their chosen music relates to the FYS content. Then, students are asked to choose their own songs and complete the activity as it pertains to them. The activity ends with students sharing their songs and free-writing with one another.

“This model can be applied to instructional activities that support learning and content delivery, while guiding students toward engagement in SDL

practices.

Since these targeted activities focus on developing SDL practices with the premise that learning stems from intrinsic motivation, assignments should not be collected at the end of the lesson. Rather, they should be assessed as either a participation grade Return to Front Page Copyright © 2019 National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience® and Students in Transition, University of South Carolina


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or as a compilation of work that students include in a portfolio graded at the semester midpoint or endpoint. Faculty should consider student accountability by providing a rubric for completing these activities. Such reflective and interactive exercises can ignite student motivation, allowing for “constructing and confirming meaningful and worthwhile learning outcomes” (Garrison, 1997, p. 18) and eventually leading to SDL practices.

The Final Stage: You Do After repeated practice and reflection on what students have learned through the targeted Structured We Do activities comes the opportunity to progress toward full SDL practices: You Do. Because we have gradually built up to SDL practices, students should be ready to replicate these learning behaviors. In my FYS sections for Fall 2018, I asked students to demonstrate SDL practices through their final project. Students should have ample creative space and time to complete the project, and they are encouraged to do so with minimal intervention by the instructor. Afterward, it is useful for students to reflect on their experiences engaging in SDL behaviors. Following is an excerpt from a student who demonstrated self-monitoring by acknowledging both her growth as a learner and the need to develop better communication and time management skills to complete the project: On my own, I have learned to time-manage in order to effectively complete my projects or role in a project. I found that communication is key in order to understand each other’s responsibilities in order to get tasks done. Meeting up will also help in finding out how each [party] is progressing as deadlines approach. Another student demonstrated self-management, wherein he recognized the value of collaboration and idea exploration through completing the final project and achieving his groups’ learning outcomes. He also realized the importance of planning and organization for future tasks: In future assignments, I would come up with a plan ahead of time to know when we would do what, and when. I feel that would possibly give us a better run at it, if we could space out and plan what we would do each day so that we would not run out of ideas. I also feel that the natural compatibility we had as a group worked well, so that we could shoot out ideas and work on the assignment while also enjoying ourselves and not feeling bored or washed out.

“Allowing students to reflect on the prior learning experiences with others allows them to build a conversation around these events. This, in turn, leads to a new

dialogue ... .

Next Steps As institutions continue to rely more on part-time faculty to teach first-year students, instructors must instill confidence in those students to look inward for their learning experiences. Providing safe, interactive experiences for engaging in SDL behaviors

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requires faculty modeling. The benefit of the proposed Model of Faculty Modeling-SDL is that it can support part-time faculty who work with these students. Through faculty modeling in application with course-specific activities similar to those mentioned previously, institutions can provide a pedagogical approach to developing SDL behaviors. The model, which incorporates Shea and colleagues’ (2006) I Do, We Do, You Do structure, can also be applied to other first-year courses.

References Garrison, D. R. (1997). Self-directed learning: Toward a comprehensive model. Adult Education Quarterly, 48(1), 18-33. Grow, G. O. (1991). Teaching learners to be self-directed. Adult Education Quarterly¸ 41(3), 125-149. Loyens, S. M. M., Magda, J., & Rikers, R. M. J. P. (2008). Self-directed learning in problembased learning and its relationships with self-regulated learning. Educational Psychology Review, 20(4), 411-427.

SOURCE CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS E-Source for College Transitions is accepting submissions for future issues. E-Source is published three times a year. The submission deadline for our first issue of 2020, due out in March, is September 9, 2019. Articles on a variety of topics related to student transitions are welcome, including those focusing on • strategies for addressing first-year, sophomore, senior, and transfer transitions;

Shea, P., Li, C. S., & Pickett, A. (2006). A study of teaching presence and student sense of learning community in fully online and web-enhanced college courses. The Internet and Higher Education, 9(3), 175-190. Silén, C., & Uhlin, L. (2008). Self-directed learning—a learning issue for students and faculty! Teaching in Higher Education, 13(4), 461-475.

• strategies for assessing student learning or experiences, programs, or courses; • innovative teaching strategies;

Contact

• descriptions of institutional initiatives with demonstrated results; and

Lydia Laucella lydialaucella@gmail.com

• alternative funding sources for curricular initiatives, programs, and services.

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES

Related Articles in E-Source

For complete guidelines and issue dates, see http://www.sc.edu/fye/esource Audience: E-Source readers include academic and student affairs administrators and faculty from a variety of fields. Style: Articles, tables, figures, and references should adhere to APA (American Psychological Association) style.

