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

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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.

Our online courses are designed to be as close as possible to in-person instruction—providing attendees with the same content and opportunities to interact with classmates and the instructor—and are enhanced with pedagogy and teaching techniques that are uncommon or impractical in a traditional classroom format. These courses typically run between four and five weeks, with the majority of instruction occurring in an asynchronous environment. Asynchronous instruction is neither time-bound nor location-bound and does not require the simultaneous participation of all students and instructors. It uses tools such as email, threaded discussions/forums, listservs, and blogs.

Participants will earn 1.5 continuing education units.

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

 Applying Student Development Theory to College Transition Programs

Course Date: July 6-31, 2020

Instructor: Tracy L. Skipper

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.

Required Text:  Skipper, T. L. (2005). Student development in the first college year: A primer for college educators. University of South Carolina, National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition.

Tracy Skipper Headshot

Tracy L. Skipper

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 20 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 wrote Student Development in the First College Year: A Primer for College Educators (2005), 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), and co-authored the volume Writing in the Senior Capstone: Theory and Practice (2013) with Lea Masiello. More recently, she edited two volumes of institutional case studies: What Makes the First-Year Seminar High Impact? Exploring Effective Educational Practices (2017) and Aligning Institutional Support for Student Success: Case Studies of Sophomore-Year Initiatives (2019). 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 Deadline: June 30, 2020
Course Capacity: 25 registrants 
Fee: $425


Academic Recovery: Supporting Students on Academic Probation

Course Date: Aug. 17-Sept. 11, 2020

Instructor: Mike Dial

This course is designed to engage participants in examining and discussing an often-understudied population of students in transition: students on academic probation. Academic probation serves multiple functions in the context of higher education. In fact, setting minimum performance standards likely motivates some students to increase effort while performing near or below the threshold may cause other students to drop out. For the individual student, being placed on probation positions them in a unique transition between unsatisfactory progress and either academic recovery or dismissal and is accompanied by a host of social and emotional consequences at school and home. This course aims to provide participants information, theoretical frameworks, and techniques for engaging with and supporting students on academic probation.

Course Objectives

As a part of this course, participants will:

  • identify issues that lead students to face academic challenge;
  • explore the lived experiences of students on probation;
  • examine theoretical frameworks that may  be applied when working with students on academic probation; and
  • develop strategies and transform existing practices to encourage academic recovery for students on probation.

Required Text:  Course text will be provided via Blackboard.

Mike Dial Headshot

Mike Dial

Assistant Director of First-Year Advising, University of South Carolina

Mike Dial is the assistant director of First-Year Advising at the University of South Carolina (UofSC). He leads a team of 35 academic advisors who support 9,000+ undergraduate students into and through the university. Prior to this role, Mike was responsible for coordinating the recruitment, selection, and training process for the 200+ peer leaders who co-taught UNIV 101 as the Assistant Director for Peer Leadership for University 101 Programs at UofSC. Since 2014, Mike has been involved in first-year initiatives at UofSC including advising, the first-year seminar, early intervention, peer education, and student success programming. Mike serves on the manuscript review boards for E-Source for College Transitions and Building Bridges for Student Success: A Sourcebook for Colleges and Universities. He has presented on research and practice supporting at-risk students at several national conferences including the NASPA Annual Conference, the National Conference on the First-Year Experience, the National Mentoring Symposium, the National Symposium on Student Retention, and the inaugural Appreciative Education Conference. Mike is currently editing a scholarly practice book on supporting students on academic probation. His other areas of scholarly interests include early alert programs, the first-year experience, and student leadership.

Registration Deadline: Aug. 10, 2020
Course Capacity: 25 registrants 
Fee: $425


Creating a Comprehensive, Connected, and Coordinated First-Year Experience

Course Date: Sept. 28-Oct. 23, 2020

Instructor: Jennifer Keup

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) use current theory, research, and best practice literature to identify, explore, and understand the definitional parameters of FYE; (b) move beyond generational characteristics to fully understand who first-year students are and what issues potentially impact their success; (c) apply the information generated through readings, reflective assignments, and discussion to examine existing tools and innovate practices aimed at fostering first-year student success; and (d) understand and develop approaches to implement the tenets for quality in FYE concept and delivery.

