September 2012 Minutes  


Committee Members in attendance: Christopher Pudlinski, Meg Leake, James Conway, Henry Greene, Michele Dischino, Meg Levvis, Scott Hazan, Joseph Paige, Liz Braun, Elizabeth DeGrandpre

1.       Approve minutes of April 2012 meeting

C. Pudlinski requested we table the April 2012 meeting minutes until next time.


2.       Update:

a.       Fall FYE enrollment

C. Pudlinski reported: 

- 1,336 Full time/First year students enrolled this fall.

- 238 students do not have FYE, 200 due to other program enrollment (to be discussed later), and 38 students are not currently in FYE who should be. Those 38 students will be caught up during the spring semester.

-1, 170 students are enrolled in an FYE course. (48 are transfer students due to available seats. 28 students have multiple sections. C. Pudlinski explained that 28 students have multiple sections, for example many have an honors and an FYE course.)  

 C. Pudlinski reported that only one class section (Reading 140) was cancelled due to low enrollment. MIS dropped down to two classes instead of three, due to funding issues.

b.      Peer leaders (training & sections)

C. Pudlinski reported:  there are 35 FYE Peer Leaders (PL) this semester, which is up from 19 last year. Nine PL's are returning. Four of the new PLs are taking the COMM 301 (Peer Leadership Seminar) course without credit. They will receive a certificate of completion.  Attendance at the two sessions of training= 25 new peer leaders attended in May (one was excused due to athletic commitments) and only 23 peer leaders attended in August (three new peer leaders did not show up to that training). C. Pudlinski raised the concern that the students are paid in advance (May) for peer leader training. C. Pudlinski questioned  if there is a way to decrease pay to compensate for missed training hours, or split the payments between the two sessions.

c.       Opening Weekend

S. Hazan reported that opening week went well.   J. Conway mentioned that only half of his FYE students made it to his session.  S. Hazen reported that 1,200 students were registered to attend orientation. It is estimated that roughly 1,000 students showed up. C.Pudlinski reported that there were only four empty spots for FYE sessions. Participation by faculty and peer leaders was excellent.  C. Pudlinski proposed an idea to flip the schedule and have professors meet with the students before lunch due to student not able to find their professors. Only one section out of 61 could not find their professor (that was a problem). S. Hazan reported that there was good participation on day three compared to years in the past. Multiple committee members agreed that the football game was packed. S. Hazan followed up by stating that students were here during this past weekend. There is more enthusiasm by the students; the year is off to a good start. It is suggested that having orientation helped build enthusiasm. This year there was also better communication to the students and orientation Facebook sites were created in advance. 

d.      Faculty Development Session

C. Pudlinski reported there were 20 people in attendance at the Monday afternoon faculty development session. Early assessment strategies were discussed. M. Leake led a productive session on metacognition.

e.      New FYE faculty training

C. Pudlinski trained two new faculty members for the fall, one is a Criminology professor and the other is a Statistics professor. Each individual lesson was an hour and a half. It is projected that more new faculty will need a more formal training next year.

f. Alpha Lambda Delta Honors Society

C. Pudlinski notified the committee that the induction will occur on Tuesday, September 18 from 6:00pm-7:00pm in the Constitution room. Students eligible for Alpha Lambda Delta must have a 3.5 GPA or higher. There are 127 students invited to the induction, at this time 64 accepted the honor with the deadline being September 10 at midnight. Last year there were 68 acceptances. At the induction ceremony, President Miller will be the guest speaker. Food will be provided; all members from the FYE steering committee are invited. There are 150 people projected to attend the event. From 5-6pm prior to the event, the inductees will meet, focusing on getting involved with community service projects.

3.       Budget update

a.       Money for campus/community engagement


C. Pudlinski reported that FYE has $2,000 available for activity funds.  At this time there are a two events planned, and other ideas mentioned. On September 28th, a pizza party before King Kong has been organized for under $100. A service project with Jefferson Elementary is currently being coordinated. Money for supplies or transportation for the events will be requested. C. Pudlinski reported that the money can also be spent on cultural events on campus.

M. Leake reviewed the breakdown of the budget. The FYE base budget remains at $0, with all funding coming from the one-time fund requests. The Peer Leader program has a budget of $3,750. There is $3,250 for professional development that is still available. M. Leake suggested that the group consider ways of overcoming the notion that FYE costs too much.


C.Pudlinski asked that ideas to spend the professional development dollars be discussed on the next agenda.