Format: Submissions should be submitted online as a Microsoft Word attachment. Length: Original feature-length articles should be 750-1,200 words. Annotations of new resources should be no more than 500 words. The editor reserves the right to edit submissions for length.

Cuseo, J. (2009). The first-year seminar: A vehicle for promoting the instructional development of college faculty. 7(2), 4-5, 8. Maldonado, E. (2006). Optimizing the role of adjunct faculty: Campus strategies that work. 4(2), 4-6

Please address all questions and submissions to: Rebecca Campbell, Editor National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience & Students in Transition Email: esource@mailbox.sc.edu

EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBERS Marsha Butler, Valencia College - West Campus

Charles Haberle, Providence College

Rebecca Campbell, Northern Arizona University

Andrew Lee, Fort Valley State University

Kevin Clarke, Loyola University Chicago

Amelia Noel-Elkins, Illinois State University

Mike Dial, University of South Carolina

Kelly Smith, Springfield College

Crystal Edmonds, Robeson Community College

Elizabeth Turton, Miami University

Richard Gebauer, Cabrini University

Scott Wojciehowski, High Point University

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Resource Spotlight: The State of First-Year Program Assessment: Recent Evidence From the 2017 NSFYE The first-year experience (FYE) has been put forward as a philosophy and movement for improving first-year student transitions for most of the past four decades (Hankin & Gardner, 1996; Upcraft & Gardner, 1989) and represents a comprehensive, coordinated, and wide-reaching effort designed to support student success (Hankin & Gardner, 1996; Upcraft & Gardner, 1989; Young & Keup, 2019). Although the philosophy behind the FYE concept requires a broad approach to new-student success, research shows that it is not enough for colleges and universities to simply increase the array of educational offerings aimed at these students. Indeed, the FYE is not necessarily improved by the number of programs, but by the level of coordination and integration across them. Because firstyear student success is not easily localized or specific to one functional area on campus (Young & Keup, 2019), FYE efforts must include a cohesive, comprehensive, and campuswide mix of curricular and cocurricular initiatives (Greenfield, Keup, & Gardner, 2013; Hankin & Gardner, 1996; Upcraft & Gardner, 1989). 2017 National Survey on the

Dallin George Young Assistant Director for Research, Grants, and Assessment National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition University of South Carolina

First-Year Experience: Creating and Coordinating Structures to Support Student Success by Dallin George Young (Ed.), Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina. Available in July 2019.

Assessment is also critical to the success of any FYE enterprise. As Kuh (2010) noted, only through thoughtful implementation and continual evaluation will high-impact practices, such as those that comprise a FYE, realize their full potential. Intentional design depends on information that allows for targeting of first-year efforts as well as ongoing improvement. This article focuses on assessment of first-year initiatives, and specifically on providing insight gathered through the 2017 administration of the National Survey on the FirstYear Experience (NSFYE). A brief description of the survey precedes a presentation of data on the frequency of assessment and the formats of assessment practices of selected first-year initiatives.

2017 National Survey on the First-Year Experience The 2017 NSFYE sought to gather information on overall institutional attention to the first year, as well as common first-year programs including academic advising, orientation, common readings, early-alert programs, first-year seminars, learning communities, and residential programs. The questionnaire sought information common to each of these seven first-year initiatives, including students served, perceived value, and assessment. An additional set of questions about assessment was asked of institutions that indicated offering first-year seminars, first-year advising, and pre-term Return to Front Page Copyright Š 2019 National Resource Center for The First-Year ExperienceŽ and Students in Transition, University of South Carolina

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(new-student) orientation. The 2017 NSFYE asked more in-depth questions about these initiatives because of their longevity in the scholarly practice discussion and their greater degree of professionalization, as evidenced by the presence of professional organizations (i.e., the National Resource Center, NODA, NACADA) representing these activities. In addition to asking whether these first-year initiatives were assessed, the survey asked respondents to indicate the formats used to carry out any assessment activity. Findings related to general questions on assessment and those on assessment of specific first-year initiatives follow.

Assessment of First-Year Programs by Frequency Figure 1 shows the frequency that institutions offering certain first-year programs reported assessing those programs within the past four academic years. First-year seminars (62.7%) and pre-term orientation (54.1%) were the only programs in which more than half of respondents with these programs reported recent assessment. However, it is notable that when I don’t know responses were removed, that group includes first-year residential programs and learning communities as well. The least frequently reported assessed first-year initiatives were common-reading (27.5%) and early-alert programs (31.1%). There were some comparative differences in reported levels of assessment by institutional characteristic. For example, two-year institutions more frequently reported assessing early alert, while four-year schools were more likely to report assessing common readings and first-year seminars. Additionally, public institutions more frequently reported assessing first-year academic advising, first-year seminars, learning communities, orientation, and residential programs.

