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FYE Conference

Focusing on the First Year Sessions

The Focusing on the First Year Conference will look a little different this year: Instead of a one-day event, we're going to spread the conversation on helping students in their first year across a series of virtual sessions this spring.

You're welcome to attend all sessions that interest you, but separate registration is required for each session. Review the session schedule below, then register to attend.

Session schedule

Wednesday, February 3, at 11:30 a.m.

Supporting students and staff during COVID-19: Considerations for first-generation, low-income students and support staff
Chila A. Thomas | Office of Diversity and Inclusion, Young Scholars Program
Armada M. Henderson | Office of Diversity and Inclusion, Young Scholars Program
As practitioners working with first-generation, low-income students, staff in the Young Scholars Program are keenly aware of students' transitional needs from high school to college and the support services available to mitigate student barriers to success. However, students' needs have shifted as COVID-19 has presented unexpected personal, academic and institutional barriers that especially affect the YSP student population. In this session, we'll discuss the ongoing impact of COVID-19 on first-year students, and share what we've learned during the pandemic, including the adjustments we've made to support YSP students and staff and some special considerations for incoming students.

Wednesday, February 10, at 11:30 a.m.

Fostering an inclusive online environment
Sarah Holt | Office of Distance Education and eLearning
Tawana Washington | Office of Distance Education and eLearning
What is inclusive teaching, and why does it matter for the online spaces where our students engage with us and with each other? In this session, we'll examine inclusive environments and explore the ways we can use CarmenCanvas to create them. Specifically, we'll discuss ways to improve online discussions, to set expectations for respectful dialogue, to create opportunities for metacognition and reflection, to provide accessible and representative material, and to generally be a supportive instructor online. We'll also allow time for participants to discuss particular strategies and ideas with one another.

Wednesday, February 17, at 11:30 a.m.

Expanding classroom diversity to "invisible" populations
Shed Siliman | Michael V. Drake Institute for Teaching and Learning
Many minority statuses are often unacknowledged — for example, students experiencing homelessness, food insecurity, or violence, and students who are undocumented or part of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program are often "invisible." In this session, we'll discuss the needs of such "invisible" students and the challenges they often face, and we'll cover strategies for supporting them.

Wednesday, February 24, at 11:30 a.m.

Predicting academic success: Digging below the surface in the first year
Gary Kennedy | Office of Student Academic Success, Analysis and Reporting
We know that first-year students come to the university with different skill sets, ways of learning and self-regulatory abilities. Despite this, however, certain characteristics tend to be used to create speciously homogenous categories of first-year students; this is especially true of students arbitrarily categorized as 'special populations' (e.g., first-generation, low-income, and under-represented minority students). Though these groups are often treated as homogeneous, there is some intra-group heterogeneity, and classifying students in this way fails to account for the variability in academic success we see across the entire first-year student population. In this session, we'll review how analysis using first-year students' grades from their first two semesters as indicators of success profiles can account for such heterogeneity. Specifically, we'll show that accounting for variability in this way allows for greater precision in the prediction of a student's likelihood of graduating than does using common surface labels.

Wednesday, March 3, at 11:30 a.m.

First Year Experience data information session
Eric Jaburek, First Year Experience
Join FYE to learn more about what data we collect, how we collect it – and how you can access it! We'll provide an overview of how we use this data now and share our hopes for future collaboration with campus partners.