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University 101 Programs

An Annotated Bibliography

A listing of books, articles, monographs, external reports and dissertations describing the history, effectiveness, impact, course offerings, components and best practices of University 101 Programs. 

Achieving and Sustaining Institutional Excellence for the First Year of College

Abstract: This book contains a case study about University 101 Programs that provides institutional context, origins of the first-year experience as they relate to University 101 Programs, and highlights lessons learned from the development of University 101 as well as applicability for other institutions.

Citation: Morris, L.V., & Cutright, M. (2005). University of South Carolina: Creator and Standard-Bearer for the First-Year Experience. In Barefoot, B.O., Gardner, J.N., Cutright, M., Morris, L.V., Schroeder, C.C., Schwartz, S.W., Siegel, M.J. & Swing, R.L. (Eds.), Achieving and Sustaining Institutional Excellence for the First Year of College (pp. 349-377). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Inc.

Common Courses: A Developing Linked Course Perspective. 

Abstract: This case study describes the programmatic, residential, and curricular components of The Common Courses Program at the University of South Carolina. It highlights the collaboration between University 101 and a first-year general education course in Arts & Sciences. The authors provide a discussion of the impact this partnership has on residential community development, faculty engagement, peer-to-peer learning and retention. The authors conclude with a discussion of the implications that the assessment data will have on The Common Courses program and specifically the partnership between the Arts & Sciences course and University 101.

Themes: Collaboration

Citation: Fallucca, A., Friedman, D.B., Lictherman, H., & Stenas, J. (2016). Common courses: A developing linked course perspective. In J. Graziano and L. Chism Schmidt (Eds.), Building synergy for high impact educational initiatives: First-year seminars and learning communities (pp 139-149). Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina, National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition. 

Elements of An Effective Seminar: The University 101 Program

Abstract: Chapter 16 of this book explores the development of University 101. After a brief historical review, the authors describe the purpose and content of freshman seminars and faculty/staff development programs. This chapter attributes the beginnings of the freshman seminar movement to the University of South Carolina and details the philosophy that set the foundation for the course. Upcraft and Gardner go into detail about the content of the course, the success of campus resources and partnerships, and the recruitment and development of faculty/staff.

Themes: Program overview, history, faculty development, course content, campus partners 

Citation: Jewler, A. J. (1989). Elements of an effective seminar: The university 101 program. In L. Upcraft & J. Gardner (Eds.), The freshman year experience: Helping students survive and succeed in college (pp. 198-215). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Inc.

College Students in The United States: Characteristics, Experiences, and Outcomes. 

Abstract: Renn and Reason provide a brief discussion of University 101 as a product of the First Year Experience movement, and highlight information on the origins of University 101 Programs.

Themes: Program overview, history

Citation: Reason, R.D., & Renn, K.A. (2012). College Students in the Untied States: Characteristics, Experiences, and Outcomes. San Francisco, CA: Jossey Bass Inc, 67.


The Freshman Course: A Curricular Schema

Abstract. The author presents a schema to use as a planning guide for adopting a first-year seminar to retain students. University 101 is highlighted as a model of a developmental course, which focuses on “the student as a person and his or her self-perceptions and relationship with other individuals, society, and the college experience” (p. 183). The author concludes that the emphasis on “cognitive and affective development cause many of the sections to become orientation support groups from which friendships may develop.” (p. 185).

Themes. Program overview, retention

Citation. Danowitz Sagaria, M. A. (1980). The freshman course: A curricular schema. Alternative Higher Education, 4(3), 180-188. 

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

Abstract: In this article, Dial shares the theoretical framework, course design, instructional design, and implications of the Academic Recovery section of University 101. 

Themes: Academic Recovery Section of UNIV 101

Citation: Dial, M. (2019). Academic Recovery: The First-Year Seminar for Students on Probation. E-Source for College Transitions, 16(3), 10-12.

Training First-Year Seminar Peer Leaders Through Extended Orientation.

Abstract: This article explains University 101 Programs' Peer Leader Program, including the philosophy behind the peer leader development model model, a detailed summary of each training/workshop, and a description of the recruitment and selection process.

Themes: Peer Leadership

Citation: Dial, M., & Stuart, S. (2018). Training First-Year Seminar Peer Leaders Through Extended Orientation. E-Source for College Transitions, 15(2), 8.

Relationship of Freshman Orientation Seminars to Sophomore Return Rates. 

