Incorporating Campus Resources into an FYE Course

On January 7, 2005, Noelle Call wrote to the list looking for a challenging and interactive way to introduce students to campus resources, aside from a scavenger hunt, in the FYE class at Utah State University. Suggestions include having students interview faculty and staff members from different offices and present the findings to the class; providing students with a problem to solve in a group by visiting the appropriate campus offices; touring the campus, taking notes, and writing a report; and developing advertisements for a campus event. Members also responded with textbooks they use in their first-year seminars.

Noelle Call (read FYE-post or send email) noellec@CC.USU.EDU
Tara Marandos (read FYE-post or send email) marandos@DWC.EDU
Tom Grites (read FYE-post or send email) Tom.Grites@STOCKTON.EDU
Dawn X. Henderson (read FYE-post or send email) dxhenderson@ST-AUG.EDU
Alex Babione (read FYE-post or send email) ababion@SIUE.EDU
Margaret Puckett (read FYE-post or send email)
Jenny Bancroft (read FYE-post or send email)
AnnMarie Marlier (read FYE-post or send email) ammarlier@BRYANTSTRATTON.EDU
Bethany Nohlgren (read FYE-post or send email)
Kevin Hadduck (read FYE-post or send email) hadduckk@CS.MCPHERSON.EDU
George E. Daniel (read FYE-post or send email) gdaniel@UTM.EDU
Laurie Hazard (read FYE-post or send email) lhazard@BRYANT.EDU

January 7, 2005 6:44pm
Original Message: Campus Resource Assignment

Hello and Happy New Year,
We are in the process of revamping our curriculum for our FYE course. We are trying to create assignments that are challenging and interactive. (We have been doing this for 20 years, but still are looking for assignments that accomplish objectives and are not perceived as "busywork.) I am looking for ways to introduce students to campus resources so that the know locations and services that are available. We have done scavenger hunts. Does anyone have other ideas? Thank you.

Noelle Call
Utah State University

January 7, 2005 7:15pm
Re: Campus Resource Assignment

I am in the process of the same thing. Does anyone use a textbook with their FYE course? Currently we have an eight week course that runs once a week for 50 min. I am proposing we have a semester long course that meets twice a week, as I do not feel eight meetings is enough.

If anyone has any input or suggestions on how to improve a FYE course please let me know.

--Tara Marandos
Daniel Webster College
Nashua, NH

January 8, 2005 10:30am
Re: Campus Resource Assignment

Although I use the following assignment in a course for new transfer students (I have also used it with frosh), I have found it to be reasonably effective, at least less perceived as "busywork." FYI, the course is a regular course (not a separate orientation course) and it is a "writing across the curriculum" course as well.

Anyway, the assignment is for students to work in 2s or 3s and (literally) walk into any office on campus and find out what that office does for students. They must (individually) write up what they found and are expected to describe the same in class on the due date, which is c. 4 weeks into the term. On that date, the Dean of Students visits the class and we respond to what they report, from both the academic and the student affairs perspectives.

Three observations from my experience with this assignment: 1) they tend to visit student services offices (Health, Counseling, Career Services, etc.), rather than academic ones (Deans, Tutoring Center, etc.); 2) we find out things about many offices that help us re-think our efforts; and 3) we have a great opportunity to provide much more information about services, offices, etc. that they didn't visit but now are aware of their existence.

Tom Grites
Asst to the Provost
Richard Stockton College of New Jersey

January 8, 2005 11:33am
Re: Campus Resource Assignment

We did a College Scavenger Hunt last semester and are Doing Campus Interviews this semester.

The Scavenger Hunt required first-year students to visit areas that were essential to their matriculation, i.e., Student Affairs, Student Activities, SGA, Financial Aid, etc. They had to find out the mission/purpose of the office, the location, and contact person with signature. I must mention that some were organized into teams and some were not. We did not have any incentives for the first to complete it...but we are working on that for next year.

Campus Interview requires students to go out and meet with a faculty or staff member and conduct an interview with them on their purpose, title, experience at the College, background, and one thing they would like to leave the interviewee with.

I hope this helps.

