2010-2011 Annual Report Word Version

I. PAST YEAR ACTIVITY (2010-2011)

 

A. Progress in Meeting Annual Goals.  In the 2009-10 annual report, we set 6 broad goals for 2010-11 and we've had success in 4 of these areas:

GOALS

PROGRESS

(1) to increase the overall effectiveness (quality and consistency) of the FYE program

Most Fall 2010 variables showed marked consistency when compared to Fall 2009, with three exceptions: Fall 2010 first-year students spent more time studying, were significantly more likely to access their degree evaluation, and indicated increase course content on community engagement.

(2) to evaluate the worth of the additional 1-credit FYE 101 (balancing extra load vs. extra benefits to students)

Because of other more pressing initiatives, this assessment has not yet been completed for Fall 2010.

(3) determine the effectiveness of 2 pilots initiatives: Living & Learning Communities (LLCs), peer leaders, and whether to continue/expand these programs for 2011-12

Both were successful and will be continued for 2011-12.  When compared to all first-year students, those in peer leader sections were much more familiar with degree evaluations and developed stronger relationships with faculty members and peers; and those in LLCs were less likely to commit an act of academic dishonesty, more likely to study effectively, spent more time preparing for class and significantly more time participating in co-curricular activities.

(4) increase on-campus partnerships with FYE (e.g.,  expand contact with Honors Program)

 

This was clearly met: FYE faculty participated in Opening Weekend; Scott Hazan and Chris Pudlinski co-taught the new Peer Leadership Seminar class; 7 FYE sections for Fall 2011 will integrate CACE advisors working with Undeclared majors; 4 FYE sections for Fall 2011 will have CACE advisors as mentors; we've created an FYE101 class for Africana ConnCAS students.

(5) increase student campus and community engagement

Mixed results: Fall 2010 first-year students (vs. Fall 2009) were more likely to do volunteer work in the community, yet less engaged on campus (Devil's Den, athletic events, club participation, Learning Center support, visiting a professor, etc.) 

(6) decrease the amount of first-time, first-year students on academic probation in their second semester

Not met: 21% of Fall 2010 first-time students withdrew or were on academic probation after their first semester (vs. 20% in Fall 2009 and 19% in Fall 2008).

 

B. Progress with Strategic Planning. We were successful in setting up FYE classes so as to restrict student ability to drop their Fall 2010 FYE and achieved 98% participation in FYE in their first semester [only 24, out of 1350, first-time first-year students did not get an FYE; 15 of these were registered into an FYE in Spring 2011.]                                   

 

While near 100% enrollment had been seemingly achieved for the 2010-2011 cohort (including those entering in Spring 2011), we currently do not have enough space to enroll all our Fall 2011 first-year students in an FYE for Fall 2011.  It is important not to replace our original strategic planning initiative of 100% enrollment in FYE classes in their first semester with the newer strategic planning objective to focus on increasing the effectiveness of the program (thru the monitoring of learning outcomes and other assessment).  Both should be our strategic planning objectives, as turnover in sections and faculty increases (see chart).

 

 

Total Sections

No Change from Prior Year (% of similar sections from prior Fall)

New Course & New Instructor

New Instructor in Existing FYE course

Existing FYE instructor teaching a different FYE course

Fall 2008

56

 

 

 

 

Fall 2009

65

38 (of 56) (68%)

16

7

4

Fall 2010

66

45 (of 65) (71%)

9

8

4

Fall 2011

64

41 (of 66) (62%)

7

15

1

 

A whole host of factors have led to increasing turnover of sections and especially faculty: limited funds for part-time faculty, a very limited number of new tenure-track faculty, and increasing use of emergency hires for teaching FYE.  For example, we offered 3 sections of CS 113 last year (2 in the Fall, 1 in the Spring) but that newly trained faculty member was in her second year of an emergency position and is not returning.  All in all, we had continuity in only 62% of our FYE sections (from Fall 2010 to Fall 2011).   We lost 10 courses/sections completely (including CS 113) and despite seeking out new or returning sections from ten different departments, we were only able to add 5 new courses (2 CRM 110; CECW 099 (for Africana ConnCAS); 2 FYS courses), 1 returning course from Fall 2009 (COMM 240), and 1 mid-June addition of another section of PE144.  Tight resources in terms of budgets and faculty members have made recruitment of new sections much more challenging.

 

C. Administrative Changes.  Jim Conway (Psychology) was re-elected and Michele Dischino (Engineering & Technology Education) was elected to serve two years terms on the FYE steering committee, beginning Fall 2011.  Scott Hazan (Director, SA/LD) served as the Student Affairs representative to the committee In Spring 2011 and will continue in this role in 2011-12.  Chris Pudlinski was elected to serve as Faculty Director for another 3-year term (2011-2014).

 

D. Special Initiatives. The living and learning communities are being completely replicated for Fall 2011 (for students majoring in Engineering, Elementary Education, or Athletic Training/ Exercise Science).  We have expanded from 15 to 19 peer leaders for Fall 2011.  If assessments [see appendix] continue to indicate the increased value these programs bring to our university and first-year students, we plan on expanding both initiatives for Fall 2012.

 

E. Significant Accomplishments. These have been noted above (under Progress In Meeting Annual Goals).  We trained 13 new FYE faculty on May 20, 2011 and trained 14 new peers (5 are returning) on May 12, 2011.

 

F. Progress with Assessment. Having implemented a learning outcomes assessment in FYE classes, as of Spring 2009, and a community/campus engagement assessment, as of Fall 2009, we are using this tool to 1) evaluate the program's learning outcomes (over time); 2) evaluate the efficacy of new initiatives (peer leaders, LLCs); 3) improve our campus and community engagement efforts; and 4) identify additional areas where resources need to be provided.  We now have a plethora of data and it will take some time to sort through it.

