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Midwest First-Year Conference

Friday, September 23, 2016



SESSION A
10:30–11:20 a.m.
Illinois Room Lincoln Room Heritage Room HSC Room 305 HSC Room 306
Session 1A:

Examining First-Year Seminars as a High-Impact Practice

Dr. Jennifer Keup
University of South Carolina
Session 2A:

How Personalizing the Orientation Experience Increased Student Satisfaction and Retention

Kristina Henderson & Chuck Steele
College of DuPage
Session 3A:

Improving First-Year Courses through Course Review

Kevin Clark &
Megan Dial
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Session 4A:

Inclusivit-T*: Incorporating Inclusive Practices For Trans* Identified First-Year Students

Dr. Katy Jaekal & Annie Ziga
Northern Illinois University
Session 5A:

#PlanningYourPlatform – Engaging Targeted Student Populations through Social Media

Jade Perry & Andrea Arzuaga
DePaul University
 
SESSION B
11:30 a.m. to 12:20 p.m.
Illinois Room Lincoln Room Heritage Room HSC Room 305 HSC Room 306
Session 1B:

Bridging the Skills Gap From College Success to Completion

Diego Baez & Maggie Ayala
Harry S. Truman College
Session 2B:

Applying Universal Design for Learning to Higher Education: Breaking Down the Barriers Faced by Students with Disabilities

Erin Wilhelm & Laura Korth
Northern Illinois University
Session 3B:

Seeking Meaning: Integrating the Why in Working with First-Year Students on Academic Probation

Annie Kelly & Betsi Burns
Loyola University Chicago
Session 4B:

Moving Beyond Rainbows: Advising First-Year LGBTQ Students
Joshua Fletcher
University of Illinois at Chicago
Session 5B:

Talk Data to Me: Using Data Trends to Inform Student Outreach Initiatives
Brian Berchtold, Dana Gautcher, & Randi Napientek
Northern Illinois University
 
SESSION C
2:20 to 3:10 p.m.
Illinois Room Lincoln Room Heritage Room HSC Room 305 HSC Room 306
Session 1C:

Undocumented Students’ Educational Experiences and their Socio-emotional Health

Dra. Aurora Chang
Loyola University Chicago
Session 2C:

Everyone Has a Story: Bringing the Human Library to Your Campus

Emily Vigneri, Amelia Noel-Elkins, & Pamm Ambrose
Illinois State University
Session 3C:

Mentoring Mentors: Supporting First-Year Seminar Peer Mentors Outside of the Classroom

Shelley Mass & Annie Ziga
Northern Illinois University
Session 4C:

Educational Innovation – Arrupe College of Loyola University Chicago

Isabel Reyes & Farrah Ellison-Moore
Loyola University Chicago
Session 5C:

Bring the Awesome Sauce! Make Your Course One to Remember

Brad Garner
Indiana Wesleyan University
 

SESSION A    10:30–11:20 a.m.

Examining First-Year Seminars as a High-Impact Practice

Jennifer R. Keup, National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition at the University of South Carolina

First-year seminars (FYS) have gained a strong foothold in American higher education and are commonly used to enhance the transition, learning, and educational outcomes for new college students. Further, AAC&U identified first-year seminars as one of ten “high-impact practices” (HIPs) that represent key interventions to enhance student progress toward 21st century outcomes. Yet, as with all HIPs, first-year seminars will only reach their full potential if they are developed and implemented with an eye toward "the necessary quality dimensions that foster student accomplishment" (Kuh & O'Donnell, 2013, pp. 7-8). More specifically, the efficacy of HIPs, including first-year seminars, must be evaluated based upon their ability to (1) set high performance expectations, (2) create an investment of time and energy, (3) include meaningful interaction with faculty and peers, (4) expose participants to diversity, (5) provide frequent, timely, and meaningful feedback, (6) demand reflection and integrated learning, (7) have real-world relevance and application, and (8) require students to demonstrate competence (Kuh & O’Connell, 2013). Drawing from national data and the voluminous body of scholarship and best-practice literature on first-year seminars, this session will investigate the efficacy of first-year seminars with respect to these eight dimensions. (back to top)

How Personalizing the Orientation Experience Increased Student Satisfaction and Retention

Kristina Henderson, Coordinator of Student Life, College of DuPage
Chuck Steele, Manager, Student Life, College of DuPage

In 2011 College of DuPage piloted a completely restructured New Student Orientation (NSO) program to welcome 874 incoming first-time students. The program shifted away from ongoing advising/registration sessions towards a campus-wide collaborative approach focused on allowing students to customize their experience in a single day format. From 2011-2016 over 6,600 students have attended NSO. The program has contributed to increased term-to-term student retention by 16% compared to the general population. The program has a 92% average satisfaction rate. We will share our journey to this format, strategies for developing partnerships, orientation leader program development, assessment tools, and retention/satisfaction data. (back to top)

Improving First-Year Courses through Course Review

Kevin Clarke, Assistant Director of Academic Engagement, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Megan Dial, Coordinator of Academic Engagement, University of Wisconsin-Madison

