First-Year Seminars and Experiences
First-year seminars have been found to increase student persistence and retention, with the work of George Kuh (2006) and the AAC&U LEAP report revealing the characteristics of the highest quality first-year experiences (characteristics bolded for emphasis): Many schools now build into the curriculum first-year seminars or other programs that bring small groups of students together with faculty or staff on a regular basis. The highest-quality first-year experiences place a strong emphasis on critical inquiry, frequent writing, information literacy, collaborative learning, and other skills that develop students’ intellectual and practical competencies. First-year seminars can also involve students with cutting-edge questions in scholarship and with faculty members’ own research.
In Five High-Impact Practices: Research on Learning Outcomes, Completion, and Quality, Swaner & Brownell (AAC&U, 2010) found that the following outcomes can be attributed to students’ participation in first-year seminars as high-impact practices:
- Higher persistence rates,
- Higher graduation rates,
- Short-term positive effects on grade point averages,
- Gains in commitment to social justice/multicultural awareness,
- Greater academic and campus engagement, and
- Greater faculty and peer interaction.
First-Year Seminars and Experiences at UNCG
The following UNCG courses are specially designed to support first-year students, with more than two-thirds of first-year UNCG students participating in at least one of these courses annually:
- ART 105: Foundations Seminar
- BIO 100: Orientation to the BIO Major
- BUS 115: Blueprint for Personal Development
- FYE 101: Succeed at the G
- HHS 125: Design Your Life I: What Could I Do with My Life?
- HHS 135: Design Your Life II: Redesign a Life You Love
- HSS 198: Honors Colloquium
- RCO 155: Rhetoric of the College Self
Additionally, General Education courses offered within the course shells of the College of Arts & Sciences Freshman Seminars Program (FMS), the Honors College (HSS), and the Residential Colleges (RCO) deliver academic content scaffolded for students early in their academic careers.