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National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition


International Advisory Board

As the international presence and work of the National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition has changed and grown in the last decade, we would like to introduce the International Advisory Board.

Similar to the National Advisory Board, this new board of global scholars serves in a consultative role for the Center giving advice and contributing suggestions for research topics, publications, marketing and funding strategies, and conference speakers, as well as authoring articles for Center publications and evaluating award nominees and grant proposals. These leaders and experts in higher education represent a variety of institutional types and resource centers from around the world. The International Advisory Board members provide unique perspectives and expertise. The Center hopes to benefit from this and provide resources which promote student success, learning, and development on a global level.

Abdulaziz Alfehaid
Abdulaziz Alfehaid

Abdulaziz Alfehaid

Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University
Saudi Arabia

Abdulaziz Alfehaid is an Associate Professor of Applied Linguistics and TESOL in the Department of English Language at Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University- IAU (formerly known as the University of Dammam) in Saudi Arabia. He teaches both undergraduate and postgraduate modules for a number of years at the IAU and other universities. His research focuses mainly on preparatory (first) year student retention, English language education, English for academic purposes, developing and evaluating preparatory year curriculum and programs and student transition. He is currently the leader of a local research project "Using English as a Medium of Instruction in Preparatory Year Programs."

He is currently the Dean of Preparatory Year & Supporting Studies at IAU as well as the Chairman of both the Department of English Language and the Department of Computer Science. As Dean, Abdulaziz has worked to mobilize faculty to support student achievement through professional development and student success initiatives, including revision of preparatory year curriculum, quality assurance system, pedagogical research and assessment, new learning support systems and pedagogical innovation. 

Dr. Alfehaid is the founder and the Secretary-General of the National Committee of Deans of Preparatory Year Programs in Saudi Universities sponsored by the Ministry of Education. In 2015, he founded and chaired the 1st National Conference for Prep Year in Saudi Universities which was a welcoming venue for researchers and other specialized scholars to work on improving the prep year experience in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Dr. Alfehaid has presented at a wide variety of educational conferences and symposiums, national, regional and international and is often invited to provide consultancy support on issues relating to first year student linguistic challenges, academic achievement and retention, the first-year curriculum, and transitional aspects. He is also a member of many national and international committees.

Prior to becoming the Dean of Preparatory Year & Supporting Studies, Dr. Alfehaid was the vice-dean of admission and registration at IAU and had responsibilities in matters related to enrollment and students records. He obtained his MA and Ph.D. in Applied Linguistics and TESOL from the School of Education at the University of Leicester, UK. 

Hala Al-Najjar
Hala Al-Najjar

Hala Al-Najjar

American University of Kuwait
Kuwait

Hala Al-Najjar currently works at the American University of Kuwait where she has served as the First Year Experience program coordinator for the past five years. She continues to research the educational, cultural and social influences that are distinctive to Arab students in Kuwait and throughout the Gulf. During her time as coordinator, she has initiated and overseen significate program initiatives to develop a first year curriculum that provides students with social and academic foundations needed for success at a liberal arts university. She has an undergraduate degree from Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts where she majored in Sociology and minored in Psychology and Education. She went on to graduate from Fitchburg State University in Massachusetts with a Master's of Education focusing on cultural and linguistic awareness. Recently, she spent summers at Harvard School of Education studying and completing several certification programs on teaching in the 21st century. With a research interest on the impact of globalization in Kuwait, Hala has developed and led several professional development workshops in Effective Teaching Strategies for 21st Century Learning, The Effects of Globalization in Education and The Role of Culture 21st Century Education.

She has also developed and continues to lead cultural sensitivity orientation workshops for expatriate educators teaching in Kuwait. Hala has received recognition both for her civic and professional accomplishments. However, two awards that she is most proud are those she received from her students at AUK ("Most Supportive Faculty" 2013 and 2015 and "Carrier of the AUK Spirit Faculty Award" 2016). A member of several local clubs and organizations, Hala is active in promoting social justice in the community. She has started her own NGO and is a founding member of the Soroptomist International group.

