Conferences and Continuing Education













Our Invitation to You

* Registration Now Open

The National Resource Center is pleased to now offer online courses on current topics related to the first-year experience and students in transition. Online courses are designed to come as close as possible to providing students with the same course content and opportunities for interaction with classmates and with the instructor as traditional or classroom-based courses as well as take advantage of pedagogy and teaching techniques that are not possible or uncommon in a traditional format. Our online courses will take place during a four-week or five-week period with the majority of instruction occurring in an asynchronous environment. Asynchronous instruction is neither time bound nor place-bound and does not require the simultaneous participation of all students and instructors. It utilizes tools such as email, threaded discussions/forums, listservs, and blog.

Participants will earn 1.5 continuing education units.

Common Readings: Creating Community

Catherine F. Andersen

Associate Provost for Academic Affairs University of Baltimore
Catherine Andersen is presently the associate provost for Academic Affairs at the University of Baltimore where, among her many roles, she is responsible for curriculum, accreditation, and assessment.  Prior to this position, she enjoyed a long career at Gallaudet University, serving as chief enrollment and marketing officer, associate provost, dean of Enrollment and General Studies, director of the First-Year Experience, and chairperson of the Communication and Developmental Studies Department. Anderson served on the national advisory board of the National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition, currently serves on the national advisory board for Teagle Assessment Scholars, and is a fellow with The Gardner Institute for Excellence in Undergraduate Education. In 1994, Anderson was awarded the honor of Gallaudet's Distinguished Faculty of the Year, and 1997, she was named one of the nation's Outstanding First-Year Advocates.

Registration Deadline
Course Capacity
April 30 - May 25, 2018 April 24, 2018 25 Registrants $425.00


Common reading programs, defined for the purpose of this course, occur when groups of incoming first-year students read the same book(s) and participate in activities that create a common intellectual experience. These programs are becoming an important component of first-year experience initiatives and are most frequently designed to provide new students an introduction to the intellectual expectations of college in formal and informal gatherings. High-impact programs go beyond book discussion groups and include students, faculty, staff, and the larger community in an array of social, intellectual, and civic activities. Individuals in this course will discuss the benefits and goals of a program; learn about the various types of programs; and explore how programs differ in scope, impact, and cost. Participants will design a comprehensive plan for their own campus that includes goals and outcomes, an assessment plan, a budget, book selection criteria, and curricular and cocurricular programming.


As a result of this online course, students will:
  • Participants will identify the rationale and characteristic of common reading programs.

  • Participants will identify the variety of programming opportunities for common reading programs.

  • Participants will develop a common reading program plan specific to their institution that includes program goals, book selection criteria, event promotion strategies, curricular and cocurricular opportunities, a budget, and an assessment plan.

    Textbook (required)
    Laufgraben, J. L. (2006). Common reading programs: Going beyond the book (Monograph No. 44). Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina, National Resource Center for the First-Year Experience & Students in Transition.

Parent Engagement and Student Success During The First-Year

Laurie L. Hazard, Ed.D.

Adjunct Professor, Applied Psychology
Bryant University

Laurie L. Hazard is the Assistant Dean for Student Success at Bryant University in Smithfield, RI. As a member of the Applied Psychology Department, she writes about parent involvement, student personality types and classroom success. She is an award-winning expert on how students can make successful transitions from high school to college. After earning her Master's of Education degree from Boston University in counseling, she received a Doctoral degree from Boston University in Curriculum and Teaching. Laurie is co-author of the book Foundations for Learning, 3rd Edition (2012, Prentice Hall), which is designed to help students make a successful transition to college by encouraging them to take responsibility for and claim their own education. Hazard's textbook has been adopted by colleges and universities around the country, including Boston University, University of Nevada, and Texas A&M. Richard J. Light, the Walter H. Gale Professor of Education at Harvard University, calls Hazard's book "a winner for any college student" that is a "beautifully written joy to read."

Laurie has won numerous awards for her work with first-year students and their parents, including the National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition's Outstanding First-Year Student Advocate; the Learning Assistance Association of New England's Outstanding Research and Publication Award; and the Learning Assistance Association of New England's Outstanding Service to Developmental Students Award. Most recently, Laurie received the CRLA Northeast's Outstanding Service to the Field of Developmental Education Award.

