Best Practices minutes
Minutes from the Best Practices in First Year Experience work group 10.30
FYE SubCommittee: Best Practices
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Present: Kim Ukura, Tammy Berberi, Heather Nicole Christian, Pam Solvie, Brenda Boever
All members have been reading the text provided. We decided to begin by reviewing the FYE programs at the COPLAC and Morris 14 schools. Each member is responsible for researching the FYE program at a number of schools to compare practices. We will compile the information and share it with the full committee.
Discussion on foundation for a successful program:
• Successful programs have a clear mission, cohesive programming across departments, shared values and built on consensus of the community
• Strong leadership is required to get universal participation.
Additional observations for consideration:
• Must establish goals for the whole student body that begin in the first year.
• Develop core courses for first year students that include discussions to develop cohort identity and unity.
• Need something to pull first year elements together (a space or events) to create a more cohesive experience for everyone – to help single identity rather than looking at the first year students as segments of a population.
• What activities, discussion or events can anchor what is happening in the classroom –expectations and outcomes of what students do in the classroom needs to have meaning in a larger context.
• Develop a theme for whole student body – all activities should clearly be connected to the theme or goals established.
• Define and clarify outcomes and expectations for all students. Students need to understand them and why they are doing it.
• What is liberal arts? What is the message we articulate to students; how is it put into practice in courses and activities.
• Intrigued by the concept of a 2 week course prior to start of classes (Eckerd College model) – something like our Gateway program’s structure. This acknowledges entire student body’s transition to college level learning as well as changing demographics.
• Consider the message and structure of our current FYS course. What is the function of FYS: should it be academic focus or introduction to higher education? What action if any, should be taken?
• UMM appears to have many of the key elements of a successful FYE program but seems to lack cohesiveness and unity.