Robert Kenedy
Robert Kenedy

Robert Kenedy

York University
Canada 

Robert Kenedy (PhD) is an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology at York University, Canada where he has won four teaching awards and an award for his service to students. For his pedagogical research, he has written articles about peer education, integrating critical thinking skills into courses, and the importance of supporting student learning through teaching partnerships. Professor Kenedy has also been the guest editor of a special themed issue on peer education in the Journal of the First Year Experience & Student Transition. His work examines co-curricular and curricular peer education, mentorship, and leadership, focusing on the academic and social contributions to the post-secondary transition. Kenedy's research highlights integrating peer educators and leaders into courses and studying the impact they have on student learning. He specifically examines best practices for incorporating peer educators inside and outside the classroom as well as evaluating the pedagogical benefits for students in terms of critical thinking, writing, and other academic skills. 

Karen Nelson
Karen Nelson

Karen Nelson

University of the Sunshine Coast
Australia

Karen Nelson PhD PFHEA is Professor of Higher Education and Pro Vice-Chancellor Students at the University of the Sunshine Coast, a regional university located on the east coast of Australia. Prior to joining USC in 2014, Karen was the Director, Student Success and Retention at held senior academic roles at Queensland University of Technology.

Karen adopts a research-led, evidence-based approach to her role as PVC (Students) which includes the promotion and support of higher education research and scholarship. Her research focuses on student learning engagement in higher education. She has led a series of large nationally-funded projects in this area. Major projects include developing a maturity model for student engagement retention and success and a social justice framework for higher education. In 2017 she led a third national project 'Shaping the 21st century student experience in regional universities' and recently completed a report on completion rates for equity students for Australia's National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education.

Karen's contributions to higher education have been recognized by more than ten institutional and national awards including three Australian awards for University Teaching. In 2016 she was awarded Principal Fellow Status of the Higher Education Academy (PFHEA). In Australia, Karen serves the higher education sector as the Editor of Student Success, a journal exploring the experiences of students in tertiary education, and as Co-Chair of the annual STARS Conference.

 

Diane Nutt
Diane Nutt

Diane Nutt

European First-Year Experience Network (EFYE)


Dr. Diane Nutt is an independent consultant and researcher in higher education in the United Kingdom; she previously worked at Teesside University and during her time there was the acting assistant director of the Learning and Teaching Department and head of the student retention team. She has been a lecturer in sociology, a staff developer and was awarded a University Teaching Fellowship at Teesside in 2006. During her tenure at Teesside, she initiated a project on study skills provision and became involved in work on the first-year experience. In 2003, she moved from Sociology to a central learning and teaching leadership role, where she set up a retention team and completed a major ESF [European Social Fund] research project on the retention of nontraditional students (published in 2005). This was followed by a number of other projects, including setting up an institutional retention strategy, leading a further £250,000 ESF dissemination project, and representing Teesside as part of a more recent major national project (funded by the Higher Education Funding Council, England [HEFCE]) on postgraduate student experiences involving 11 institutions. Nutt was recently awarded Principal Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy (PFHEA). 

At Teesside, she was also actively involved in a variety of committees and working groups, including chair of the Rough Guide editorial board, as well as being an author of two Rough Guides. In her role, Nutt worked closely with schools, program teams, and faculty in developing curricula. She is committed to exploring strategies to enhance the student experience, from the first year and throughout the university journey. She has published a number of articles and chapters in her original discipline as well as on retention and student experience and is co-author of the NRC monograph (with Denis Calderon) International Perspectives on the First Year Experience in Higher Education.

Nutt began the European First-Year Experience Network and is chair of the EFYE Conference Organizing Committee. She has presented at a wide variety of conferences and events and is often invited to speak or provide consultancy support on issues relating to retention, the first-year experience, and transitions. Nutt holds a BA in independent studies from Lancaster University in the United Kingdom and a PhD in sociology, also from Lancaster. Her thesis was on childless women's social networks.

