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

Preconference Workshops

Enhance your time at the upcoming Annual Conference on The First-Year Experience by attending one or more of our learning workshops.

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Registration is open at the on-site rate and will be available until the conclusion of the conference.


These workshops offer extended presentation, discussion and interaction on a particular topic or area of interest. Workshops are available for in-person attendees only.

Two-Day Workshop

Growth Mindset and Student Resilience

Dates: February 17 - 18, 2024 | 9:00 am - 4:00 pm
Registration Fee: $450


  • Amy Baldwin, Senior Lecturer of Literacy and Academic Success - University of Central Arkansas
  • Bryce Bunting, Assistant Dean, Undergraduate Education - Brigham Young University
  • Latoya Hardman, Vice President of Instruction - Lone Star College-Tomball
  • Rishi Sriram, Associate Professor of Higher Education & Student Affairs - Baylor University

The Workshop on Growth Mindset and Student Resilience is designed to provide those responsible for supporting successful student transitions with a thorough grounding in relevant research, examples of effective interventions from a variety of institutional types, and experience-based insights from expert faculty. Workshop faculty will build a framework where participants can engage in discussions with colleagues, examine trends and practices connected to growth mindset and student resilience, and identify new strategies to ensure the success of students.

Individual sessions have been designed to build on one another so that participants leave with a personalized action plan for use on their home campuses. Modeling the active pedagogies, we advocate for our classrooms, the Workshop faculty employ group work, problem solving, case studies, and other strategies to engage participants in learning.

We at the National Resource Center firmly believe that participants will find this Workshop to be a rich and rewarding experience, whether their program is in its first year or its thirtieth year.

Focused Topics

  • Reviewing the literature surrounding growth mindset and student resilience
  • Institutionalizing and sustaining growth mindset and resilience interventions
  • Assessing programs and interventions
  • Creating a culture of growth mindset and resilience
  • Implementing change as a result of assessment
  • Establishing valuable partnerships across campus
  • Implementation of your interventions
  • Changing the campus culture from the top down

Full-Day Workshop

Best Practice in the First College Year: Defining What Works and Why

Date: February 18, 2024 | 9:00 am - 4:00 pm
Registration Fee:


  • John N. Gardner, President, John N. Gardner Institute for Excellence in Undergraduate Education;
    Senior Fellow, National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition - University of South Carolina
  • Betsy O. Barefoot, Senior Scholar, John N. Gardner Institute for Excellence in Undergraduate Education;
    Fellow, National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition - University of South Carolina

For more than three decades, a significant investment has been made by many colleges and universities to improve the first year. But funds spent have often not yielded expected returns in student learning and retention. In this workshop, the presenters will explore the questions, "What works in first-year programs and why... or why not?" They will draw from recent research findings and provide a variety of examples of best practice. Participants will be challenged to reflect on the first year at their own campuses-what initiatives have made a positive difference in the first year and what challenges remain? 

Half-Day Workshops

Date: February 18, 2024 | 8:00 am - 12:00 noon
Registration Fee:

  • Dottie Weigel, Associate Professor and Program Director - Messiah University
  • Allan Mathew, Director of Graduate Admissions - Tufts University

A quick glance at headlines for the Chronicle of Higher Education show student disconnection is problematic. As educators, we know student engagement is critical for student success. Unfortunately, it can seem like an insurmountable task in a digital age where reaching students is challenging. In this workshop, participants will gain strategies to engage students in a variety of classroom and beyond-the-classroom contexts, including first-year seminars. Participants will be able to enhance curriculum or first-year programming and consider ways to assess effectiveness. Special attention will be given to engaging first-generation students. Participants will be better equipped to engage students in a powerful way. 

Date: February 18, 2024 | 8:00 am - 12:00 noon
Registration Fee:

  • Melissa L. Johnson, Interim Director, Honors Program - University of Florida
  • Maria Adamitis, Peer Instructor; Undergraduate Research Assistant - University of Florida

Despite outnumbering men as college graduates, women continue to be underrepresented in most STEM disciplines. How can you develop initiatives to promote a more positive experience for women in STEM majors, with a goal of helping them not just survive, but thrive in STEM? Early support networks of peers, faculty, and industry professionals are one such way to foster a sense of belonging in STEM. Through this workshop, participants will discuss and design ways to build community among women in STEM majors during their first year in college. Ideas and notes will be shared among participants following the workshop conclusion.

