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Project Title:First-Year Experience ProgramInstitution Name:York College, City University of New York Innovation Category:Student Success Project Director:Thomas Gibson, Associate Dean of Student DevelopmentContact Information:(718) 262-2415, tgibson@york.cuny.eduWebsite:http://www.york.cuny.edu/fye
Project Description:The First-Year Experience (FYE) Program is a comprehensive program of academic and co-curricular activities started in Fall 2010 to assist in promoting the successful transition, achievement, and retention of first-year students to college life at York. The program was initiated as part of the college’s continuing efforts to improve the institution and provide the small-college experience to students.  The FYE program was developed by a multi-constituency committee.  Once implemented, the committee assumed an advisory role to ensure that broad institutional representation and responsibility remained in place.  A small investment of 10k was allocated to the FYE Program to support the purchase of the Freshman Reader books and related necessities.   The program components include Freshman Advisement, The Freshman Reader,  First-Year Student Orientation, Week of Welcome (WOW)/Spirit Week, Convocation, First Year Seminar/SD110, Early-Alert System (Cardinal Pulse), Civic Engagement (Jumpstart), Mentoring, and “The Freshman Pledge.”
Objectives:

·         To improve retention and graduation rates of first-time freshman students.

·         To provide first-year students with a shared academic experience and to introduce them into an educational community where intellectual engagement is fostered and valued.

·         To connect students to campus support services to ensure their academic success at the college.

·         To deepen student learning, while increasing students’ level of community engagement and responsibility.

Outcomes:

·         The Fall 2010 first-time freshman cohort one- and two-year retention rates, as well as four- and six-year graduation rates, will be compared to earlier cohorts.

·         Several surveys will be implemented to gather data on student satisfaction with the college, including NSSE, CUNY student experience survey, and a college-developed student engagement instrument.

·         Expected outcomes include improved first-year student one year retention rates (fall to fall) and increased satisfaction with college student services.

Challenges/Problems Encountered:One of the main challenges in implementing the FYE program was to help students understand that this was not extra work, but instead designed to help improve their experience at the college and succeed academically. Several flyers and brochures were created to attract student awareness and buy-in of the program.
Evaluation Approach:As mentioned above, the college and the university system (CUNY) administers surveys on a regular basis to gather student experiences with services on campus. The Office of Institutional Research & Assessment helps design the instruments and provide necessary analysis and reporting to interested groups.
Potential for Replication:This program is readily replicable since it was developed from rebranded and refocused programs and services that already existed on campus.  However, they were not meaningfully connected to students. The development and implementation of the FYE program was initially done by a committee.  Because of the success of the FYE Program, the college is committed to supporting a full-time position to ensure its continued success.
CEO-to-CEO Contact:Marcia V. Keizs , Presidentmkeizs@york.cuny.edu
(718) 262-2350
Date Published: Friday, April 29, 2011Date Revised: Thursday, April 12, 2012