“Two-year institutions more frequently reported assessing early alert, while fouryear schools were more likely to report assessing common readings and first-

year seminars.

Figure 1. Percentage of institutions reporting assessment of selected first-year programs since Fall 2013. CR = common reading (n = 182); EA = early-alert systems (n = 383); FYA = first-year academic advising (n = 387); FYS = first-year seminars (n = 366); LC = learning communities (n = 227); OR = pre-term orientation (n = 375); RES = residential programs or initiatives (n = 240).

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Assessment of First-Year Programs by Format Figure 2 displays the frequency that colleges and universities in the sample reported using specific formats to assess first-year seminars, pre-term orientation, and first-year academic advising. Individually, the most common formats for institutions that had assessed first-year seminars were course evaluations (81.1%), analysis of institutional data (72.2%), and direct assessment of learning outcomes (63.4%). For orientation,

“Even though an individual program might have its own priorities and salient questions to consider, similar formats allow offices to thoughtfully discuss how the data collected could be fed into a similar stream for cross-functional

assessment. Figure 2. Percentage of institutions reporting type of assessment conducted. FYS = first-year seminars (n = 227); OR = pre-term orientation (n = 201); FYA = first-year academic advising (n = 149).

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respondents most frequently indicated the use of a survey instrument (73.1%) by a large margin, more than doubling the number of schools that reported using analysis of institutional data (36.3%) and direct assessment of learning outcomes (36.3%). Finally, nearly two thirds of colleges and universities reported analysis of institutional data (68.5%) and use of a survey instrument (66.4%) to assess first-year advising efforts, followed by nearly a third of respondents who indicated carrying out a program review (32.9%).

Discussion These results point to at least two noteworthy patterns. First, there were substantial comparative differences in the frequency that respondents indicated the use of formats of assessment by first-year program. Institutions that recently assessed their first-year seminars reported using five of the nine types of assessment referred to in the survey at greater frequency than the other two. This, combined with the results reported in Figure 1, suggests that at the institutions represented in the sample, first-year seminars are not only being assessed more frequently, but also using a greater variety of formats. Secondly, there are formats that, while used with varying frequency relative to one another, are among the most common for the three first-year programs on which the NSFYE gathered data. Analysis of institutional data was among the top three assessment formats for all three programs. In addition, direct assessment of learning outcomes and use of survey instruments were in the top three responses of at least two of these programs. Under the collaborative ideal of the FYE philosophy, these represent potential opportunities to engage in coordinated assessment practices. Even though an individual program might have its own priorities and salient questions to consider, similar formats allow offices to thoughtfully discuss how the data collected could be fed into a similar stream for cross-functional assessment of broader institutional goals for the first year. Assessment of FYE programs is an important piece toward ensuring the effectiveness of these offerings individually and collectively. We repeat the sentiments of Kuh (2010), who highlighted first-year experiences as high-impact educational practices: “Only when they are implemented well and continually evaluated ... will we realize their considerable potential” (p. xiii).

References Greenfield, G. M., Keup, J. R., & Gardner, J. N. (2013). Developing and sustaining successful first-year programs: A guide for practitioners. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. Hankin, J. N., & Gardner, J. N. (1996). The freshman year experience: A philosophy for higher education in the new millennium. In J. N. Hankin (Ed.), The community college: Opportunity and access for America’s firstyear students (Monograph No. 19, pp. 1-10). Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina, National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition. Kuh, G. D. (2010). High-impact practices: Retrospective and prospective. In J. E. Brownell & L. E. Swaner, Five high-impact practices: Research on learning outcomes, completion, and quality (pp. v-xiii). Washington, DC: Association of American Colleges and Universities. Upcraft, M. L., & Gardner, J. N. (Eds.). (1989). The freshman year experience: Helping students survive and succeed in college. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. Young, D. G., & Keup, J. R. (2019). Council for the Advancement of Standards (CAS) first-year experience cross-functional team framework. Fort Collins, CO: Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education.

Contact Dallin George Young youngdal@mailbox.sc.edu

Related Articles in E-Source Padgett, R. D. (2011). Emerging evidence from the 2009 National Survey of First-Year Seminars. 9(1), 18-19. Young, D. G. (2013). Research spotlight: National evidence of the Assessment of First-Year Seminars: How and how much? 11(1), 18-19.

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