Re-Imagining the First Year of College

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Full Proposal (PDF)

Initial List of Success Strategies (PDF)

Definition of Success and Scope (PDF)

Draft Full Plan (PDF)

"Re-Imagining the First Year of College" is the most ambitious initiative in the history of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU). In partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and USA Funds, AASCU calls on us not simply to improve retention, persistence, and graduation rates, but to tackle the entire "system" surrounding the first year.

This means reexamining our outreach and recruitment efforts, orientation programs, incoming career and course registration advising sessions, the first 30 credit hours of coursework, coaching and intervention strategies, and student conduct and academic policies. Our efforts here will be fully in line with the university's strategic plan.

The goal is to engage in reform efforts that better prepare students for advanced LA&S courses and work in their majors or professional programs. It is an exciting initiative, because there are so many proven practices that produce results, and we have the opportunity to advance student success in ways that are deep, lasting, and meaningful.

Two notes on the scope of the project. First, AASCU asks that we make at least one substantive change in each of four "areas of focus": institutional intentionality, the curriculum, faculty/staff, and students. This means we move right to scale.

And, second, it means being intentional and targeted in our reforms, not simply adding new work on top of old, and therefore indulging in what David Yeager calls "solutionitis," or "inflammation of solutions."

From the moment we have contact with potential students, we need to be focused on student success. It's on us.

Project Timeline

4-6 February, 2016 Kickoff at the AASCU Academic Affairs Winter Meeting
11 March, 2016 Description of strategy selected in each area of focus due
15 April, 2016 Definition of success and scope due
13 May, 2016 Metrics and resources due
10 June, 2016 Final implementation plan due
June, 2016 External review of implementation plan
November, 2016 Update and further review of implementation plan for Spring, 2017
January, 2017 Progression metrics due
Summer, 2017 Review and update of implementation plan for Fall, 2017
December, 2018 Conclusion of the first round of the RFY

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