Skip to Content

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

Banner Image

Online Courses

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


Registration will open in Spring 2019

Each online course has limited registration, so early registration is encouraged.



Building Pathways for Transfer Student Success

Course Date: April 29 – May 24, 2019
Instructor: Mark Allen Poisel, Ed.D.


Course Description

This course will provide a comprehensive view and discussion of transfer student pathways and how to help them achieve success across multiple institutions.  The content will emphasize institutional partnerships, transfer and campus culture, recommended support services, and program assessment. Participants will be provided with an overview of suggested strategies for improving the transfer student experience with the opportunity to analyze and review their current institution and how they impact transfer students.  Participants will explore the various opportunities, challenges, and unique needs of transfer students with a focus on developing an action plan for their campuses to implement or enhance the programmatic initiatives for transfer student success.  Individuals who work with transfer or new students (i.e., enrollment management, first year programs, orientation, academic advising, retention, or academic support) are encouraged to enroll.

Course Objectives

As a result of this online course, students will:

  • Define and synthesize transfer student needs across multiple institutions
  • Enhance knowledge regarding the challenges faced by students, administrators, and faculty in meeting the needs of transfer students
  • Identify key strategies for partnership development and the benefits of collaborative services for transfer students
  • Create protocols to assess the transfer student culture, institutional policies and student services impacting campuses
  • Develop an action plan for implementing policies and programmatic initiatives to increase transfer student success on campus
About the Instructor
mark allen poisel

Mark Allen Poisel, Ed.D.

Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs

University of Arkansas at Little Rock

Mark Allen Poisel is the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Dr. Poisel is the Chief Student Affairs and Enrollment Services Officer at the university. He provides leadership, management, and supervision of enrollment areas, outreach and TRIO grants, student services and programs, and traditional student affairs functions. Dr. Poisel’s prior work experience include leadership positions in academic and student affairs at Augusta University, Pace University, University of Central Florida, the Florida Department of Education, The Florida State University, and Indiana State University. Dr. Poisel has centered his career on student success initiatives. He has served as a keynote speaker at 16 conferences and symposia, conducted over 65 presentations and workshops, and served as a consultant to other institutions of higher education on the topics of student success and strategic planning. He has published several articles and co-edited two books on transfer student success. He currently serves on the advisory board for the National Institute for the Study of Transfer Students and is a past board member of the National Resource Center for the First-Year Experience and Students in Transition. Finally, his teaching experience includes courses on individual and team leadership. Dr. Poisel earned his Bachelor’s in Accounting and his Master’s in College Student Personnel Work from Indiana State University and his Specialist and Ed.D., both in Higher Education, from The Florida State University.

Registration Information

Registration Deadline: April 22, 2019
Course Capacity: 25 Registrants 
Fee: $425



Fostering First-Year Student Success

Course Date: June 17 - July 12, 2019
Instructor: Stephanie M. Foote, Ph.D.


Course Description

This course is designed to engage participants in an exploration of the fundamental aspects of first-year student success. Drawing from multiple perspectives, participants in the course will be challenged to: a) move beyond generational characteristics to fully understand who first year students are and what issues potentially impact their success; b) apply the information generated through readings, reflective assignments, and discussion to innovate practices aimed at fostering first-year student success; and c) develop a variety of qualitative and quantitative methods that can be used to measure first-year student success.

Course Objectives

  • Participants will identify issues that impact the success of first-year students on their campus.
  • Participants will develop strategies and transform existing practices to encourage first-year student success.
  • Participants will understand how to use qualitative and quantitative methods to measure first-year student success.


Textbook (Required)

Upcraft, M. L., Gardner, J. N., & Barefoot, B. O. (2005). Challenging & Supporting The First-Year Student: A Handbook for Improving the First Year of College. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

About the Instructor
stephanie foote

Stephanie M. Foote, Ph.D.

