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.

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.

Proving and Improving: Foundations of First-Year Assessment

Dallin George Young, Ph.D.

Assistant Director for Research, Grants, and Assessment
National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition

Dallin George Young is the assistant director for research, grants, and assessment at the National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition at the University of South Carolina (USC). He coordinates all the research and assessment endeavors of the National Resource Center and facilitates and disseminates three national surveys: National Survey of First-Year Seminars, National Survey on Sophomore-Year Initiatives, and the National Survey of Senior Seminars/Capstone Courses. He oversees a number of research collaborations and grant opportunities between the Center and the national and international higher education community as well as across the USC campus. His research agenda coalesces around questions of how higher education socializes students to engage in academic and professional communities of practice. Specifically, he has led studies focused on outcomes of postsecondary education, the impact of professional standards in higher education, and structural features of student transition programs.

Registration Deadline
Course Capacity
August 13 - September 14, 2018 August 2, 2018 25 Registrants $425.00


This course is a comprehensive introduction to first-year assessment and provides participants with the knowledge and tools needed to make sense of first-year assessment issues at their respective institutions. More specifically, this course provides an overview of assessment models and methods; offers strategies for implementing effective assessment plans, including the development of learning outcomes; and explores instruments used to assess student learning, experiences, satisfaction, and change in their transition to college. Both qualitative and quantitative assessment practices will be discussed.


  • Identify key learning outcomes for the first year of college

  • Explore common tools for data collection

  • Apply techniques for selecting appropriate assessment instruments

  • Develop the knowledge needed to make sense of first-year assessment issues

  • Understand data collection methods and models for first-year assessment

Textbook (Required)

Friedman, D. B. (2012). The first-year seminar: Designing, implementing, and assessing courses to support student learning and success: Vol. V. Assessing the first-year seminar. Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina, National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition.

(A note about the required text: The subject for the text is the first-year seminar, one of many programs developed to support first-year student success. The course is designed to focus on assessment foundations relevant to the entire first-year experience. The text was selected because of its concise treatment of foundational concepts that apply to the assessment of the seminar and other first-year programs as well as many other functional units across institutions of higher education.)

The Bridge to Anywhere: Enhancing Student Success and Institutional Impact Through Bridge Programs

Andrew (Drew) Newton

Associate Director, First-Year Academic Advising
University Advising Center, Office of the Provost

Andrew (Drew) Newton Andrew (Drew) Newton currently serves as the Assistant Director of First-Year Advising at the University of South Carolina-Columbia. In collaboration with academic leadership, Drew guides the standardization of academic advising across 11 colleges and schools for over 6,000 incoming freshmen and transfer students through 28 talented full time professional academic advisors. Prior to his work with academic advising, Drew served as director of the university's residential bridge program, Gamecock Gateway, while also leading transfer and veteran student success initiatives. Beyond higher education, Drew has also served as a middle school teacher and K-12 department chair. A native of Farmville, Virginia, Drew completed his Bachelor of Arts in English and Secondary Education from James Madison University and his Master of Education in Higher Education/Student Affairs from the University of South Carolina.

Registration Deadline
Course Capacity
October 22 - November 16, 2018 October 12, 2018 25 Registrants $425.00


Expanding access. Enhancing preparation. Streamlining transfer and student transitions. Bridge programs do all this and more. The need for post-secondary education has never been greater, and neither has the necessity of effective partnerships to take students from point A to point B in their progression toward degree. In this online course, students will be introduced to three primary bridge possibilities: residential bridge; non-residential bridge; and summer/transition bridge programs. Through literary review, exploration of best practices, and dialogue with practitioners in the field, students will develop a bridge program action plan and guiding documents that could be furthered at their institutions while proactively determining how the programs can be assessed.


  • Understand the literature and best practices behind residential bridge partnerships between institutions

  • Understand the literature and best practices behind non-residential bridge partnerships/articulation agreements¬†between institutions

  • Understand the literature and best practices behind summer bridge programs

  • Engage in dialogue with practitioners engaged all the respective bridge programs

  • Develop the framework for an institution-specific residential, non-residential, or summer bridge program using research and best practices explored

  • Create tools and metrics to assess the effectiveness of bridge programs