Summary of Roundtable Discussion: Integrating First-Year and Sophomore Year National Conference on First-Year Experience
February 7, 2005
Session Facilitator: Ms. Kathy Matthews, Director of First-Year Experience
Kennesaw State University, Kennesaw, GA
Co-presenter (unable to attend): Dr. Edward Chan, Director of Sophomore-Year Experience
Kennesaw State University, Kennesaw, GA
The session focused attention on four broad areas: Curriculum, Resources, Communication, and Obstacles for Implementation. The discussion was lively and informative.
Ms. Matthews began the session by presenting an overview of the first-year program at KSU. The KSU 1101 course has a long history at the institution, having been created as a three-credit course in 1983. The KSU 1101 course is an integral part of the first-year experience learning communities initiative, but stand-alone sections are also offered. An average of 44 sections of KSU 1101 are offered in fall semesters; the course is offered as elective credit. The First-Year Seminar is taught by full-time faculty, 10 of whom were recently appointed in the Department of University Studies. KSU has also recently formalized a new University College for undergraduates, specifically exploratory students.
KSU's Sophomore Year Experience has only been in existence for two years, with Fall 2004 as initial stages of implementation. The Sophomore Year Experience Director, Dr. Ed Chan, also instructs the KSU 1101 course as well as English composition and world lit courses. More information on the SophYE was available on Dr. Chan's handout summarizing planned activities for sophomores (attached).
The forum was opened for discussion. Model programs were suggested for further investigation, including those featured in the Monograph on Sophomore programs: Visible Solutions for Invisible Students (#31).
*Beloit College's Academic Plan was mentioned for its usefulness in helping direct students' academic goals. Sample advising grid available at the college website. * Beloit also produces the popular Mindset List (don't feel too old when reading through it)
** Residential Programs such as Emory University's Second Year at Emory (SYE) offers many creative approaches for social and academic forums. www.emory.edu/housing/sye Contact person: Dr. Andrea Trinklein
Stanford University's program. Former Provost of that program went on to become our Secretary of State, Condi Rice!!!
Discussion Topics: Suggestions to Improve Retention of Sophomores
- Plan to host a reunion for the returning sophomores; create interest by promoting the event as one to look forward to. Rely on positive peer pressure from first-year learning community students to fill the event.
- Focus on helping sophomores while they are still pleasant people; they're not jaded yet. Take advantage of their passion!
- Spotlight your sophomores! Show them they are valued; show them some love
- COMMUNICATE with your sophomores. Duke University Dean shared a tip: Send sophomores emails, embedding special messages from the President, informing them of campus happenings and resources.
- Encourage Service
- Provide Leadership Opportunities: Use sophomores to help sell the campus as tour guides or returning ambassadors at their high schools; let returning students help recruit FY students for learning communities
- Encourage sophomores to be tutors; use as teaching assistants
- Assess students through focus groups
ISSUE: Since many first-year students who have been residential students often look forward to moving off campus in the second year, living learning communities don't always work.
Solution: Create a Commuter Student Assistance Center
- Structuring learning communities/linked classes for sophomores
- Sophomores should participate in majors/career expos
- Offer forums with department heads/faculty to discuss possible career opportunities related to the discipline
- Seniors paired with sophomores
MORE Info Sources: Join the Sophomore ListServ!!