Abstract: This report contains data spanning from 1973 to 1988 that showed that participants in the first-year seminar at the University of South Carolina had lower academic ability, higher course loads, and no differences in motivation. However, they were more likely to seek out a faculty member and use student services when compared with non-course participants. The brighter, more highly motivated students did not self-select into the first-year seminar; yet, the seminar participants achieved a higher sophomore return rate than nonparticipants.

Themes: Retention, student engagement

Citation: Fidler, P.P. (1991). Relationship of freshman orientation seminars to sophomore return rates. Journal of The Freshman Year Experience, 3(1), 7-38.

Retaining African-American Students through the Freshman Seminar

Abstract. The authors explore the developmental needs of African American students enrolled at a predominantly white institution and highlight ways in which University 101, which designed for all entering students, effectively responds to those unique needs. In particular, the course helped students find a welcoming and supporting environment on campus, encouraged involvement, and provided opportunities for interaction with a faculty or staff member. Reporting on course-taking patterns and outcomes from 1980 to 1993, the authors note that African American students were more likely to enroll in University 101 than their white counterparts and that African Americans who took the course were more likely to be retained to the sophomore year than African American students who did not take the course in all but four of the years studied.

Themes. African American students, retention

Citation. Fidler, P. P., & Godwin, M. A. (1994). Retaining African-American students through the freshman seminar. Journal of Developmental Education, 17(3), 34-36, 38, 40. 

A Comparison of Effects of Residence and Freshman Seminar Attendance on Freshman Dropout Rates. 

Abstract: This report contains data spanning from 1986 to 1993 that demonstrated that participating in University 101 had more of an impact on freshman to sophomore retention rates than living on campus (although both impacted retention rates positively). Fidler and Moore found that students who participate in University 101 and live on campus have the lowest dropout rates. Conversely, students who do not take University 101 and who do not live on campus have the highest drop out rates.

Themes: Retention

Citation: Fidler, P.P., & Moore, P.S. (1996). A comparison of effects of residence and freshman seminar attendance on freshman dropout rates. Journal of The Freshman Year Experience, Vol. 8, No. 2, 7-16.

Teaching the Freshman Seminar: Its Effectiveness in Promoting Faculty Development. 

Abstract: This study demonstrated that faculty who completed a training workshop prior to teaching University 101 were able to apply new teaching techniques in their discipline specific courses. Through interviews and surveys, faculty (N=68) spoke to using a larger array of teaching techniques and transitioning from lecturing to facilitating class discussion in their courses.

Themes: Faculty development

Citation: Fidler, P., Neururer-Rotholz, J. & Richardson, S. (1999). Teaching the freshman seminar: Its effectiveness in promoting faculty development.  Journal of The First-Year Experience, Vol. 11, 59-74. 

Using Student Narratives to Understand the Perceived Impact of First-Year Seminar Participation

Abstract. The study explored the perceived impact of participating in a first-year seminar at one of three sites, including the University of South Carolina. Participants described increased feelings of academic confidence, support from faculty and staff, connection to peers. The author notes that the perceived boost to academic confidence may be especially salient for first-generation college students. Even when students may not have felt the content was useful to them, the support from faculty and staff and opportunity to connect with peers were seen as important.

Themes. Student outcomes

Citation. Foote, S. M. (2010). Using student narratives to understand the perceived impact of first-year seminar participation. Journal of College Orientation and Transition, 18(1), 5-15. 

Increasing the Quality of the First-Year Seminar Through Greater Curricular Flexibility

Abstract: Friedman and Greene describe University 101 Programs' philosophy on balancing curricular flexibility for instructors while maintaining consistency across sections. 

Themes: Faculty development, Curriculum

Citation: Friedman, D. and Greene, S. (2019). Increasing the quality of the first-year seminar through greater curricular flexibility. E-Source for College Transitions, Vol 16, No.2. Columbia, SC University of South Carolina, National Resource Center for the First-Year Experience and Students in Transition. 

Faculty Development for the University of South Carolina's First-Year Experience Course.

Abstract: This article explains University 101 Programs' faculty development model, including the philosophy behind the model, descriptions of the various initiatives, and best practices. 

Themes: Faculty development

Citation: Friedman, D., Winfield, J., & Hopkins, K. (2019). Faculty Development for the University of South Carolina's First-Year Experience Course. Journal for Faculty Development. Volume 33, Number 2, (pp. 11-18).

Developing Faculty as Facilitators and Mentors. 

Abstract: Gardner focuses on University 101’s faculty training model and highlights the benefits of faculty development for students, faculty, and staff. Gardner provides a brief description of course objectives and the conceptual background of faculty development. This article also goes into detail about the methods for training faculty to be facilitators and mentors.

