December 2011 Minutes  

 

12 noon – 1:20 p.m. in RVAC106

Committee members in attendance: C. Pudlinski, S. Hazan, J. Conway, M. Dischino, S. Mastrobattisto , M. Leake (arrived late)

1.       November minutes were approved

2.       Update: Spring 2012 Enrollment and Faculty “training”

C. Pudlinski shared with the committee that there are seven FYE sections open for Spring 2012 and 37 students are in the sections already.  However, there were about 70 students who did not have an FYE section this past fall.  C. Pudlinski is going to ask the registrar for a list of students who did not take an FYE course this past fall and do not have a section this coming spring.  We are only anticipating about 40 new students this coming spring.  There are a total of 140 spots available for next semester.  It is looking like the sections are only going to be about half full.  If that is the case, the sections can be opened to transfer students, especially students with only fifteen credits. 

C. Pudlinski is trying to push the School of Education FYS 103 section because at this time there are no students registered for that section; we may need to open this class to Education transfers.

Any of these Spring FYE courses could be opened to all students, but then it would become less of an FYE experience for the 40 students who are registered and the 40 new students want and/or need the class.

Two new FYE faculty were trained by C. Pudlinski, by going over learning outcomes.  The training was informal and shorter than usual.              

3.       Discussion: Recruiting additional faculty and departments for Fall 2012

C. Pudlinksi mentioned there have been three additional faculty members added already for Fall 2012.  There is going to be a seven credit Learning Community that will be capped at eighteen students.  In addition, there will be a Biology 101 course with a lab and an FYE 101 for a total of four credits.  The goal is 70 sections and 1,500 spaces for 1,400 first-year students.  C. Pudlinski asked the committee to talk to interested faculty. 

4.       Review of current status of peer leader program (Handout)

a.       Should we expand for Fall 2012?

The committee does want to continue the peer leader program; however, they do believe things can be “tweaked.”  The committee wants to reach out to First-Year Honors Society students.  J. Conway posed the question “Do we want to increase the size of the program?”  The goal of the committee is to have one peer for every FYE section in 5 years (since the pilot began in Fall 2010).  C. Pudlinski asked “Could we double the number of peer leaders for next year?”  S. Hazan mentioned that the Honors Society would be a great way to recruit peer leaders.  He also suggested asking faculty to recommend honors students who they think would make good peer leaders.  S. Hazan believes that it will be possible to get 40 peer leaders for next year.  S. Hazen also suggested requiring peer leaders to also serve as orientation leaders.  C. Pudlinski asked the question “Would there be a problem with a mixed model, with peer leaders being paid and orientation leaders not being paid?”  J. Conway asked “Do we have enough money in the budget to pay 40 peer leaders; will we get enough faculty to volunteer?”  C. Pudlinski said “We should have about $6,000-$7,000 so we should have enough.”

The program has been adapted from ECSU.  C. Pudlinski suggested trying to do a two year rotation to make the peer leader seminar less repetitive.  S. Hazan mentioned that the program is about the experience; duplication is okay.  C. Pudlinski shared that the class is discussion based.  40 students would mean that two sections of FYE 301 would be needed.  One section would run on Monday and one section would run on Friday.  There will need to be 36 to 40 students to justify two sections.  C. Pudlinksi wants to push to have more than thirty peers.  C. Pudlinski thinks we will be able to get 40 students, but wonders if there will be 40 faculty members who will want peer leaders in their FYE classes.  J. Conway said the first thing to figure out is how many faculty members we have.  C. Pudlinksi shared that we should be able to get close to 30 peer leaders. 

The committee had a discussion about if a faculty member who has two FYE sections should have one peer leader for both sections or two peer leaders who attend one section each.  M. Dischino mentioned that faculty would have less of a burden if they had one peer for both sections.  S. Hazan said that would be unfair to the peers and they should not have the burden of attending two FYE sections.  C. Pudlinski also mentioned that more students should be able to have the experience of being a peer leader.  We agreed that peers should only work with one FYE section, not two!         

C. Pudlinski is going to remind M. Leake about the certificates for the peers.     

b.      What changes need to be made?

C. Pudlinski handed out the “Peer Leader Survey Results—Fall 2011” to the committee.  The peers seem to be happy with item five, which reads: “My in-class lecture was informative and well-planned” and item eight, which reads: “I felt that I was approachable to first-year students.”  Disappointment was reflected in other areas.  There is a decrease in out of class involvement.  The peers did not respond as well to item two, which reads: “I played an active role in the FYE class.”  The peers struggle with being able to feel like they contribute something valuable to the class.  Most faculty and peers were happy with who they were matched up with.  M. Dischino mentioned that item ten, which reads: “I improved as a student and scholar, as a result of my peer leader experiences” was positive.  C. Pudlinski pointed out that being a peer leader is beneficial to the student.

C. Pudlinski posed the question “How to get peer leaders to work better in embedded FYE courses?”  He mentioned that we could be more flexible.  We need to have peers in embedded courses.  M. Dischino agreed.  She shared that her peer leader was not just helpful with the FYE related topic, but since the peer leader had taken the course before, they were able to help and give input on all course topics.  It is a huge bonus when the peer has taken the exact class before.  S. Hazan asked how to use peer leaders who cannot stay for all of the embedded course time.  M. Dischino shared the key is communication.  C. Pudlinksi thinks that a peer leader in an embedded course should be the same major as the course and that as a committee, we need to be more selective with who we chose as peer leaders in order to make this happen.  S. Hazan suggested having separate training for peer leaders who are going to be in an embedded course. 

C. Pudlinksi mentioned that peer leaders work best when recruited by faculty members.   

C. Pudlinski asked the committee “How do we invite faculty?”  J. Conway said that we need to try to get more FYE 101 sections and that we should email all faculty in order to see who is interested in teaching a section.

C. Pudlinski suggested having a peer leader on the FYE Steering Committee.  He mentioned that Liz Braun was interested.  He also mentioned this change would require the bylaws to be changed.  He will revise the bylaws for the January 2012 meeting in order to get a peer leader on the committee as soon as possible.  Liz Braun will be invited to the January 2012 meeting.                      

5.       Request to list FYE course information online in “Search of Open Courses”

C. Pudlinski shared with the committee that FYE courses do not show up in Pipeline.  He suggested making courses visible, but without the CRN number in order to keep non-first year students out of the sections.  S. Hazan suggested adding the courses to pipeline after add/drop is over as a late addition.  J. Conway and M. Dischino mentioned that FYE courses not being on pipeline cause many minor problems. C. Pudlinski will talk to the registrar's office about the issue.      

6.       Proposed next meeting: Wednesday January 25th (10:45 a.m. – 12 noon)

The committee approved moving the meeting from the first Wednesday of the month to the last Wednesday of the month and moving the meeting time from noon to 10:45 a.m.  C. Pudlinski will run the change of time by M. Leake, M. Levvis, and P. Mihalek.    

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