This page provides information for faculty and staff who are involved with Freshman Connections. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us. Have a great year and thank you for your commitment to our first-year students!
The Case for Faculty Involvement with First-Year Programs
Making Connections: What Faculty Members Can Do in Their Classrooms and Interactions with Students to Promote Retention
Making Achievement Possible (MAP)
Joe Cuseo Marymount College
The late Ernest Boyer (1987), writing as then president of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, contended that the following "key question" must be asked when assessing the effectiveness of an institution's freshman-orientation program, "Is the orientation program actively supported by the faculty?" (p. 288).
After comprehensively reviewing 25 years of retention research, Pantages and Creedon (1978) concluded that one potentially potent approach to reducing student attrition was for colleges to find new ways to maximize faculty-student interaction during the freshman year, including greater faculty involvement in the orientation program.
The importance of student-faculty contact and front-loading of outstanding teachers and advisors are two oft-cited recommendations in the retention literature (National Institute of Education, 1984; Noel, Levitz, et al., 1985). Empirical evidence supporting this contention is provided by Moore, Peterson, and Wirag (1984), who found that faculty involvement in orientation programs had positive effects on students' academic development. Tammi (1987) also found that participants in a freshman seminar reported significantly more informal contacts with faculty than nonparticipants.
Faculty involvement in the freshman seminar would seem to be an effective and efficient way to simultaneously implement the dual advantages of student-faculty contact and front-loading. Involvement of faculty in freshman orientation should also serve to increase their sensitivity to the significant personal adjustments which adolescents (and returning adult students) must make upon entering college, and enhance faculty's advising skills.
Furthermore, faculty involvement in orientation would improve the program's credibility and elevate the significance of student support and student retention to the level of a collegewide concern—rather than limiting it to an "extracurricular" job performed exclusively by student-affairs professionals (Cuseo, 1991).
Boyer, E. (1987). The undergraduate experience in America. New York: Harper & Row. Cuseo, J. B. (1991). The freshman orientation seminar: A research-based rationale for its value, delivery, and content. (Monograph No. 4) Columbia, SC: National Resource Center for The Freshman Year Experience. Moore, B. L., Peterson, D. C., & Wirag, J. R. (1984). Orienting traditional entering students. In M. L. Upcraft (Ed.), Orienting students to college (pp. 39-51). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. National Institute of Education (1984). Involvement in learning. Washington, DC: Author. Noel, L., Levitz, R., & Associates (1985). Increasing student retention. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Pantages, T. J., & Creedan, C. F. (1978). Studies of college attrition: 1950-1975. Review of Educational Research, 48, 49-101. Tammi, M. W. (1987). The longitudinal evaluation of a freshman seminar course on academic and social integration. Unpublished dissertation, University of North Carolina, Charlotte.
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Making Connections in the Classroom
Teaching Strategies to Help Students Be More Successful
Making Connections outside the Classroom
(List adapted from one posted on the FYE Discussion Board [National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition] by Barbara Gaddis, director, Office of Student Retention, University of Colorado-Colorado Springs. If you have been successful with other strategies, please e-mail them to firstname.lastname@example.org.)
The Making Achievement Possible Survey is given to all first-time freshman students in the beginning of their first semester. It is designed to reveal student strengths and talents, as well as to identify areas for further development. For archived MAP results, see the Office of Academic Assessment & Institutional Research, MAP Survey
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