Themes: Faculty development

Citation: Gardner, J. N. (1981). Developing faculty as facilitators and mentors. New Directions for Student Services, 1981(14), 67-80. 

Focusing on the First-Year Student.

Abstract: This report provides a brief snapshot of University 101, a discussion of the structure and outcomes of the course, and a description of U201 and U401.

Themes: Program overview, University 201, University 401

Citation: Gardner, J.N., Siegel, M.J. & Cutright, M. (2001). Focusing on the First-Year Student. Priorities. 10-11. 

Providing Academic Support Through Peer Education.

Abstract: Latino and Unite provide a brief description of the origins of University 101 Programs in light of the protests and unrest in the United States during the 1970s. This chapter also briefly covers the goals of the program.

Themes: History, program overview

Citation: Latino, J.A., & Unite, C.A. (2012). Providing academic support through peer education. New Directions for Higher Education, no. 157, 32-33. 

Freshman Year Enhancement in American Higher Education.  

Abstract: This report highlights University 101 Programs as a model for extended 
orientation courses. Murphy underscores the various aspects of University 101 Programs that have been adopted by other freshman seminars.

Themes: Program overview, replication at other institutions

Citation: Murphy, R.O. (1989). Freshman year enhancement in American higher education. Journal of the Freshman Year Experience, Vol. 1, No. 2.

Engaging Freshman in Classroom Discussion: Interaction and the Instructor Techniques that Encourage It

Abstract. The study sought to uncover instructor actions that might contribute to student participation in a first-year seminar compared to other courses. Instructors (n = 11) and students (n = 156) in eight sections of University 101 completed a questionnaire. Their responses were compared to student responses from an earlier study using the same instrument. Students were more likely to report participating in UNIV 101 than their other courses and to indicate that the level of student participation was “just right.” Instructor behaviors that supported student participation included creating a support environment, using humor, and using student names. The perceived impact of instructor behaviors on participation varied somewhat by gender and expected course grade. Among the reasons students give for not participating, being tired is the most common.

Themes. Teaching strategies, student engagement, course as research site

Citation. Reynolds, K. C., & Nunn, C. E. (1998). Engaging freshmen in classroom discussion: Interaction and the instructor techniques that encourage it. Journal of The First-Year Experience & Students in Transition, 10(2), 7-24.

University 101 Freshman Seminar: A Longitudinal Study of Persistence, Retention, and Graduation Rates.

Abstract: The results of this study showed a strong positive correlation between successful completion of University 101 and retention, persistence, and graduation rates.

Themes: Retention

Citation: Shanley, M.G., & Witten, C.H. (1990). University 011 freshman seminar: A longitudinal study of persistence, retention, and graduation rates. NASPA Journal, 27(4), 344-352. 

The Development of a Service-Learning Program for First-Year Students Based on the Hallmarks of High Quality Service-Learning and Rigorous Program Evaluation.

Abstract: This paper describes the Transitional Coaching Program, a collaboration between the Carolina Service-Learning Initiative and University 101. The authors detailed the formation of the partnership and highlighted the benefits of giving University 101 students the opportunity to mentor students going through a transition to middle school.

Themes: Program overview, service-learning

Citation: Smith, B. H., Gahagan, J., McQuillin, S., Haywood, B., Cole, C. P., Bolton, C., & Wampler, M. K. (2011). The development of a service-learning program for first-year students based on the hallmarks of high quality service-learning and rigorous program evaluationInnovative Higher Education, 36(5), 317-329.

Reduction in Sexual Risk Behaviors Among College Students Following a Comprehensive Health Education

Abstract. The article describes a research study designed to assess the impact of a sexual health intervention incorporated into University 101. Students completed a health assessment, attended a presentation facilitated by a physician and a health educator, and participated in a class session focused on processing their health assessment and reactions to the presentation, practicing communication skills through role play, learning how to use condoms correctly, and thinking about sexual values and decision making. A pre-post anonymous, self-report questionnaire was administered to students who were enrolled in randomly selected sections of English 101. Students enrolled in English 101 but not in University 101 served as the control group. The intervention was associated with short-term reduction of sexual risk behaviors that varied according to students’ gender.

Themes. Health education, campus partner presentation, course as research site

Citation. Turner, J. C., Korpita, E., Mohn, L., & Hill, W. B. (1993). Reduction in sexual risk behaviors among college students following a comprehensive health education. Journal of American College Health, 41, 187-193. 


Exploring the Evidence: Reporting Outcomes of First-Year Seminars (Vol. II). 