Dawn X. Henderson, M. Ed.
Associate Director
Division of Lower College
Saint Augustine's College
(919) 516-5083

January 8, 2005 2:23pm
Re: Campus Resources Assignment

> The Scavenger Hunt required first-year students to visit areas that were
> essential to their matriculation, i.e., Student Affairs, Student
> Activities, SGA, Financial Aid, etc.

Consider turning this project into a campus quest that requires students to solve a problem. Working in groups of 2-4, they are given a problem to solve.

Sample problems:

I have not been feeling good and call home to ask what to do. Mom says go to student health.

I want to join a theatre group on campus.

My email is not working. I can't participate in the listserv discussion group.

I am interested in ROTC.
I am interested in Campus Ministries.

I got a parking ticket and want to appeal it.

Goal: To learn about a place, activity, service, or organization; how to get there; how to contact people; and solve the problem.

Audience: other students

Tasks: (These may vary)

  1. Map the route to Student Health from various points of origin. Each student in the group must begin at a different point...the residence hall, the library, the cafeteria, the parking lot and so on. Each student uses a campus map (we have them in the campus directory and on the web site) to show the route taken and also describes the way to go. This requires use of written and verbal skills.
  2. Provide contact information and source for the information--such as campus web site, campus directory, a fellow student, ..... Note all of the students are required to have a campus directory.
  3. Provide a narrative or log of activities to solve the problem. Here students work in their groups and pool their various findings to create a report. They must provide sources for all the information obtained.
  4. Prepare a presentation for the rest of the class. This may include posters, brochures, a power point presentation, web log, web site, and any visuals. I had one group video their walks to their destination with a voice over description.
  5. Provide a written report.

Interesting side note:
As a result of the webquests, some students discovered that the campus directory and various web sites contained incorrect or outdated information. They were encouraged to report their findings to the particular group or place in question.

Alex Babione
Southern Illinois University - Edwardsville

January 10, 2005 9:06am
Re: Campus Resources Assignment

At North Central State College in Mansfield, Ohio - a two year college of about 3500 students, we have a one quarter FYE class that meets once a week and we use Houghton Mifflin's "Practicing College Learning Strategies" by Carolyn Hopper. It is good book to introduce study skills ideas to students. For campus resources, we require students to take a campus tour led by an Ambassador. This tour gives them information on all buildings/services offered by the campus. They fill out a worksheet of information as they go and turn that in for a grade.

Margaret Puckett
FYE Course coordinator/instructor
North Central State College
2441 Kenwood Circle
PO Box 698
Mansfield, Ohio 44901-0698

January 10, 2005 10:59am
Re: Campus Resources Assignment

I attended a workshop last summer, "Connecting Through Creativity" with Cynthia Jenkins of the Univ. of Texas at Dallas. To introduce her students to campus resources, she has them do "advertisements" for campus resources as groups. Students have done videos, print ads, created websites, and other creative ads and then present them to the
class. I am planning on trying this activity in the Fall. In the past, we have done a similar "scavenger hunt," but I like that this new activity engages students, invites creativity, involves direct contact with these offices and teamwork, and meets the goal of introducing students to campus services and resources. Hope this helps.

Jenny Bancroft
Director, Teaching and Learning Center
Mount Olive College
1-800-653-0854, ext. 1185
(919) 658-2502, ext. 1185
Fax: (919) 658-7768

January 10, 2005 11:32am
Re: Campus Resources Assignment

We use "On Course" by Skip Downing. It is a great book- not too large or overwhelming, written in a conversational tone, and nicely addresses the emotional components of being a new student as well as the practical ones.

AnnMarie Marlier
Associate Dean of Students
Bryan & Stratton College- Milwaukee Campuses

January 10, 2005 12:15pm
Re: Campus Resources Assignment

We here at Bard College recently developed a walking historical/resources tour of the campus where we take groups of students (led by their RA) around the campus to different spots. At the various locations, the students are met by someone in either student or academic affairs and they are given a short history of the area as well as the
resources that can be found there. In many cases, we matched people with their particular area (i.e Director of the Library with the library building). When we can't - say the Director of Multicultural Affairs talks about her office AND the computer center area - it gives the students a sense that we are a close-knit community and that being a small school, our work often transcends our particular training and we are not afraid to go outside the box. We are lucky to have a very involved faculty and staff, and are able to have lots of people involved. It is about a 2 1/2 hour tour on the second day of orientation

The interesting thing about the tour is that it gives our students a sense of the history of the college, and it emphasizes the ever evolving mission of the school. When we conceived of the idea, we kept asking ourselves "what are we orienting our students to?" and "how can we give them an idea of what this college has gone through?" One of our stops is the cemetery on campus, where our Dean of Lower College studies took them on a tour of gravestones, and talked about the different people who have been a part of our institution. Additionally, he spoke about his role in their academic careers.

