Implementation of a First-Year Seminar: Retention and Student Views of Advising and Engagement at a Small Midwestern University
Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Teaching & Learning
The purpose of this study was to explore student perceptions of a first-year seminar course as well as academic advising and other student engagement activities before and after the implementation of a first-year seminar course at a small Midwestern university. Retention rates prior to and after the implementation of the first-year seminar course were considered and comparisons of retention rates for students who completed the first-year seminar with students who did not complete the course were analyzed.
Research questions included:
1. What were student perceptions with regard to the first-year seminar course?
2. Was there a difference in advising perceptions and reported engagement of freshmen stuo .ts a..er the implementation of the first-year seminar course?
3. Did overall retention tates rise after implementation of the first-year seminar course?
4. Was there a difference in rates of retention for students enrolled in the first- year seminar course compared to those not enrolled?
Existing data was utilized and included National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) results from freshmen during spring 2007 and spring 2009. Enrollment and retention data of freshmen, provided by the university under study, from 1993 through 2010 were reported. First-year seminar course evaluation information from fall 2008 and fall 2009 was analyzed.
Student retention increased after the first year of implementation of the first-year seminar course and fell after the second year 0f implementation. Student perceptions of adv ising were more favorable after the majority of the university incoming freshmen students participated in the first-year seminar course, which was taught by the student's academic advisor. A goal of the course was to increase student engagement, and NSSE results showed significant increases in engagement in service learning, advisor quality ratings, and perceptions that the university emphasized helping students cope with non- academic responsibilities Overall perceptions of the course itself were favorable and were analyzed using two semesters of course evaluation data.
Bitz, Kristi, "Implementation of a First-Year Seminar: Retention and Student Views of Advising and Engagement at a Small Midwestern University" (2011). Theses and Dissertations. 3792.