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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.

These workshops offer extended presentation, discussion and interaction on a particular topic or area of interest. 

2-Day Workshop

Developing & Sustaining First-Year Seminars

Registration Fee: $450

The Developing and Sustaining First-Year Seminars Workshop is designed to provide those charged with the task of delivering a successful first-year seminar with valuable information, fresh ideas, and some much-needed inspiration. Faculty will build a framework where participants can engage in discussions with colleagues, examine trends and practices connected to first-year seminars, and identify new strategies to ensure the success of first-year students. 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 faculty employ group work, problem solving, case studies, and other strategies to engage participants in learning.

Full-Day Workshop

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

Registration Fee: $250


  • 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

Registration Fee: $150

  • Dottie Weigel, Assistant Professor of Higher Education/Director, Graduate Program in Higher Education, Messiah University
  • Sandy Greene, Assistant Director  for Communications,  University 101 Programs, University of South Carolina
  • Katie Hopkins, Assistant Director for Faculty Development, University 101 Programs, University of South Carolina

As instructors, advisors, and cocurricular educators, we want students to make lasting connections between course material, experiences, and real-word application. A powerful way to accomplish this is through critical reflection. This enhances student learning and makes teaching and mentoring students more enjoyable. In this workshop, participants will explore ways to incorporate reflection in a variety of classroom and beyond-the-classroom contexts, including first-year seminars and other high-impact practices. Participants will gain strategies for incorporating reflection into their curriculum or first-year programming and will consider ways to assess effectiveness. Participants will be better equipped to help students apply knowledge in new contexts. 

Registration Fee: $150

  • Amy Baldwin, Director, University College, University of Central Arkansas
  • Bryce BuntingAssistant Clinical Professor, Brigham Young University

The COVID-19 pandemic has required adaptation for students, faculty, advisors, and nearly everyone on our campuses.  Consequently, positive mindsets, resilience, and belonging have never been more critical for both students and institutions more generally.  In this workshop, we will briefly explore relevant literature and then offer practical strategies for programming, messaging, and interventions that can support belonging, growth mindset, and resilience in and outside of the classroom, particularly for underrepresented student populations.  In fact, we make the bold claim that supporting students in developing these learnable attributes may be the single most important outcome for students in transition. 

Registration Fee: $150

  • Julie McLaughlin, Chair, Professor, First Year Experience, Cincinnati State Technical and Community College
  • Ryan Shadle, First Year Instructor,  Cincinnati State Technical and Community College
  • Kelly Edmondson, First Year Instructor, Cincinnati State Technical and Community College

Two-year colleges often struggle with what topics should be covered in an FYE Course and how it should be delivered, along with obstacles to implementing the course.  This session will cover how to overcome these obstacles, how to select content and engage the students, the need for instructor training, effectively assessing the course, lessons learned from the pandemic, and how to make those tough administrative course decisions (i.e. class size, course standardization, etc.). This session will be relevant for schools trying to build an FYE course from scratch as well as schools who are trying to update their course.

Registration Fee: $150

  • Mike Dial, Assistant Director, First-Year Advising, University of South Carolina
  • Paige McKeown, Coordinator of First-Year Advising and Academic Intervention, University of South Carolina

This interactive session is designed to provide participants with the historical, theoretical, research, and practical background of early alert programs. Participants will explore and discuss the necessary components to leverage high-quality early alert programming at a variety of institutional types and sizes. Facilitators will utilize research, effective practice, and participants’ experiences to discuss how to develop a mission and vision for early alert programs, design and facilitate effective interventions, prepare faculty and staff to monitor and respond to student risk indicators, and evaluate and assess early alert programs. Participants will consider intervention efforts beyond the traditional faculty referral early alert.

Registration Fee: $150


  • Wayne Jackson, Director of the Multicultural Academic and Support Services Department, University of Central Florida
  • Tony Davis, Counselor, Montgomery County Community College
  • Jamil Johnson, Higher Education Professor, University of Nevada Las Vegas

This workshop will provide attendees with information on how they can help multicultural males be successful at their college/university. Participants will receive tips on what they can do to help males feel more a part of their college campus, how to get them involved and how to make them aware of various resources. By developing a planned approach to increase the multicultural male retention and graduation, the institution will then see success in reaching its overall retention goals and help males who might otherwise not have graduated, now achieve their dream of earning a college degree.

Registration Fee: $150

  • Maureen Grewe, Director of Student Conduct, University of South Carolin0a
  • Tad Derrick, Assistant Director of Harm Reduction and Compliance, Fraternity and Sorority Life, University of South Carolina

Participants will discuss the high-risk behaviors first year students experience in college including substance use, hazing, mental health, sexual assault and Title IX concerns. We will review components of a successful comprehensive education plan to address substance use, hazing, mental health, sexual assault and Title IX concerns with first year students.  Facilitators will utilize research, effective practice, and participants’ experiences to discuss how to manage these concerns for first year students. Participants will receive models of effective programs, as well as tools, strategies, and ideas on how to enhance programs and practices on their campus to improve the first-year experience.  

Registration Fee: $150

  • Sara Connolly, Assistant Dean, Sacred Heart University
  • Craig Lennon, Dean of Students, University of Bridgeport

Institutions continue to focus on increasing student success by tackling problems office by office, rather than looking at the entirety of the student experience. This workshop examines evidence-based approaches to the student experience; from student commitment through to alumni status, as well as the literature on student success.  Participants will leave with a framework for creating a comprehensive plan for their own campus, as well as strategies for implementation and evidence for support.

Registration Fee: $150

  • Jennifer Coplea, CNAS Scholars Coordinator, University of California, Riverside

Generation Z are diverse, tech savvy, and progressive.  Higher education must embrace their entrepreneurial advances, openness with mental health, and need to engage in meaningful discussions (Twenge, 2017; Seemiller & Grace, 2016). We must understand that they value face to face communication, sincerity, and embracing change. Colleges and universities must help them feel connected, so that they “are more likely to persist” and develop “a willingness to become involved with others in ways that further promote persistence” (Tinto, 2016). The challenge is to find meaningful ways for Millennials, Gen X, and Baby Boomers to support, embrace, and graduate Gen Z. 

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.