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First Year Experience (FYE) programs are a best practice in higher education to assist students with the transition to college and to create a sense of belongingness to the campus community. Upon the recommendation of the Retention Committee to the Senior Leadership Team, an ad-hoc working group was formed this semester in partnership with faculty senate representatives to explore a pilot FYE program. A FYE will likely be even more important this upcoming academic year to address the effects of the pandemic on the student experience over the last year and half and to address both educational and support inequity among our students.

We foresee a one-credit FYE pilot course being offered to first year students this coming fall. This course would not be required. Instead, we anticipate that students would be strongly encouraged to enroll during their freshman class selection process this summer, though some students whose programs already include a similar experience would register for that instead. The goals of this program are to improve academic success and retention by ensuring our students have the opportunity to develop expected college-level academic skills and strategies, reinforce the resources available on campus, develop connections to the college and build community on campus.

We invite you to join us in learning more and providing your input on the preliminary plan for a pilot FYE for fall 2021 by attending one of our informational sessions. If neither of the below times work for you and you are interested in learning more, feel free to reach out to us and we can schedule a time to meet.

We are grateful for your continued support of student success at Canisius!

FYE working group:

  • Debra Burhans, associate professor, Computer Science; faculty senate representative
  • Tom Chambers, dean, College of Arts and Sciences
  • Jen Desiderio, associate professor, English; faculty senate representative
  • Kathleen Farley, associate dean of Students
  • Mark Harrington, assistant VP for Student Success; director, Higher Education and Student Affairs Administration (HESAA); assistant professor, Graduate Education and Leadership
  • Mark Hodin, professor, English; faculty senate representative
  • Dennis Koch, associate professor, Kinesiology; director, Professional Studies; faculty senate representative
  • Jenn Lodi-Smith, assistant VP, Academic Affairs; associate professor, Psychology
  • Dyanna Moreira, student engagement coordinator, Student Affairs
  • Joe O’Donnell, professor, Accounting
  • Graham Stowe, assistant professor, English; director, Writing Center

Submitted by: Mark Harrington, EdD, assistant vice president for Student Success; director, HESAA; assistant professor, Graduate Education and Leadership