First Year Seminar
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 First Year Seminar is a 3 unit General Education (GE) Area E course where students explore the requirements and responsibilities of becoming a university educated person. There were 60 First Year Seminar course sections during fall 2012 (44 sections for non-EOP students and 16 sections for EOP students), housed in 16 departments and every college on campus. These sections served 1330 freshmen, which was 42% of the entering freshman class.
Of the 60 First Year Seminar sections offered in fall 2012, 48 were paired with at least one other course in a Learning Community, and 12 sections were "stand alone" (i.e. not paired with another course in a learning community). Of the 35 Learning Communities offered in fall 2012, 28 were a first year seminar paired with another course or courses, and 7 learning communities did not contain a first year seminar course (e.g. English 1A and Theater 5). Therefore the total number of freshmen students served in fall 2012 was 1,496, or 47% of the entering freshman class.
Each First Year Seminar course shares the following characteristics:
- Small class sizes (capped at 25; lower cap for certain sections) to meet the needs of incoming first year students
- Common course reader compiled specifically for the Sac State course, common class activities, assignments, and assessments, aligned with Baccalaureate Learning Goals and GE Area E requirements
- Support for faculty to implement effective curricular activities (assignment descriptions, guest speaker lists, assessments, rubrics, all available online on SacCT/Blackboard)
- Opportunities for faculty professional development around teaching, learning and FYE programmatic research through an annual Convocation, annual curriculum workshop, and periodic faculty interest groups
- Support for embedding co-curricular activities (funding, coordination)
- Taught by both faculty and student affairs professionals, indicating the collaborative cross-divisional nature of the program
- Students learn how to access academic & personal support resources