University Senate Committee on General Education

FIRST YEAR EXPERIENCE PROGRAM COURSE ELEMENTS

CATEGORY 2: UNIVERSITY SUCCESS FACTORS
(Minimum of two [2] to be incorporated)

NOTE: The committee anticipates working closely with Student Affairs to revise and refine this portion of the FYE program. What follows are ideas and possibilities only.

Co-curricular Involvement
Support Services
Organizational Skills
Technology Skills
Working in Groups

1. CO-CURRICULAR INVOLVEMENT

Intended Outcomes

  1. Familiarize students with co-curricular activities as part of the university experience.

  2. Increase student retention through involvement in co-curricular activities.

  3. Foster the development of organizational and social skills.

  4. Provide opportunity to meet other students, participate in a social community, and feel more connected to the university.

Guidelines
This element should count for a minimum of 5% of the students' final grade. May be incorporated into other FYE elements.

Implementation
Students are required to attend (as a participant or observer) at least 2 co-curricular activities in the course, as deemed appropriate by the instructor, and to provide some analysis or critique of the event, such as:

  1. Write a one-page response paper including the relevance to the course or the "well-rounded collegiate experience".

  2. Provide feedback on how the event changed/added to previous knowledge or beliefs.

  3. Reflect (in either formal or informal writing) how the event fit into the academic/work/social schedule.

Assessment
Faculty may wish to use traditional grading for this element, or count it as class participation.


2. SUPPORT SERVICES

UPDATE January 2007:  Student Affairs has provided information about incorporating various services into FY courses:



Intended Outcomes
Familiarize students with the plethora of support services available at Western and to increase comfort with utilizing these support services. At the end of the semester the student will:

  1. Be able to identify at least 3 support services and their locations offered by WestConn

  2. Have utilized at least 1 support service appropriate to his/her needs

  3. Learn vicariously through classmates (through class presentations) of the vast multitude of support services offered at WestConn

  4. Recognize the use of support services as "helpful" and not stigmatizing.

Guidelines
Should count for a minimum of 5% of the students' final grade. May be incorporated with other FYE elements.

Implementation
Students may be asked to research support services available at WestConn through use of the internet, actually visiting the support service and retrieving literature about it, etc. Support services can be anything that the faculty feels would be appropriate; e.g. there is a list of Student Clubs and Organizations on the WestConn website that could be utilized as support services. This list includes advisors, religious organizations, clubs, fraternity/sororities, etc. as support services.

  1. Students would then self-select at least 1 (preferably more than 1) support service that they feel they would find helpful and would utilize during their years at WestConn.

  2. Students could write a one-page paper as to where the support service is and why they would utilize it.

  3. Students could present in class (5 minutes) their findings.

  4. Faculty could invite individuals from various support services to come to class to inform students of where they are and what they have to offer.

Assessment

  1. Class presentation could be a percentage of the overall grade

  2. Paper would be graded for both content and grammar, etc. and be a percentage of the grade

3. ORGANIZATIONAL SKILLS

Intended Outcomes
Time management, study skills, test taking skills, etc. Support services, stress reduction, note taking.

Guidelines
Should count for a minimum of 5% of the students' final grade.

Implementation

  • presentations from Student Affairs staff

  • use of services on campus

Assessment

  • faculty observation

  • self reporting

  • demonstrated application of introduced element.

4. TECHNOLOGY SKILLS

Intended Outcomes
Ability to exploit current and appropriate technology, including word processing, spreadsheets, presentation software, web applications, statistical and mathematical programs, course management software, communication software. Basic level of proficiency.

Guidelines
Should count for a minimum of 5% of the students' final grade.

Implementation

  • incorporate into assignments.

  • attendance at STTC workshops.

Assessment

  • faculty observation

  • competency rubrics

5. WORKING IN GROUPS

Intended Outcomes
Asking students to work in small groups is one of many approaches allowing students to learn interactively. Small groups are good for:

  1. generating a broad array of possible alternative points of view or solutions to a problem

  2. giving students a chance to work on a project that is too large or complex for an individual

  3. allowing students with different backgrounds to bring their special knowledge, experience, or skills to a project, and to explain their orientation to others

  4. giving students a chance to teach each other

  5. giving students a structured experience so they can practice skills applicable to professional situations

(Adapted from the Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning at Harvard )

Guidelines
Should count for a minimum of 5% of the students' final grade.

Implementation

  • group research

  • group presentations, labs, assignments.

Assessment

  • peer evaluation

  • structured rubric

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