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Freshmen Faculty Mentoring Program

The Freshmen Faculty Mentoring Program is a pilot program designed with two key outcomes in mind:

  • Increase 1st to 2nd year retention and
  • Introduce first-year students to intellectual life in their chosen College.

We created the program to help students feel connected to the university––both socially and academically. Our main priority is to show students that intellectual work can be fun, engaging, and meaningful, and we wanted students to be able to make connections between what they do in the first years of the university and what will come later in their disciplinary coursework. We also wanted to give students key points of contact from their chosen College who could help them figure out how to navigate the transition to university life and look forward to their sophomore year and beyond.

To those ends, in Fall 2012, five faculty members from the College of Arts & Humanities were paired with five sections of UNIV 1301: Learning Frameworks, all populated with COAH majors. In addition, an upper level undergraduate student with a major/minor in a COAH field was also assigned to each section as a peer mentor. The peer mentor attended his/her assigned UNIV section daily and participated in small group discussions, sharing his/her own experiences of what it was like to transition to university life, as well as offering strategies for how to be a successful student. In addition, the peer mentors created an online community to extend the mentoring beyond class times. The faculty mentor also attended the UNIV course once a week and, along with the peer mentor, designed a special experiential learning project for students to work on over the course of the semester; each project had students doing a significant amount of primary research and sharing their results through the creation of meaningful products, many of which could be shared with new first-year students in the future. The program is designed to continue for a full year, with group activities and online mentoring continuing through the summer of the students’ first year. In Spring 2013, we expanded the pilot to include the College of Business Administration.

Participating faculty include Brian Warren (Communication), Robert Bradley (Art), Linda Matthews (Management), Abdoulaye Diallo (Rehabilitative Services), Karen Chadler (Clinical Lab Sciences), Willard Baker (PA Program), Blanca Robles (Rehabilitative Services), Matthew Atterberry (Rehabilitative Services), John Ronnau (Health Sciences & Human Services), Shawn Saladin (Health Sciences & Human Services), Hyun-Chul Lee (Physics & Geology), Christopher Vitek (Biology), George Bowe(Criminal Justice), Jason Popan(Psychology), and Stanley Gonzales (Criminal Justice).