Laurie's expertise has garnered national media attention. She has been interviewed and cited as an expert in the Associated Press, Seventeen Magazine, The Chicago Tribune, The Times Picayune, The San Diego Tribune, and Student Affairs Leader. Laurie has also been a guest columnist for the Washington Post's Answer Sheet: A School Survival Guide for Parents (And Everyone Else). Her articles offer concrete advice for parents of new college students: "How to Help Your Child Adapt to College Life," and "Parents Should Leave their Kids Alone at College." Most recently, Laurie has written a book with co-author Stephanie Carter, called Your Freshman Is Off To College (2016).

Registration Deadline
Course Capacity
June 4-29, 2018 May 24, 2018 25 Registrants $425.00


Through the lens of student development and emerging adulthood theory, this course is designed to explore the role of parents in higher education and its impact on the transition to college and student success. Institutions are now beginning to recognize that family support is a critical factor in first-year student success; thus, colleges are finding it increasingly important to develop programs and services that support both parents and students. Participants in the course will be challenged to: a) examine the evolution of the parent and student relationship through the decades and its impact on philosophy and practice in higher education; b) grapple with the extent to which parents should be involved in the college experience, particularly during the first year; c) integrate what is learned to develop best practices aimed at fostering parent engagement with clear boundaries that support student success outcomes, and d) create strategies to partner with parents for student success.


  • Explore adolescent development theory from multiple perspectives

  • Look at the evolution of the role of parents in higher education

  • Examine the influence and impact of parent engagement on student success

  • Develop philosophy for practices related to parent engagement

  • Create strategies to partner with parents to augment student success outcomes

Supporting First-Year STEM Students

Melissa Thomas

Lecturer, TIP Scholars Program
College of Natural Sciences
University of Texas at Austin

Melissa Thomas is a Lecturer for the College of Natural Sciences at the University of Texas at Austin for their Texas Interdisciplinary Plan (TIP) Scholars program, a wrap around program for potentially at-risk students. Since 1999, the Texas Interdisciplinary Plan (TIP) has sought to provide a small college experience for over 450 first-year students in the Colleges of Liberal Arts and Natural Sciences. The program provides academic and social support through smaller classes, academic advising, linked courses, a critical thinking and ethics seminar, social connections, peer mentoring, and collaborative study sessions. Previously, she was the Director of the Center for Student Learning at the College of Charleston where she provided leadership and management to all the learning assistance programs and services provided to students by the Center. Before that, Melissa has been an adjunct instructor for freshman seminar and learning strategies courses, common reads selection committee member at two institutions, P.I. for a multi-year grant, coordinator of a graduate student academic support program, and Past President of the College Reading and Learning Association. Through her work on various Common Intellectual Experiences (CIEs) and other High Impact Practices, Melissa's research interests include motivation inside and outside the classroom, critical thinking in action, ethics, group communication, assessment, and student success. Melissa holds a Juris Doctorate (J.D.) from the University of Texas at Austin and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication from the University of Texas at San Antonio.

Registration Deadline
Course Capacity
July 9, 2018 - August 3, 2018 June 27, 2018 25 Registrants $425.00


This course is designed to engage participants in a variety of higher education roles (administration, faculty, and staff) in an exploration of the fundamental aspects of first-year student success in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. Drawing from multiple perspectives, participants in the course will be challenged to: a) identify common first-year barriers for students in the STEM fields; b) appreciate holistic supports that allow STEM students to thrive; and c) create opportunities for STEM student success on their campus. Participants will create a personalized portfolio that integrates their readings, reflective assignments, and discussions throughout the course.


  • Participants will identify issues that impact the success of first-year STEM students, and in particular, underrepresented minorities and women.

  • Participants will analyze innovative practices in the literature that support STEM students in a variety of capacities (learning assistance, pedagogical choices, research opportunities, mentoring, etc.)

  • Participants will develop strategies and transform existing practices to encourage first-year student success.