This session will outline the steps of implementing a course review process. While it will focus on first-year seminars, the content will be relevant to other courses at a variety of institutions. The facilitators will draw from scholarship on course review (institutional websites), learning outcomes and course level assessment (Suskie, 2009; Maki, 2004; and Friedman, 2012) and backwards design (Wiggins & McTighe, 2005) to help participants consider how they can best approach the course review process. Specific examples will be used from the 2015-16 course review process for University 101 at the University of South Carolina, and the 2015-16 course review process for the Wisconsin Experience Seminar at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. This will be an engaging session that will include opportunities for questions, discussion, idea sharing, reflection, and planning. Participants will walk away with planning worksheets to assist them in their strategizing and course review processes. (back to top)

Inclusivit-T*: Incorporating Inclusive Practices for Trans* Identified First-Year Students

Dr. Katy Jaekel, Assistant Professor, Department of Counseling , Adult and Higher Education, Northern Illinois University
Annie Ziga, Graduate Assistant, First- and Second-Year Experience, Northern Illinois University

With recent attention on transgender and gender queer bodies and identities (demarcated here as trans* for inclusivity), very few empirical studies exist in detailing how to best serve these students from a student affairs perspective (Bilodeau, 2005; Marine, 2011; Nicolazzo, 2015).  Thus, this session details how student affairs professionals can better serve first-year trans* students and help them navigate their college experience.  Specifically, this session will utilize practical steps and strategies to help participants assess the inclusivity of their programs and services offered. Participants will learn about potential promising practices to help create more inclusive communities for trans* students. (back to top)

#PlanningYourPlatform – Engaging Targeted Student Populations through Social Media

Jade Perry, DePaul University
Andrea Arzugaga, DePaul University

This session is highly recommended for professionals, offices, and / or departments looking into the potential of engaging first year students through a social media presence! In this session, we will discuss how to craft a social media plan, considerations for your office’s overall communication plan, platform “trolls & trials”, and the best practices / outcomes we’ve gained in the past few years! This session will not just be a lecture or a how-to, but will encourage the feedback of its participants as we seek new ways of engaging first year, first gen students, and students of color! This session also serves as a Part II for the #Engage 2015 session. (back to top)

SESSION B    11:30–12:20 p.m.

Bridging the Skills Gap from College Success to Completion

Diego Baez, College Success, Harry S Truman College
Maggie Ayala, College Success, Harry S Truman College

In College Success, the first-year seminar (FYS) offered at Harry S Truman College, students prepare to meet the expectations of higher education by learning to negotiate classroom dynamics, to seek out support services on campus, and to explore academic and professional careers. But faculty who teach students in their second and third semesters often experience challenges when students lack the necessary skills for academic success. In this interactive session, participants will discuss the most important skills, traits, or experiences that prepare students to succeed in their classes. Participants will learn how College Success introduces students to academic success skills, and will reflect on their own methods for reinforcing these skills. The presenters will provide sample activities for teaching academic success skills, like note-taking, tech literacy, and time management. Designed primarily for faculty as well as First-Year program directors, the goal of this session will be for participants to incorporate these reinforcement activities and to engage in dialogue with FYS colleagues at their respective campuses. (back to top)

Applying Universal Design for Learning to Higher Education: Breaking Down the Barriers Faced by Students with Disabilities

Erin Wilhelm, Graduate Student, Research Assistant, Northern Illinois University
Laura Korth, Graduate Student, Northern Illinois University

Although higher education institutions have made great strides in meeting equal access to education requirements for persons with disabilities, institutions must also devote equal attention to the barriers students are encountering once they arrive on campus (Schelly et al., 2011). Accommodations need to be built into the classroom environment, curriculum, and university procedures (Black et al., 2015). This process will help alleviate the scope of barriers encountered by students with disabilities and help first year students transition and persist in higher education. Universal Design for Learning (UDL), at its core, is a set of principles geared toward removing barriers toward learning by making learning tools, the learning environment, and the student support services arena accessible and inclusive for the greatest number of students (Burgstahler, 2008; Izzo, Murray, & Novak, 2008). Utilizing multiple methods through which to relay classroom content and providing diverse opportunities for online communication are just two examples of UDL strategies in action. This session details the impact of UDL's application and UDL best practices within the realm of higher education. (back to top)

Seeking Meaning: Integrating the Why in Working with First-Year Students on Academic Probation

Annie Kelly, Academic Advisors, First and Second Year Advising, Loyola University Chicago
Betsi Burns, Director, Learning Support and Academic Success, Loyola University Chicago

Best practices on working with first-year students on academic probation can involve identifying and implementing metacognition strategies, goal setting, and enhancing study skills, but too often we neglect to draw students to the why of their education and connect academic probation support structures to institutional mission and values. The session will overview both research and best practices on providing a strengths based framework for supporting students on probation, as well as examples on how to integrate institutional mission and values and campus partnerships to cultivate student belonging and connectedness to the university to further student success. (back to top)

Moving Beyond Rainbows: Advising First-Year LGBTQ Students

Joshua Fletcher, Academic Advisor, University of Illinois at Chicago

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer students face unique challenges in their matriculation to post-secondary education. Academic advisors and higher education professionals can serve an important role in fostering inclusion, support, and success among this underserved population. Framed in a social justice and multiple identities framework, the session will provide both a theoretical overview of the experiences of LGBTQ students on-campus, while offering practical steps in expanding inclusive advising. (back to top)