Date: February 18, 2024 | 8:00 am - 12:00 noon
Registration Fee:

  • Peter Felten, Executive Director, Center for Engaged Learning; Asst Provost for Teaching & Learning; Professor of History - Elon University
  • Isis Artze-Vega, Provost and Vice President - Valencia College
  • Oscar Miranda Tapia, PhD Student in Educational Leadership, Policy, and Human Development - North Carolina State University
  • Leo Lambert, President Emeritus and Professor of Education - Elon University

The quality of relationships students form with peers, faculty, and staff are a primary contributor to learning, well-being, and persistence -- particularly for first-generation and students of color. This workshop will explore how faculty, staff, and programs can more intentionally create and support the kinds of relationship-rich experiences that are foundational to success for first-years and students in transition. Facilitators will draw on research and examples from three dozen higher education institutions, and participants will be invited to share their own effective practices. Participants will leave the session with concrete plans, and also deeper connections to new colleagues.

Date: February 18, 2024 | 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Registration Fee: 


  • Wayne Jackson, Director, Ginsburg Center for Inclusion and Community Engagement - University of Central Florida
  • Tony Davis, Counselor - Montgomery County Community College
  • Jamil Johnson, Assistant Director, Research and Grants - University of South Carolina

This workshop will address the first –year experience of African American and Hispanic/Latinx Males at institutions of higher education. We know that African-American male students have the lowest retention and graduation rates compared to females and other ethnic groups (National Center for Educational Statistics, 2022). This workshop will also provide you the opportunity to begin the work of designing new programs and initiatives to implement during the first-year experience that will address the retention issues of African American and Hispanic males on your campus.

Date: February 18, 2024 | 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Registration Fee: 

  • Kelly Smith, Assistant Dean for Student Success and Wellness - Carthage College
  • Scott Peska, AVP of Student Services and Alumni Relations - Waubonsee Community College
  • Marisol Martinez, Student Success Advisor - Carthage College

This session will explore practical ways higher education professionals can interpersonally influence college student wellness using concepts from human development and counseling theory to practice. Compassion is turning empathy into action. Interpersonal skills are universal and can be used with students from different cultural backgrounds. Basic best practices and examples for implementing collaborative care will be introduced during the session. Participants will have the opportunity to practice frameworks for intentional and effective interpersonal interactions and begin to plan for implementing collaborative care on their campuses.

Date: February 18, 2024 | 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Registration Fee: 

  • Christine Harrington, Professor - Morgan State University
  • James Winfield, Associate Dean for First-Year Experience, General Education, & Retention Strategies - Southern New Hampshire University
  • Carlos Morales, President TCC Connect Campus  - Tarrant County College

During this interactive workshop, faculty, leaders, and student success professionals will discover student-endorsed and research-based approaches to assignments.  Be challenged to think beyond traditional assignments and develop assignments that validate, honor, stretch, and engage your diverse students and help students build skills employers’ desire.  Explore how to use choice, increase transparency, and determine support to engage students in learning tasks that affirm their varied lived experiences. Participants will walk away with practical strategies on how to create or revise assignments that students will find culturally affirming and meaningful and be ready to champion this approach with colleagues on campus.

Date: February 18, 2024 | 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Registration Fee: 

  • Sandy Greene, Associate Director for Partnerships in University 101 Programs - University of South Carolina
  • Katie Hopkins, Associate Director for Faculty Development and Resources in University 101 Programs - University of South Carolina
  • Dustin Roberts, Assistant Director for Quality Enhancement in University 101 Programs - University of South Carolina
  • Heather Harrison, Director of First Year Experiences - Johnson & Wales University - Charlotte Campus

There is a foundation of research and scholarship on diversity, equity, and inclusion in higher education and on the impact of first-year seminars. However, there is a need for additional conversations about inclusive excellence in first-year seminars. In this interactive workshop, presenters will share and demonstrate strategies that can be used to effectively build an inclusive community where students are able to reflect on their identities and worldviews and develop a greater understanding of issues related to diversity, equity, and inclusion.


Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.