Course Objectives

As a part of this course, participants will:

  • understand and apply the definitional parameters of terms and concepts used within the scholarly and best practice conversations around the first-year experience;
  • examine and understand the characteristics and needs of today's first-year college students;
  • explore the tools and strategies we have, to meet first-year students' academic, developmental, personal, and interpersonal needs;
  • understand and apply the tenets for quality in first-year experience concept and delivery ; and 
  • consider and develop strategies and techniques to integrate an institutional approach to the first-year experience.
Jennifer Keup Headshot

Jennifer Keup

Executive Director of the National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition, University of South Carolina

Dr. Jennifer Keup is the director of the National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition where she provides leadership for the Center’s operational, strategic, and scholarly activities in pursuit of its mission “to support and advance efforts to improve student learning and transitions into and through higher education.” During her time as director, Jennifer has worked to spearhead the National Resource Center’s increase in national and international collaboration and partnerships. The Center’s thought leadership, advancement of publication and professional development outlets, grant acquisition, research productivity, and expansion of channels for resource sharing and communication, including online and social media also have been areas of focus in her time at the Center. Dr. Keup’s research interests focus on two complementary areas of scholarship: (a) the first-year experience and students in transition and (b) high-impact practices and institutional interventions. She is a co-author of the book Designing and Sustaining Successful First-Year Programs: A Guide for Practitioners and of the CAS Cross-Functional Framework for First-Year Experiences. Jennifer also serves as an affiliated faculty member in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policies in the College of Education at the University of South Carolina and is a proud multi-degree alumna of UCLA.

Registration Deadline: Sept. 18, 2020
Course Capacity: 25 registrants 
Fee: $425


Infusing Growth Mindset into Your First-Year Experience

Course Date: Nov. 9-Dec. 4, 2020

Instructor: Amy Baldwin

Current research on growth mindset has exploded in the past two decades, and many student success professionals are grappling with how best to take what we know works and implement it into a first-year course or program. This course will first focus on a foundational understanding of growth mindset. Then, the course will cover opportunities to infuse growth mindset into a first-year program so participants can create a plan that provides opportunities for students to encourage, develop, or enhance these traits. Each week of the course will be centered on current research and strategies that can enhance student success. This course will encourage participants to identify where they could include growth mindset information and intervention into their first-year program.

Course Objectives

As a part of this course, participants will:

  • discuss the current research of growth mindset;
  • describe how incorporating a focus on growth mindset into the first-year can lead to long-term gain for students;
  • describe the key components of effective interventions related to growth mindset; and
  • create a plan for incorporating growth mindset into their first-year student success course or program.

Required Text:  Baldwin, A., Bunting, B., Daugherty, D., Hardman Lewis, L., & Steenbergh, T. (2020). Promoting Belonging, Growth Mindset, and Resilience to Foster Student Success. Stylus Publishing.

Amy Baldwin Headshot

Amy Baldwin

Director of Student Transitions, University of Central Arkansas

Amy Baldwin is the director of Student Transitions at the University of Central Arkansas. Her scholarship is focused on first-generation, at-risk, and first-year college students. In addition to chairing a department focused on first-year students, she also teaches composition, literacy, and student success.

Baldwin wrote the first student success book for the community college market for Pearson: The Community College Experience. She has authored and co-authored additional student success texts including The College Experience, The College Experience Compact, and The First-Generation College Experience. She is also a co-author of Promoting Belonging, Growth Mindset, and Resilience to Foster Student Success, a book published by the National Resource Center for First-Year Experience and Students in Transition. A chapter on growth mindset appeared in the summer 2019 issue of New Directions for Student Leadership: Leadership Development Through Campus Employment. She also writes on student success topics for Collegiate Parent, NBC Toolkit, and Higher Ed Parent.

Baldwin earned her bachelor's degree in English literature at Rhodes College in Memphis and a master’s degree in British literature from Washington University in St. Louis. She completed her Ed.D. from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Her previous positions include Chair of College Studies and faculty member at University of Arkansas-Pulaski Technical College. She served as the state project director for the Arkansas Complete College America (CCA) grant from 2011-2013 and is a CCA content expert for corequisite developmental courses.

Registration Deadline: Nov. 3, 2020
Course Capacity: 25 registrants 
Fee: $425

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