Abstract: This report sets the context with an overview of the University of South Carolina and its student body and provides a description of University 101. This monograph presents research on the implications of participation in University 101 on retention and persistence, highlighting that students participating in University 101 had lower dropout rates than students who did not participate in University 101.

Themes: Program overview, retention

Citation: Barefoot, B. O., Warnock, C. L., Dickinson, M. P., Richardson, S. R., & Roberts, M. R. (1998). Exploring the evidence: Reporting outcomes of first-year seminars, Volume II (Monograph Series No. 25). Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina, National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience & Students in Transition.

First-Year Seminar Peer Leaders, Programs and Profiles. In Peer Leadership: A Primer on Program Essentials. 

Abstract: This monograph provides a snapshot of the Peer Leader Program and gives a powerful quote from a student about the personal and professional impact of being a peer leader. Suzanne Hamid also provides a sample Peer Leader recruitment and selection time line.

Themes: Peer leadership

Citation: Hamid, S. L., & VanHook, J. (2001). First-year seminar peer leaders, programs and profiles. (Monograph No. 32). Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina, National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition. 

Using Peers in the Classroom

Abstract: This series provides a detailed description of the University 101 Programs Peer Leader training model, giving specific attention to the learning outcomes of training, the training schedule, and an abbreviated EDLP 520 course syllabus.

Themes: Peer leadership

Citation: Latino, J.A. & Ashcraft, M.A. (2012). Using Peers in the Classroom. Columbia, SC: National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition, University of South Carolina. 

Retaining Minority Students in Higher Education: A Framework for Success. 

Abstract: This report examines a variety of student retention strategies and provides descriptions in the appendix of successful college student retention programs, including University 101 Programs. Specifically, the authors of this report provide a program description and detail the key components of the program. This report also provides information about the goals and key components of University 401.

Themes: Retention, program overview, University 401

Citation: Swail, S, Redd, K., & Perna, L. (2003). Retaining Minority Students in Higher Education: A framework for Success. (ASHE-ERIC Higher Education Report No. 2). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. 

Service-Learning And the First-Year Experience: Preparing Students for Personal Success and Civic Responsibility. 

Abstract: This report contains a preface by John Gardner, outlining the origins of the implementation of service-learning in University 101 and a retrospective look at the relationship between service-learning and University 101.

Themes: Service-learning

Citation: Zlotkowski, E. (Ed.). (2002). Service-learning and the first-year experience: Preparing students for personal success and civic responsibility (Monograph No. 34). Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina, National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience & Students in Transition.

The Empirical Case for the First-Year Seminar: Promoting Positive Student Outcomes and Campus-Wide Benefits.

Abstract: This report provides a brief discussion of the instructional development of faculty, the growth of a campus community and development of partnerships across the division as well as an increase in positive perceptions of students among faculty and staff and early identification of first term students who may be academically at-risk.

Themes: Faculty development, campus partners, student perceptions

Citation: Cuseo, J. (2010). The empirical case for the first-year seminar: Promoting positive student outcomes and campus-wide benefits. In The first-year seminar: research-based recommendations for course design, delivery and assessmentDubuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt

University 101: A Concept for Improving University Teaching and Learning. 

Abstract: This paper describes University 101’s faculty training methods and highlights the structure, content, and outcomes. Gardner pays specific attention to University 101’s role as a model for other first-year seminars across the nation.

Themes: Faculty development, replication at other institutions

Citation: Gardner, J. N. (1980). University 101: A concept for improving university teaching and learning. Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service: ED192706)

Effects of Participation in Carolina Camp at the University of South Carolina for 1992 and 1993. 

Abstract: This study focused on the effects of student participation in Carolina Camp and found that participants in Carolina Camp enrolled in University 101 at a higher rate than students who did not participate in Carolina Camp. Fecas emphasized the significance of this finding by citing that students taking University 101 had higher freshman to sophomore retention rates than students who did not take University 101.

Themes: Retention

Citation: Fecas, V. (1996). Effects of participation in Carolina Camp at the University of South Carolina for 1992 and 1993 (Doctoral Dissertation). Retrieved from ProQuest. (9637114)

A Multi-Campus Study of the Perceived Effects of First-Year Seminars on the Experience of Students in their First Semester of College. 

Abstract: Foote explored the impact of first-year seminars on students during their first semester of college through one-on-one interviews with 18 students enrolled in first-year seminars at the University of South Carolina-Columbia, the University of South Carolina-Aiken, and Clemson University. This study closely linked student perceptions of the effect of the first-year seminar with course content, pedagogy, and interactions with peers and instructors. Foote found that the majority of students in her study enrolled in University 101 because of the courses reputation.

