Traditionally, institutional supports for college student success have been concentrated in the first and senior years, though attention to the sophomore year has increased over the last two decades. Paying attention to the second college year is vitally important, as some evidence suggests students are more likely to leave their institution during this time than they are in the first year. The case studies of sophomore initiatives featured in this volume describe programs that build on institutional objectives for the first college year and prepare students for the transition to the major and, ultimately, graduation. Rich program descriptions and discussions of assessment provide practitioners focused on designing a cohesive undergraduate experience excellent models to guide their work.
Published in partnership with NODA, the Association for Orientation, Transition, and Retention in Higher Education
First-year seminars have been widely hailed as a high-impact educational practice, leading to improved academic performance, increased retention, and achievement of critical 21st Century learning outcomes. While the first-year seminar tends to be narrowly defined in the literature, national explorations of course structure and administration underscore the diversity of these curricular initiatives across and within individual campuses. What then are the common denominators among these highly variable courses that contribute to their educational effectiveness?
This collection of case studies--representing a wide variety of institutional and seminar types--addresses this question. Using Kuh and O’Donnell’s eight conditions of effective educational initiatives as a framework, authors describe the structure, pedagogy, and assessment strategies that lead to high-quality seminars. Introductory and concluding essays examine the structural conditions that are likely to support educational effectiveness in the seminar and describe the most commonly reported conditions across all cases. What Makes the First-Year Seminar High Impact? offers abundant models for ensuring the delivery of a high-quality educational experience to entering students.
Surveys of employers continually highlight the need for better communication skills among recent college graduates. Yet writing instruction in higher education serves far more than a transactional purpose. Writing facilitates learning, helps students gain skills in analysis and synthesis, and supports a range of other personal and intellectual developmental outcomes also important to employers. To that end, Writing in the Senior Capstone offers the rationale and practical guidance for infusing writing into culminating academic experiences for college seniors. Recognizing that writing-intensive capstones already exist on many campuses, the authors also offer a range of strategies and activities to support the development of independent senior projects, while honing students’ thinking, writing, and presentation skills. A valuable resource for any educator seeking to improve the writing and critical thinking skills of college seniors.
Student Development in the First College Year provides a detailed overview of some of the most commonly referenced theories of learning and development in the college years. What sets this primer apart from other treatments of student development theory is its careful attention to the first college year and the wide range of educational environments in which learning and development take place. The primer includes a discussion of moving from theory to educational practice and strategies for assessing developmental outcomes.
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