C. Pudlinski talked about potential professional development. Ideas included; webinars, January retreat, a stipend to new FYE members (which has been done in the past). He asked for suggestions to encourage peer leaders towards more campus and community engagement.

Discussion centered on charging an FYE fee or if students should be charged for Orientation. S. Hazen reported that Southern charges $250 for a summer program and welcome weekend.

M. Leake reported that when looking at the last five years, FYE has come a long way, are we not telling our story well?

4.       Spring 2013 FYE schedule


The 100 students with no FYE and the 100 students assigned a Blue Devils Advocate this fall will not have FYE in the spring. 38 Students who do not have FYE in the Fall will be in FYE in the Spring. There are currently three sections in the Spring for the 60-100 new first year students. The three courses are Anthropology, Public Speaking and Math 101. C. Pudlinski asked which course would be better to offer in the spring; BMS or ENG 110? The committee decided that opening two ENG 110 class, because if there are open seats, it is easy to fill. C. Pudlinski will seek to open two ENG 110 FYE classes.


5.       Excellence in Teaching First-year Seminar Award (need nominations)


C. Pudlinski announced that The National Resource Center is looking for exceptional FYE teacher nominees by October 5th. The Provost is required to submit the nomination. The committee selected two potential nominees; Joan Nicole-Senft and Kris Larsen.  After a vote, Kris Larsen was selected.


6.       Discussion of new first year initiative (Fall 2012 and beyond)

M. Leake reported out about the new first year initiative funded by the Alumni Association. The purpose of the initiative is to ensure FYE is doing what it is supposed to do. A study is being conducted in which 200 randomly selected first-year students are not in an FYE course. This study is focused on retention. Concerns regarding the importance of measuring academic success as well were voiced.

M. Leake reported that FYE is assumed to be expensive to run. This contradicts the fact that one credit for FYE is no additional cost and that credit would be picked up elsewhere towards graduation. The peer leader program is one of the most inexpensive programs.

S. Hazan reported that our CCSU's orientation program is the cheapest in the state system, which 100 orientation leaders who volunteer their time.

M. Leake questioned if the FYE committees message is not resonating and may be why FYE is not getting stable funding.

C.Pudlinski reported that living-learning communities were successful the first year, but not last year. Moving into its third year, brochures were created and given out to students, also, nice dorms were reserved for those students. That did not work. There were 72 spots; but only 10 for Athletic Training/Exercise Science, 14 for Engineering, and 17 for Elementary Education were filled (totaling 41 students).  The overall idea of the living & learning community is to live together, attend the same FYE class(es) and have common activities.  C. Pudlinski reported that there are five engineering sections, there are 101 new engineering students, and only 14 opted into the living & learning communities while 50-60 of these 101 students live on campus.

There was mention that CACE could get more involved in the process. A suggestion to have students complete a survey was brought up.

An idea to look into new residence halls and visit living & learning communities was suggested. M. Leake suggested we look more closely at programs that are excelling in living & learning communities. She answered by stating UVM and Evergreen State University.

Continued conversation about getting hall directors to be more connected to the program was mentioned. It was also brought up that some students were interested in the living & learning communities but did not know who to talk to and where to get more information.

C.Pudlinski declared that this discussion should be continued at a later date.

7.       The Future of FYE: 

a.       Goals for 2012-13

C.Pudlinski read through the reported goals below. No objections were made to them.

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

(2) determine how (and if) the FYE program benefits first-year students and the university (including evaluating the worth of the additional 1-credit FYE 101 courses)

(3) increase student campus and community engagement

(4) evaluate the effectiveness of 2 continuing program initiatives: Living & Learning Communities, and peer leaders

(5) increase the average first semester GPA for first-time, first-year students

(6) increase opportunities for faculty development

(7) work with the ad hoc committee implementing the new General Education program to ensure an effective transition to a “non-FYE” Critical Inquiry Seminar model



b.      New General  Education program


C. Pudlinski reported that the new general education program has not been signed off on.  The new Critical Inquiry Seminar (which re-thinks FYE) is somewhat modeled after Eastern and Southern programs.


8.       Need a representative for the Committee on Academic Advising


C. Pudlinski reported that he is unable to make it to the Committee on Academic Advising. The meetings are the second and fourth Tuesday of each month from 12:15 until 1:30pm. At this time, C. Pudlinski will remain the representative.


9.       Other business?

The next committee meeting will be held on Monday, October 15th from 11:30-1pm in RVAC106.


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