 

For example, Meg Leake and Chris Pudlinski attended an OnCourse Workshop in June 2010 in an effort to gain information useful for improving two of our less successful learning objectives: take personal responsibility for their academic performance; possess skills for independent learning, self motivation and academic persistence.  This information was integrated into the Peer Leadership Seminar course and also the subject of our annual January retreat (attended by 30 faculty).  

 

Data from 959 students in Fall 2010 FYE sections indicate that FYE is doing an excellent job meeting most of our learning objectives.  However, we are still below 70% in meeting the following objectives:

(1) Students will seek out help when they have difficulty with academic work;

(2) Students have a strong sense of belonging to the CCSU community;

(3) Students study effectively; and

(4) Students will be able to utilize the degree evaluation [CAPP] to monitor progress toward graduation.

 

The Fall 2010 assessment also collected data on campus and community engagement.  Fall 2010 first-year students spent more time studying than the Fall 2009 cohort, and were slightly more engaged off-campus (more likely to do volunteer work in the community).  However, Fall 2010 first-year students were less engaged on campus (Devil's Den, athletic events, entertainment events, club participation, Learning Center support, visiting a professor, etc.) than the Fall 2009 cohort.  Full results are at http://web.ccsu.edu/fye/assessmentandresearch.htm.

 

Additional data from the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment (in Fall 2009) indicated that students with the 1-credit FYE (vs. those with an embedded FYE class) were less likely to be on academic probation after their first semester (17.6% vs. 22.2%) and they were also more likely to participate in the CCSU community.  Data for Fall 2010 is not yet available.   

II. PLANNING FOR 2011-12

   A. Goals.  We wish to continue with our 6 goals for 2010-11 and add one more (#7) for 2011-12.  We wish to:

(1) increase the overall effectiveness (quality and consistency) of the FYE program

(2) evaluate the worth of the additional 1-credit FYE 101 (balancing extra load vs. extra benefits to students)

(3) determine the effectiveness of 2 pilots initiatives: Living & learning Communities, peer leaders, and whether to continue/expand these programs for 2011-12

(4) increase on-campus partnerships with FYE

(5) increase student campus and community engagement

(6) decrease the amount of first-time, first-year students on academic probation in their second semester

(7) recruit and train additional FYE faculty, so as to offer sufficient sections for all incoming students in their first semester

 

B.      Collaboration.  By its very nature, the First Year Experience program at CCSU is collaborative, building upon existing courses in the four Schools, and working with Student Affairs, for various existing initiatives as Living & Learning Communities, FYE301 (Peer Leadership Seminar), the Summer Advising Days, and Opening Weekend, and new initiatives (e.g., pairing a CACE advisor with an FYE section designated for Undeclared majors; using CACE advisors as mentors for students in 4 majors-only FYE sections, building upon the success mentoring model used by the Center for Student Athletes).  We will continue to facilitate classroom visits from the Learning Center, Counseling & Wellness, CIE, SGA, the Women's Center, etc.  We will be working with Ramon Hernandez and Student Affairs to resurrect the Alpha Lambda Delta Honors Society for first-year students.  Finally, we will be working with the Registrar to get FYE officially integrated into CAPP (degree evaluation), for first-year students entering Fall 2009 or later.

 

C.      Needs. There are two interrelated and pressing needs for the FYE program to meet its own goals and strategic planning goals:  (1) FYE can no longer fund its needs through one-time funds; (2) long-term stability in the program requires additional resources and campus support.   

                                          

      Expansion of the peer leader and LLC programs, faculty development opportunities, activity funds (for campus and community engagement) and financial support (e.g., funds for adjuncts to replace full-time resources tied into FYE101 and FYS sections) for departments supportive of FYE will be necessary to enroll all students in FYE classes in their first semester and to increase the overall effectiveness of the program.   

 

      Having a faculty director with release time is also not sufficient in and of itself.  With changes of instructors in almost 40% of our total FYE sections, we need sufficient money to train additional faculty and to increase our recruitment efforts (especially for General Education courses).  This will require buy-in by departments not currently involved with FYE and additional resources (such that the teaching of an FYS or FYE101 section is not seen as a load borne by one's own home department).                                            

 

      Scheduling FYE classes is a very complex process, involving multiple communications with 35 different academic departments and 55+ faculty members across 4 different Schools.  It is only after schedules are proposed by departments, approved by various Deans and entered into Banner by the Registrar's office that we become aware of all FYE offerings for a given upcoming semester. 

 

D.     Assessment. Actions we are taking in response to both our own data (on learning outcomes) and institutional data (on retention, first-semester GPA, etc.) include:

 

(1)  Peer leaders and living and learning communities are attempts to further improve community and campus engagement and student success/retention, among our full-time first-time first-year students.  We will require peer leaders to involve FYE students in campus and off campus activities.

 

(2)  Now that we've tweaked our learning outcome survey to include student IDs, we will compare key metrics across various groups (those who made Dean's List vs. those on academic probation after their first semester; commuter vs. residential students), with a goal of finding some keys to academic success (and failure).  We will be working with the new Director of Institutional Research and Assessment on these metrics.

 

(3) We will implement recommendations based upon an experience sampling study of first-year students (Conway & Diplacido) though additional timely messages to all FYE faculty about the importance of attendance, significance of alcohol use, and how to help students effectively deal with stress (especially during the months of November and December).

 

(4) We will develop assessments for our newest initiatives: career mentoring for Undeclared (Arts & Sciences) students; and Advisor mentoring in select majors-only classes.  

 

Building on feedback from our own assessments, additional research and the NSSE, we will continue to work towards improving the quality and consistency of the FYE program overall.  

 

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