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First-Year Student Success: In Search of Best Practice Randy L. Swing, Ph.D. Co-Director, Policy Center on the First Year of College Fellow, National Resource.

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Presentation on theme: "First-Year Student Success: In Search of Best Practice Randy L. Swing, Ph.D. Co-Director, Policy Center on the First Year of College Fellow, National Resource."— Presentation transcript:

1 First-Year Student Success: In Search of Best Practice Randy L. Swing, Ph.D. Co-Director, Policy Center on the First Year of College Fellow, National Resource Center on The First-Year Experience & Students in Transition 7 th Pacific Rim, First Year in Higher Education Conference QUT Gardens Point Campus July 10, 2003

2 Overview: In Search of Best Practice Surveys of Current Practices Institutions of Excellence Hallmarks of Excellence

3 Research on Current Practices Data Sources: 2000 Current Practices Survey random sample of 621 institution 55% of Chief Academic Officers responded 51% of Chief Student Affairs Officers responded 2002 Current Practices Survey 1,139 Chief Academic Officers (4-year institutions) 57% responded Full study reports are available at Orientation Academic Advising First-Year Seminars Early Warning Systems

4 Length of New Student Orientation Source: 2001 Current Practices Survey (4-year institutions only) CURRENT PRACTICES - Orientation

5 Is New Student Orientation Required? Percent of Institutions Source: 2001 Current Practices Survey (4 year institutions only) CURRENT PRACTICES - Orientation

6 Most Orientation Programs Report to the Chief Student Affairs Officer 2001 Current Practices Survey (4-year institutions only) CURRENT PRACTICES - Orientation

7 Required Advising Source: 2001 Current Practices Survey (4-year institutions) CURRENT PRACTICES - Advising

8 Who Advises First-Year Students? Source: 2001 Current Practices Survey (4-year institutions) CURRENT PRACTICES - Advising

9 Structure of Academic Advising Source: 2001 Current Practices Survey (4-year institutions) CURRENT PRACTICES - Advising

10 Proportion of Responding Campuses with at Least Some Undeclared 1 st -Year Students * n = 993 Source: Current Practices Survey Policy Center on the First Year of College CURRENT PRACTICES - Advising

11 Who Advises Undeclared Students? * n = 915 (2-yr & 4-yr institutions combined) Source: Current Practices Survey Policy Center on the First Year of College CURRENT PRACTICES - Advising

12 How campuses use undergraduates (peers) in first-year services * n = 994 (FYS) 962 (tutoring) 923 (advising) Source: Current Practices Survey Policy Center on the First Year of College CURRENT PRACTICES – Advising/FYS

13 Proportion of Responding Campuses that Enroll Some Students in a First-Year Seminar YES 94% * n = 980 Source: Current Practices Survey Policy Center on the First Year of College CURRENT PRACTICES - FYS

14 Required/ Not Required Source: National Resource Center on The First-Year Experience, 2000 Survey CURRENT PRACTICES - FYS

15 First-Year Seminars Source: National Resource Center on The First-Year Experience, 2000 Survey Contact hours per week Letter graded CURRENT PRACTICES - FYS

16 Linked Courses Few or no sections linked Some LinkedMost Linked CURRENT PRACTICES - FYS

17 Level of Engaging Pedagogy Used Course/Experience Included: A variety of teaching methods Meaningful class discussions Challenging assignments Productive use of classroom time Encouragement to speak in class Encouragement for students to work together Meaningful homework Key Predictor of FYS Learning Outcomes CURRENT PRACTICES - FYS

18 Mid-term Grades Are Reported To... (4-year institutions*) * n = 634 Source: Current Practices Survey Policy Center on the First Year of College 65% 61% 63% 11% CURRENT PRACTICES – Early Warning

19 Special Attendance Policy for First-Year Students 7% have a special policy on class attendance for 1 st - year students Source: 2001 Current Practices Survey (4-year institutions) CURRENT PRACTICES – Early Warning

20 In the past five years has your institution studied the relationship of student class attendance to persistence, academic performance, or other outcomes? * n = 956 Source: Current Practices Survey Policy Center on the First Year of College CURRENT PRACTICES – Early Warning

21 Institutions of Excellence in the First College Year Campuses submitted portfolios describing their first year initiatives National panel selected the top 13 campuses based on 5 criteria

22 Criteria for Selection #1 Evidence of an intentional, comprehensive approach to improving the first year that is appropriate to an institutions type and mission #2 Evidence of assessment of the various initiatives that constitute this approach #3 Evidence of broad impact on significant numbers of first- year students, including, but not limited to, special student sub-populations #4 Strong administrative support for first-year initiatives, evidence of institutionalization, and durability over time #5 Involvement of a wide range of faculty, student affairs professionals, academic administrators, and other constituent groups.

23 Campus Visits Teams visited each campus to learn how they became excellent at serving first-year students Lessons Learned: 1.Most excellent programs took 10 years or more to build. 2.None started out with a holistic plan – they were built incrementally 3.Most had direct involvement of both faculty and the chief academic officer (CAO). Long serving CAOs were found at most institutions of excellence

24 Aspirational Model of the First College Year designed by campuses definitions of excellence measures of achievement of each hallmark externally validated

25 1. Approaches the first year in ways that are intentional, explicit, and based on clear philosophy/rationale for students first year. 2. Seeks to engage students in the collegiate experience both in and out of class. 3. Ensures that all first-year students encounter diverse ideas, viewpoints, and people. Version 1.0

26 4. Serves all first-year students, including various segments of the first-year student population, according to their needs. 5. Has organizational structures and policies that provide a comprehensive, coordinated approach to the first year. 6. Uses a variety of quantitative and qualitative designs and methods to examine all aspects of students first-year experience and to evaluate and understand the impact of institutional policies, strategies, and interventions

27 Contact Information Randy L. Swing Policy Center on the First Year of College


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