We mixed the tour up and made sure that it was not too dry. The students visited our community garden, where they learned about volunteering, where the presenter had them "pick a weed, take a flower." When they went to the gym they met a few upperclass student athletes who took them through an obstacle course and then the director of athletics talked about the resources in the gym. We also included many interesting fun facts about the college and the grounds to keep them interested. We ordered plastic water bottles with the college logo and gave them to everyone involved and made sure there were plenty of stops that had water and snacks (and places to sit!)

Hope this helps. I'd be happy to talk about the tour further if you are interested!

Bethany Nohlgren
Director of Student Activities/Coordinator of First-Year Experience
Bard College
PO Box 5000
Annandale-on-Hudson, NY 12504
ph. 845.758.7292
fx. 845.758.7041

January 10, 2005 12:26pm
Re: Campus Resources Assignment


I'm new to the list.

Thank you for the good ideas that have already come.

I am director for the Royer Center for Academic Development at McPherson

We use Ellis, Becoming a Master Student, concise 10th, for our FYE course, although we will likely change this year. Consensus here is that we'd rather use a collection of first-year related essays and stories. Any recommendations for such a text?

Our FYE course runs two semesters--2 sessions/wk in fall; 1 session/wk in spring. Too much time, given our format. Under pressure from a previous president, we fell into the trap of allotting X amount of time, and THEN trying to decide how to fill it! Better to decide what the essential components are, then build the schedule accordingly. We're debating some about what the essential components are. I'm a minimalist :)

Kevin Hadduck, Director
Royer Center for Academic Development
McPherson College

January 10, 2005 1:22pm
Re: Campus Resources Assigment

We use "On Course" by Skip Downing as well. Ditto the comments below from AnnMarie Marlier. I strongly recommend consideration of Skip's book and website for fantastic course and classroom ideas.

George E. Daniel, III, Ed.D.
Director Student Success Center
208 Clement Hall
University of Tennessee at Martin
Martin, TN 38238
Telephone: 731-881-1688
Fax: 731-881-7702

January 11, 2005 12:27pm
Re: Campus Resources Assignment

I have quite a few ideas that we have as assignments in the text we use. Here's a few:

For this one, what I do is I may either give an individual student or a small group of students this assignment one week and have them come back to class the next week to report/share their findings: Utilize the services of one of the many campus resources available at your institution (e.g. the campus library, tutoring center, career services, etc.) Write a journal entry or short essay about your experience utilizing the resource. What did you expect before you arrived? How did the visit correspond with your expectations? Were you satisfied with the outcome? How so/not? I may have them pick up pamphlets and instructional materials from the place they visited to distribute and share with the class. They can do a mini oral presentation in the class.

Attend a campus organizational fair. What clubs and activities would you be interested in joining? What would your motivation be for doing so? How would getting involved in this way help you in ways you may not have thought of? Again, you could have students do a mini-oral presentation to the class on their experience or have them journal or write about it.

I love this activity because it seems to "normalize" the idea that almost every institution has an FYE-type course. I think incoming students sometimes think they are the only ones that have to take such a course. I give this assignment right at the beginning of the semester and you could tweak it to meet the need of introducing students to campus resources. This activity requires you to research FYE courses at other institutions. Create a thesis (FYE courses have grown exponentially in the last ten years. Or, most FYE courses focus on the same issues, namely helping to familiarize students with campus resources). Support your findings with evidence from three sources. You could have students examine other institutions' campus resources via websites and compare/contrast the resources to those on your campus.

Just a few ideas......................

Laurie Hazard
Bryant University