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 University Learning Community (LCOM) Program consists of theme based clusters of two or three courses in which a cohort of 25 freshmen concurrently enroll during their first semester at Sacramento State. Some communities have a GE focus while others focus on course clusters targeted toward specific majors such as Nursing, Business, or the sciences. There were 35 learning communities in fall 2012, housed in 22 departments and every college on campus. These course combinations served 1263 freshmen, which was 40% 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 Learning Community faculty receives the same support as the First Year Seminar faculty to implement co-curricular activities and participate in professional development; each Learning Community also has a Peer Mentor assigned to provide support for students.