Annsilla Nyar
Annsilla Nyar

Annsilla Nyar

South African National Resource Center for the First-Year Experience and Students in Transition (SANRC)

Annsilla Nyar serves as the Director of the South African National Resource Center for the First-Year Experience and Students in Transition (SANRC) where she is responsible for all the operational, strategic and scholarly aspects of the work of the SANRC.

Annsilla is a well-established academic and researcher with extensive experience in the higher education sector. Prior to joining the SANRC she held the post of Manager: Research and Policy Analysis at the former Higher Education South Africa (HESA), a coalition of 25 public universities in South Africa. HESA is now Universities South Africa. Before HESA she worked as Senior Researcher at the Gauteng City-Region Observatory (GCRO), a partnership between the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), University of Johannesburg (UJ) and the Gauteng Provincial Government (GPG). Annsilla holds a Masters in Political Science from the University of KwaZulu Natal and a PhD in Political Science from the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits). Annsilla's last article was 'Nation-Building, Africanism and the 2010 FIFA World Cup: what did they do for social cohesion in post-apartheid South Africa', published in Transformation: Critical Perspectives on Southern Africa, Volume 85, 2014.

Pιnar Özbek
Pιnar Özbek

Pιnar Özbek

Koç University
Turkey

Pιnar Özbek is the Coordinator of ALIS 100 (Academic and Life Skills), the freshman seminar at Koç University in Istanbul. In 2017, she launched the FYE network in Turkey, which now has 150 members from 70 universities. The first FYE symposium in Turkey was organized in 2018 by her team at Koç University. She serves as a consultant and conducts workshops for higher education professionals planning to implement FYE programs at Turkish universities.

She teaches courses such as 'Academic and Life Skills', 'Applied Life Skills', 'Transition to Professional Life', and 'Next Generation Leadership and Transformation' at the undergraduate level at Koç University. She also offers life skills workshops to graduate students. Pιnar Özbek co-authored the book University and Beyond: Life Skills for Young Adults, a manual for life skills instructors as well as a guide for college students. She is also the co-author of a book chapter titled "Transition to Professional Life through Experiential Learning" in Palgrave Handbook of Experiential Learning in International Business. Her team was the recipient of Outstanding Service Award at Koç University in 2013, and she was a grantee of Women's International Leadership Award at International House, New York in 2008.

She has a background in counseling and psychotherapy, and served as the Secretary-General and Vice-President of Turkish Psychological Association for two consecutive terms. She graduated from Boğaziçi University with a degree in psychology and continued her education at Columbia University where she earned her Masters of Arts and Masters of Education on Fulbright Scholarship.

Herman Van de Mosselaer
Herman Van de Mosselaer

Herman Van de Mosselaer

Artesis Plantijn University College Antwerp
Belgium

Herman Van de Mosselaer is the project manager of education research at Artesis Plantijn University College Antwerp, Belgium. He is a former teacher trainer, department head of education and quality care as well as department head of education and research. He has experience as chairman, secretary and member of visitation committees for bachelor and master programs. From 2000 till 2005, he was a member of the working group Quality Care of the Flemish Council of University Colleges that designed the Flemish visitation framework and contributed to the former Dutch-Flemish accreditation framework. From 2009 till 2013, he was a member of the Flemish steering group on learning outcomes for higher education for VLUHR (the Flemish board of universities and university colleges). He coordinated international projects concerning topics such as access to higher education, curriculum development, learning continuity pathways and work based learning. The project ‘Enthusiasm for learning and working’ was carried out with seven university colleges, one university and five secondary schools in Flanders and the Netherlands. Since 2010, after the organization of the 5th conference of the European First-Year Experience in Antwerp, Herman is a member of the EFYE Conference Organizing Committee.