Assistant Vice President for Teaching, Learning, and Evidence-Based Practices

The John N. Gardner Institute for Excellence in Undergraduate Education

Dr. Stephanie M. Foote is the Assistant Vice President for Teaching, Learning, and Evidence-Based Practices at the John N. Gardner Institute for Excellence in Undergraduate Education. Prior to joining the Institute staff in August 2017, Stephanie was the founding director of the Master of Science in First-Year Studies, professor of education in the Department of First-Year and Transition Studies, and faculty fellow for High-Impact Practices at Kennesaw State University (KSU). Before joining the faculty at KSU, Stephanie served as the founding Director of the Academic Success Center and First-Year Experience at the University of South Carolina Aiken and was the Associate Director for Student Orientation and Family Programs at Stony Brook University. Her scholarship and consultative work span a variety of aspects of student development and transition, including: the role of first-year seminars and experiential pedagogy on student engagement in the early college experience, the community college transfer student transition, self-authorship development, engagement and learning in online environments, faculty development, metacognitive teaching and learning approaches, and high-impact educational practices. Stephanie is a recipient of the McGraw-Hill Excellence in Teaching First-Year Seminars award, and a past recipient of the NODA Outstanding Research Award for her research on the effects of first-year seminar participation on the experience of students in the early college experience. 

Registration Information

Registration Deadline: June 7, 2019
Course Capacity: 40 Registrants 
Fee: $425



Applying Student Development Theory to College Transition Programs

Course Date: August 12 – September 6, 2019

Instructor: Tracy Skipper, Ph.D.


Course Description

Since the 1970s, theories of student development have provided a useful framework for identifying student needs, designing educational practice, and assessing learning and developmental outcomes. With the ever-increasing diversity of college students in the United States, researchers and educators have questioned the relevance of many of these theories. Despite these challenges, student development theory remains an important body of knowledge informing the work of educators throughout the academy as they design classroom experiences, programs, and interventions for college students in transition. This online course will introduce key student development theories and explore current research and practice related to them. Participants will evaluate the usefulness of these theories for creating developmentally appropriate educational practices on their own campuses and consider strategies for assessing developmental outcomes.

Course Objectives

As a result of completing this course, participants will be able to use selected theories to

  • support their understanding and identify potential needs of students with whom they work,
  • set goals and identify developmentally appropriate outcomes for students in transition,
  • design programs or pedagogies to help students meet identified outcomes, and
  • create an assessment plan for measuring specific developmental outcomes
About the Instructor
tracy skipper

Tracy Skipper, Ph.D.

Assistant Director for Publications

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

University of South Carolina

Tracy Lynn Skipper is assistant director for publications for the National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition at the University of South Carolina. She has more than 15 years of experience in academic publishing, specializing in acquisitions and content development of research and practice literature in higher education. An accomplished editor and writer, Skipper edited (with Roxanne Argo) Involvement in Campus Activities and the Retention of First-Year College Students (2003), wrote Student Development in the First College Year: A Primer for College Educators (2005), and served as managing editor of the five-volume series, The First-Year Seminar: Designing, Implementing, and Assessing Courses to Support Student Learning and Success (2011-2012). Most recently, she co-authored the volume Writing in the Senior Capstone: Theory and Practice with Lea Masiello and edited What Makes the First-Year Seminar High Impact? Exploring Effective Educational Practices (2017). She holds degrees in psychology, higher education, American literature, and rhetoric and composition. In addition to her writing and editorial work, she has served as a student affairs administrator, taught writing at the college level, and presented writing workshops for higher education professionals. She has presented on the application of student development theory to curricular and cocurricular contexts and what national datasets suggest about the organization and administration of high-impact educational practices. Her research interests include the application of cognitive-structural development to composition pedagogy and the use of writing in first-year seminars and senior capstone courses.

Registration Information

Registration Deadline: August 5, 2019
Course Capacity: 25 Registrants 
Fee: $425