Talk Data to Me: Using Data Trends to Inform Student Outreach Initiatives

Brian Berchtold, Educational Program Evaluation Coordinator, Office of Student Academic Success, Northern Illinois University
Dana Gautcher, Director, Office of Student Academic Success, Northern Illinois University
Randi Napientek, Assistant Director, Office of Student Academic Success, Northern Illinois University

Campuses employ a variety of methods for conducting outreach to students. Some could be modeled from what worked at other universities or community colleges, while others could be as a result of committee recommendations for what they think would work. The Office of Student Academic Success (OSAS) at Northern Illinois University coordinates and conducts multiple outreach programs each academic school year. These include, but are not limited to: early alert programs, non-enrollment outreach, workshop programming, and outreach using risk factors as identified by predictive modeling.  Within the past year, OSAS has started to use more strategic methods for identifying students for outreach using data trends. We have noticed degrees of success in using data driven methods with increased impacts on specific student populations. The goal of this presentation is to share our successes and our failures in using data-driven outreach strategies, how you can use your own trends to improve your campus's outreach for students, and assessment methodology that you can employ to measure success of outreach programs. While OSAS performs outreach to a wide variety of students, focus will be on first year student outreach initiatives, and challenges that arise when evaluating programs aimed at first year student success. (back to top)

SESSION C    2:20–3:20 p.m.

Undocumented Students’ Educational Experiences and their Socio-emotional Health

Dra. Aurora Chang, Assistant Professor, Teaching and Learning, Loyola University Chicago

This introductory presentation will address the educational experiences of undocumented students and the socio-emotional impacts of their educational journeys.  Participants will apply introductory knowledge of the demographics, general needs and educational experiences of undocumented students in Chicago and within the larger United States; discuss the issues of undocumented students who are experiencing socio-emotional challenges, based on empirical research findings and engage in a reflective analysis of this discussion; and work collaboratively with their colleagues within the session to brainstorm, develop and make plans to implement effective strategies to work with undocumented students – all as they pertain to their specific professional contexts.(back to top)

Everyone Has a Story: Bringing the Human Library to Your Campus

Emily Vigneri, Coordinator of First Year Experience, Illinois State University
Amelia Noel-Elkins, Director of University College, Illinois State University
Pamm Ambrose, Associate Director of University College, Illinois State University

Have you ever been to a library where all of the books are living, breathing, and interactive? If not, consider attending this session, as we will introduce you to the concept of a Human Library, where all the books are real people! "Books" are individuals willing to share their own personal stories of life, perseverance and adversity with interested "readers", in an effort to help promote acceptance, encourage meaningful dialogue and dispel stereotypes/myths regarding various facets of human identity. In 2014, Illinois State University coordinated its first Human Library as part of the Learning in Communities (LinC) seminar for first-year students. Students who attended described the Human Library as incredible, inspiring, life-changing, and very moving. Attend this session to learn about the history and purpose of the Human Library (an international social justice movement) as well as hear about the results our Human Library events, our successes and our lessons learned. (back to top)

Mentoring Mentors: Supporting First-Year Seminar Peer Mentors Outside of the Classroom

Shelley Mass, Program Advisor, First-and Second-Year Experience, Northern Illinois University
Annie Ziga, Graduate Assistant, First-and Second-Year Experience, Northern Illinois University

What does it mean to support peer mentors? After many years of assessing the peer mentor program within the first-year seminar course at Northern Illinois University, First- and Second-Year Experience has determined that their peer mentors are in need of a more hands-on approach to support. This session will introduce a three-tiered support system designed for peer mentors in first-year seminar courses. Presenters will discuss the details of their current program that assists peer mentors in gaining professional development skills through reflection, skill building, teamwork, communication, and collaboration. (back to top)

Educational Innovation – Arrupe College of Loyola University Chicago

Isabelle Reyes, Assistant Director of Admission, Arrupe College (Loyola University Chicago)
Farrah Ellison-Moore, Student Counselor & Career Coordinator, Arrupe College (Loyola University Chicago)

Arrupe College opened its doors in August 2015 and is a new 2-year program for motivated students with limited financial resources to start their college career. Arrupe College is a program which offers wrap-around supports to ensure academic progress and a pathway to a bachelor’s degree or employment. This session will share Arrupe’s program structure and will highlight the career services offered to students. (back to top)

Bring the Awesome Sauce! Make Your Course One to Remember

Brad Garner, Director of Faculty Enrichment in the Center for Learning and Innovation, Indiana Wesleyan University

Please note: The term "awesome sauce" is now in the dictionary! This session will provide participants with an abundance of interactive tools and strategies that can be easily transported into the classroom. These strategies can be used to enliven classroom learning, help students connect with one another and course content, and include techniques for in-class and out-of-class learning. Do you want to make your first-year course an experience to remember...then you need to attend this session. Participants will also receive a digital resource with step-by-step directions for all presented activities. (back to top)