Education First-Year Engagement Plan

Education FYE Plan (PDF)

First-Year Engagement Plan Submission Form
University Park

Submission Date: January 30, 2009
Submitted By: Jacqueline Edmondson
Title: Associate Dean
College/Unit: College of Education

Background. The First-Year Seminar legislation passed by the University Faculty Senate on April 29, 2008, requires that each University Park college and DUS submit a First-Year Engagement plan. The complete Senate legislation is available online at; parts of the legislation are reproduced in this form.

As your unit’s contact, please briefly provide the information requested below. A lengthy response is not needed if the information can be provided by checking a box, or supplying a sentence or two or a paragraph. However, if your unit’s First-Year Engagement plan does not fit the options in the form below, please contact Yvonne Gaudelius (Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education and co-chair, FYE Committee, for alternative instructions. Thank you in advance for your participation in this process.

1. First-Year Seminar characteristics. University Park colleges are required to provide at least one credit of first-year seminar. Does your first-year seminar meet the following criteria? All criteria below (a-e) must be met for the plan to fulfill the legislation.

The criterion below is followed by your College/Unit.

a. taught by tenure-line or other regular, full-time faculty members (not staff or
graduate students*) (*the college dean may grant reasonable exceptions, such as for professional practitioners who teach annually but whose appointments are not full-time)

b. taught in the student’s college of enrollment (in other words, you will provide a
FYS for all incoming students in your college)

c. taught in sections of not more than 25 students

d. academic in content, exemplifying the full weightiness and expectations of
University-level coursework (ideally satisfying General Education or other College or Major requirements, though this is not essential)

e. explicitly address the FYE goals and objectives, which are listed here:


  • Goal 1: to engage students in learning and orient them to the scholarly community from the outset of their undergraduate studies in a way that will bridge to later experiences in their chosen majors, and
  • Goal 2: to facilitate students’ adjustment to the high expectations, demanding workload, increased liberties, and other aspects of the transition to college life


  • Objective 1: to introduce students to University study
  • Objective 2: to introduce students to Penn State as an academic community, including fields of study and areas of interest available to students
  • Objective 3: to acquaint students with the learning tools and resources available at Penn State
  • Objective 4: to provide an opportunity for students to develop relationships with full-time faculty and other students in an academic area of interest to them
  • Objective 5: to introduce students to their responsibilities as part of the University community.

2. Credit requirements. How many credits does your required first-year seminar provide? Please answer 1 Credit, 2 Credits, 3 Credits, or Other (For example, different sections provide 1, 2, or 3 credits).

One (1) Credit
Three (3) Credits

The College of Education will continue to offer two sections of a 3-credit FYS as part of our summer LEAP offerings. All other FYS will be 1 credit and linked to the First Year Engagement plan described below.

3. Supplemental programming. [This question must be answered unless your unit will require all students to take a 3-credit first-year seminar. If your unit will require all students to take a 3-credit first-year seminar, this question is optional, though responding is encouraged because supplemental programming will help to make your unit’s overall first-year experience richer.]

Identify and briefly describe the additional components (other than the small-class experience) that you plan to offer, such as other courses, special advising programs, intensive orientation experiences, special programs offered by Student Affairs, etc., to meet the goals and objectives of the First-Year Engagement Plan: (Please limit your answer to 500 words or less.)

The College of Education has a first year seminar committee consisting of at least one faculty member from each of the undergraduate programs in the college. The committee will determine the experiences that will accompany the first year seminar classes based on the college and university calendar of events, first year seminar topics for the year, and in future years, results from the end of semester FYE survey.

In 2009-2010, first year students will be required to attend three events relative to the FYE goals:

1. Dean’s Ice Cream Social: This is held during the first weeks of the semester to welcome new students to the College of Education. Dean Monk, faculty, staff and administrators attend the event. Introductions to Dean Monk and the associate/assistant deans are made, and information about the college and student groups are provided.

2. Wellness Fair: The College will host a Wellness Fair to introduce new students to the services available at the university. We will invite representatives from CAPS, the alcohol awareness program, the University Learning Centers, the Office of Disability Services, and the Women’s Center, among others, to meet with students. We will ask presenters to share information specific to this particular audience of future educators.

3. Academic and Career Fair: The College will host an Academic and Career Fair to introduce students to academic aspects of the university, including the libraries, technology services, international programs, multicultural programs and others.

4. How will you accommodate DUS students? You have been provided with data showing a rolling average number of students who have moved from DUS into your academic unit in recent years; briefly indicate how you will accommodate this approximate number. (Please limit your answer to 500 words or less.)

Our DUS target for 2009-2010 is 66 students. Each of the 20 sections will have four seats reserved for DUS students.

5. Assessment plan. How will you assess the extent to which the First-Year Engagement goals and objectives are met? (Please limit your answer to 500 words or less.)

Students will complete a survey at the end of the First Year Engagement to determine whether the goals and objectives were met. The survey will be required of all students and completed at the same time as the SRTE. It will include Likert items and some open ended responses. Survey results will be evaluated by the College of Education’s first year seminar committee, and adjustments will be made accordingly for 2010-2011.

During the spring semester, we will hold focus group discussions with a sample of the students to learn more about their experiences while they were in the course. This information will help us to make decisions about course offerings in 2011-2012.