Themes: Student perceptions

Citation: Foote, S.M., (1999). A multi-campus study of the perceived effects of first-year seminars on the experience of students in their first semester of college (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from ProQuest. (3354805)

The Making of a Southern Research University: the University of South Carolina, 1940-1990. 

Abstract: Lesesne provides a discussion of the history of University 101, faculty development, and its role as a model for other first-year seminars across the country.

Themes: History, faculty development, replication at other institutions

Citation: Lesesne, H. H. (1998). The making of a southern research university: The University of South Carolina, 1940-1990 (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from ProQuest. (9918947

A Multiple Case Study of College First-Year Seminars.  

Abstract: This study investigated various aspects of three first-year seminars at research institutions in the southeast (University 101), the Rocky Mountains, and the southwest. Reid focused on the differences between the three first-year seminars and noted University 101’s structure, textbook, well-defined instructional requirements, and diversity of instructors as unique features of the program. In this dissertation, Reid provides information on the history of University 101, the impact on retention, faculty development, and various aspects of the course like structure, campus partner presentations, required readings and assignments, and the assessment of University 101.

Themes: Faculty development, history, retention, program overview

Citation: Reid, K. (2009). A multiple case study of college first-year seminars (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from Digital Scholarship @UNLV.

Examining the First Year Three-Contact Hour Seminar: Implications for Faculty Development. 

Abstract: The results of this dissertation showed that University 101 instructors who underwent faculty development were able to identify the goals of training, developed relationships within the university community, learned about first-year students, and learned various ways to assess student learning.

Themes: Faculty development

Citation: Rogers, M. (2004). Examining the first year three-contact hour seminar: Implications for faculty development (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from ProQuest. (3156470

Perceptions of African American Two-Year College Transfer Students About Their Transfer Experience to Predominantly White Four-Year Institutions. 

Abstract: Rinehart found that participants in his study felt that University 101 had a significant impact on their successful transition into the University of South Carolina.

Themes: Student perceptions

Citation: Rhinehart, R.M. (2004). Perceptions of African American two-year college transfer students about their transfer experience to predominantly White four-year institutions (Doctoral dissertation)Retrieved from ProQuest. (3130482

A Case Study: Assessing the Successes of a First-Year Experience Course

Abstract. The author critically examines a first-year experience course at a Midwestern community college to determine its effectiveness in meeting institutional goals and in supporting students’ degree aspirations. University 101 is used as a benchmark against which the course design is measured. The author concludes that the course might be more effective in addressing retention goals if it included components related to academic competency, communication skills and relationship building, personal health and well-being, and community involvement, which represent the “gold standard” according to the author.

Themes. University 101 as model, retention

Citation. Seel, C. L. (2015). A case study: Assessing the success of a first-year experience course [Unpublished doctoral dissertation]. Ferris State University. Retrieved from

The Freshman Year Experience, 1962-1990: An Experiment in Humanistic Higher Education. 

Abstract: An in-depth study into the history of University 101 and University 101’s role in transforming the University of South Carolina during a time of national unrest. Watts highlights interviews, newspapers, periodicals and the radio among other sources to emphasize the use of University 101 in transitioning from a research paradigm to a humanistic model and collegial paradigm.

Themes: History

Citation: Watts, E. (1999). The freshman year experience, 1962-1990: An experiment in humanistic higher education (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from ProQuest. (NQ42988)

Early History of the First-Year Seminar at KSU

Abstract. The author explores the emergence and evolution of the first-year seminar as part of a larger emphasis on the first college year at Kennesaw State University. The paper describes the founding and early evolution of University 101 at the University of South Carolina. The author also credits John Gardner’s training workshops, offered at Kennesaw between 1983 and 1985, with generating faculty enthusiasm for teaching the course.

Themes. University 101 as model, retention

Citation. Williams, L. A. (2018). Early history of the first-year seminar at KSU [Unpublished master’s thesis]. Kennesaw State University. Retrieved from

Student Involvement as a Mediator of the Relationship of Peer Leaders in First-Year Seminars to Academic Achievement and Persistence.  

Abstract: This short-term longitudinal study focused on the impact that peer leaders in a first-year seminar have on students' academic achievement and persistence.

Themes: Peer leadership

Citation: Zhang, L. (2017). Student involvement as a mediator of the relationship of peer leaders in first-year seminars to academic achievement and persistence (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from ProQuest. (10259470)


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