Charge for Special Senate Committee Assessing The First-Year Engagement Plan

Date: July 2, 2015

Andrew Ahr (
Omid Ansary (
Ann Clements (
Colleen Connolly-Ahern (
Ann W. Copeland (
Andrea Dowhower (
Yvonne Gaudelius (
Robert Loeb (
Lisa Mangel (lam26@psu.rdu)
John Marsh (
Anna Mazzucato (
Logan Starr (

From: Mohamad A. Ansari
Chair – University Faculty Senate

Subject: The Special Senate Committee Assessing First-Year Engagement Plan

The First-Year Engagement Legislative Report entitled “Report of the Ad Hoc First-Year Semi-nar Committee” was ratified by the University Faculty Senate on April 29, 2008 (attached). This report specifies that, in consultation with the Vice-President for Undergraduate Education, the University Faculty Senate:

“Will review the extent to which plans have been implemented in accordance with the provisions of this recommendation, and assess their effectiveness in achieving the stated goals based on unit assessment data.”

An implementation report from the Senate Committee on Undergraduate Education was present-ed in October 2009. That report can be found at
To fulfill the Senate’s responsibilities with regard to review and assessment, the Special Senate Committee Assessing First-Year Engagement Plan is being appointed and is charged to:

• Evaluate the extent to which University Park units have met during the 2014-15 academic year, the requirement to offer first year seminar courses a) staffed by full-time faculty, b) with sections of 25 students or fewer, and c) with academic content;
• Evaluate the extent to which first-year students at locations other than University Park may have had similar opportunities to engage with full-time faculty in class sizes of 25 or fewer, either in seminar classes or in regular course offerings;
• Survey those students for whom the 2015-2016 academic year is their second year at the uni-versity to determine their perceptions of their first-year experiences in relation to the goals and objectives of the University Faculty Senate Legislative Report on First Year Engagement Plan; and
• Request, collect, and analyze reports from all units that enroll first-year students to determine:
• What topics and activities were included in the unit’s original plan to meet the two goals and five objectives from the 2008 FYE Legislative Report and how were those goals and objectives achieved?
• What data has each unit collected and analyzed, and on what schedule, to deter-mine how fully plans have been implemented and how well implementation has fostered fulfillment of specified goals and objectives? and
• How has the unit accommodated DUS students in First Year Seminar at Universi-ty Park according to the students’ respective interest?

The Special Senate Committee Assessing First-Year Engagement Plan will be expected to present its work as follows:

• Prepare and submit for Senate Council consideration, an Informational and/or Legislative Report on implementation and data-based assessment of the 2008 FYE initiative for the University Faculty Senate plenary meeting of March 15, 2016.

Please indicate your willingness to serve on this Special Senate Committee to Nichole Schlegel ( by July 6, 2015. The University Faculty Senate will be in touch with you in the near future to schedule the charge meeting for the group.

On behalf of the University Faculty Senate, I would like to thank you for your kind consideration of this request.

CC: Nicholas P. Jones
Robert N. Pangborn
James A. Strauss