For many LaGuardia students, getting into college is easier than staying and succeeding. As colleges nationwide focus on improving completion and graduation, the first year of college has emerged as a critical juncture for building student success. To meet this challenge, LaGuardia has launched a bold innovation designed to better help first-year students succeed. The initiative is well under way, and for Fall 2015 we will offer First Year Seminar courses to approximately 85% of our entering class, including students declaring majors within Business and Technology, Health Sciences, and Natural Sciences, as well as both Liberal Arts programs (Humanities/Social Sciences and Math/Science), Criminal Justice, Psychology, and Engineering/Computer Science.
Facilitating a productive transition to the college environment, the FYS links an introduction to the major with advisement and an orientation to college learning. Seminar students explore key skills and concepts of the appropriate discipline (e.g. ”What does it mean to think like a scientist?”), and practice the habits of persistence, achievement, and self-efficacy needed for college success. Taught by discipline-based faculty and supported by advisement teams, the seminars utilize peer mentoring and the connective power of ePortfolio to advance student achievement in the first college year and beyond. The consistent use of ePortfolio and support of advisors reinforce students’ abilities to reflect on their personal and professional options, choose suitable educational plans, and strengthen self-direction.
In the FYS, discipline-based faculty partner with peer mentors to provide students with an introduction to the major, combined with advisement and an orientation to college learning. Students are introduced to key skills and concepts of the appropriate discipline (e.g. “What does it mean to think like a scientist?”), and encouraged to develop the habits needed for college success. The integration of ePortfolio practice and advisement team support both aim to strengthen students’ enduring capacities to reflect on their personal and professional choices, develop and pursue evolving educational plans, and build the skills of self-authorship.