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


Award and Recognition Programs

The National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition is dedicated to setting a standard of excellence for supporting student transitions and facilitating educational success for a diversity of students in the 21st century. 

The Center's efforts in this regard are inclusive of several national recognition programs that honor the outstanding achievements of higher education professionals from different sectors of higher education, institutional types, campus roles, and disciplinary perspectives.

Excellence in Teaching First-Year Seminars Award

Co-sponsored with Penguin Random House, this award campaign annually recognizes an instructor who has achieved great success in teaching first-year seminars and who inspires student learning, development, and success.

Institutional Excellence for Students in Transition

Launched in 2014, the Institutional Excellence for Students in Transition is warded annually to institutions that have designed and implemented outstanding collaborative initiatives enhancing significant transitions during the undergraduate experience. Award recipients will have demonstrated the effectiveness of the initiative in supporting student success, learning, and development at a variety of transition points beyond the first college year and in responding to unique institutional needs.

Jordan Smith Undergraduate Student Fellowship

Each year the center awards five fellowships for outstanding undergraduates to attend the Annual Conference on The First-Year Experience. The purpose of the Fellowship Program is to advance the leadership skills and knowledge base of undergraduate students so that they may in turn use what they learn at the conference to enhance and encourage first-year student development on their respective campuses.

Outstanding First-Year Student Advocates Campaign

Co-sponsored with Cengage, and established in 1990, this award campaign is the longest running recognition program through the Center and has recognized the accomplishments of hundreds of educators at two- and four-year institutions

Paul P. Fidler Research Grant

This grant competition was established in 2005 and named in memory of a faculty member at the University of South Carolina whose pioneering research on student learning, development, and success had a vital impact on work being done to promote all students in transition. One grant is awarded each year to encourage the development and dissemination of knowledge that has the potential to improve the experiences of college students in transition.