Herman earned his degree in Psychology and Educational Sciences at Ghent University. He is influenced by Positive Psychology (Appreciative Inquiry and Solution Focus). He has expertise in several areas including curriculum development, problem based learning, assessment for learning, learning competences, generic skills and study career guidance. He is published on topics such as democratic education, cooperative learning, assessment, ICT in teaching, learning competencies and collaboration between higher education and labor.

Currently Herman promotes and coordinates projects on education research and development, e.g. the LEMO project that developed a self-assessment tool on learning competences and motivation for first year students. The tool is used in many institutions for higher education in Flanders and the Netherlands, and in adapted versions also in high schools. Since 2016, this online tool is part of the mandatory entry test for students in all Flemish teacher training colleges.

Jacques van der Meer
Jacques van der Meer

Jacques van der Meer

University of Otago
New Zealand

Jacques van der Meer (PhD) is an Associate Professor and Associate Dean (Academic & Research) at the University of Otago College of Education (New Zealand). He has also worked in Student Learning Development (part of the Higher Education Development Centre at the University of Otago).

Prior to working at Otago, he worked in a variety of educational settings, including as a teacher and guidance counsellor in a secondary school, and as a director of community education.

Jacques' research areas are related to student transition and induction into higher education, student engagement, peer-learning and student leadership. He also has an interest in student retention and achievement, especially of under-represented minorities. He was recently awarded the “2016 Outstanding Supplemental Instruction Research” award by the International Center for Supplemental Instruction and the University of Missouri-Kansas City (US). This was based on co-authoring a systematic review into the effectiveness of SI that was published in the top education journal, the Review of Education Research.

Reiko Yamada
Reiko Yamada

Reiko Yamada

Doshisha University
Japan

Reiko Yamada is a dean and professor of the Faculty of Social Studies, Department of Education and Culture as well as the director of the Center for Higher Education and Student Research at Doshisha University in Kyoto, Japan. She has served as director of the Center for Learning Support and Faculty Development and as assistant academic provost at Doshisha and on the committee of the Central Council for Education in Japan. She has long been interested in comparative higher education policy in Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries. More recently, she conducted the quantitative study for student development and is engaged in comparative student research between Japan, Korea, and the United States. She was the first president of the Japan Association of the First-Year Experience.

Her recent English publications include Measuring Quality of Undergraduate Education in Japan (Yamada, 2014), "What Makes the Quality of Students' Learning? Focusing on the Articulation Between High School and University" in Mass Higher Education Development in East Asia: Strategy, Quality, and Challenges (Shin, Postiglione, Huang, & Futao, 2015, pp. 207-230), "Student Learning through Active Learning: How Learning Commons Support Students' Independent Learning" in Technology and Workplace Skills for the Twenty-First Century: Asia Pacific Universities in the Globalized Economy (Neubauer & Ghazali, 2015, pp. 77-94), "Measuring Learning Outcomes on General and Liberal Arts Education: Integration of Direct and Indirect Assessment" in Student Learning: Assessment, Perceptions and Strategies (Bowen, 2016, pp. 81-100), "Impact of Globalization on Japanese Higher Education Policy: Examining Government Control and Quality Assurance" in The Palgrave Handbook of Asia Pacific Higher Education (Collins, Lee, Hawkins, & Neubauer, 2016, pp. 409-422), "Comparison of Student Experiences in the Era of Massification: Analysis of Student Data from Japan, Korea and the USA" in Managing International Connectivity, Diversity of Learning and Changing Labour Markets: East Asian Perspectives (Mok, 2016, pp. 169-187), "Productivity, Quality and Performance Excellence" in Raising Productivity in Higher Education (Asia Productivity Organization, 2017, pp. 34-44), and "Comparative Study of Student Learning and Experiences of Japanese and South Korean Students" in Assessment of Learning Outcomes in Higher Education: Cross-National Comparisons and Perspectives (Zlatkin-Troitschanskaia, Toepper, Pant, Lautenback, & Kuhn, 2017, pp. 285-308).