Academic Learning Collaboratives
The mission of the First Year Experience Program (FYE) at Sacramento State is to improve the retention and graduation rates of native students, a goal that is directly aligned with the CSU systemwide Graduation Initiative. FYE consists of 1) the First Year Seminar course, University Learning Community course "clusters", and the Academic Learning Collaboratives, interdisciplinary team-taught block scheduled GE course clusters; 2) co-curricular activities embedded in the courses, that are designed to increase student engagement with the campus, community, faculty, and peers; and 3) Peer Mentors who attend courses with first year students, and provide personal, academic, and advising support.
The Academic Learning Collaboratives (ALCs) are a suite of two or three approved GE courses that are capped at 120-150. ALC proposals must satisfy the following criteria:
- Address a collaborative theme (see below) or provide a rationale for another theme
- Include a suite of 3 Certified GE Lower Division Courses taught by 3 Faculty
- Include a statement of agreement describing how the 3 faculty will work collaboratively to design, implement, and evaluate the ALC
- Incorporate one or more of the Interdisciplinary Core Experiences (Leadership; Service in and Engagement with Community; Information Literacy, including Research with Faculty)
- Map opportunities for students to develop the Baccalaureate Learning Goals
- Include an assessment plan and methodology
Originally part of a Compass I grant, the ALC pilot is completing its second year. In year 1, we offered two Academic Learning Collaboratives in the fall and served nearly 200 additional first year students; in the spring, we offered one ALC and served 130 additional first year students. In year 2, we served an additional 140 students in the fall but had a smaller cohort of 30 in the spring. Themes have included: “Living the Good Life” (PHIL, RPTA and EDTE); “Running in the Family” (ENGL, ETHN, and FACS); and “Made in America” (PHIL, HIST, and ANTH). Peer support was also made available to all ALC students. Part of the research involved in this pilot is predicated on the question of whether one can scale up recognized components of First Year Success programs to provide access to a greater number of students without sacrificing success.