FYE is redesigned to meet new students’ needs

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Guilford College faculty and staff are in the process of redesigning the College’s First Year Experience and First Year Seminar programs to better reflect the ever-changing needs of Guilford students.

The FYE and FYS programs are intended to orient first-year students to Guilford through exposure to campus and academic services, as well as through offering opportunities to meet new people. The program is being redesigned to increase emphasis on academic and professional skills.

Members of Guilford faculty and staff convened this past summer to research and plan for the project, which the College plans to debut in the fall of 2018.

The redesigned courses will include project-based and collaborative learning.

“We wanted to make (the programs) more interactive and more collaborative,” said Mika Davis, co-leader of the redesign team and digital pedagogy and scholarship technologist.

Davis and other members of the redesign team wanted to create a program that would help students succeed in college and in their careers.

“One thing we do know is that the jobs (of the future) will be collaborative in nature,” said Davis. “That’s what we wanted to do, to not only make our students college ready, but career ready.”

Collaborative learning requires participation from instructors as well as their students.

“The great thing about collaborative learning is that it’s not just for students. The instructors will share resources,” Davis said. “We’re constantly talking, we’re working together.”

Davis works together with other instructors by incorporating lessons from the students’ FYS class into her own FYE class.

“If (the FYS instructor is) talking about integrity, then I make sure to mention that in my class,” Davis said. “It’s working collaboratively to support the other people on campus.”

In the original FYE and FYS programs, collaborative learning was less emphasized than in the new program. And, this isn’t the only difference between the two programs.

“(The program) was (originally) a transition course from high school to college, but now it will be a transition to Guilford and (will) be tailored to it,” said FYE instructor Ja’lessa Morris.

Morris believes that the FYE program is beneficial for students.

“FYE gave me a chance to connect with my students … and they get to connect with each other,” Morris said.

Davis noted that making connections was a key goal of the program redesign.

“(The redesign is meant) to show students that they have a support base here.” Davis said.

Creating a support base reflects Guilford’s commitment to community and helps students integrate into college life.

“It helps them figure out what part they want to play in the Guilford community and ask themselves ‘How am I going to contribute back into the community?” said Morris.

One way that the programs will allow students to find their role in the Guilford community is by connecting students with professors. In order to benefit the students and professors, Guilford will open dialogues to discuss how the programs can be improved.

“We’re still ensuring that we’re having conversations with the community … we have open forums … we have representatives and teams that help us decide how we can fine tune it and make it better,” said Davis. “We want everyone to have the opportunity to comment. The idea is to make sure that we have a program that meets students’ needs.”

Senior Anna Kelly was impressed with the plans and thinks the new design will meet the needs of students.

“I like the idea of linking them to upper level faculty and programs,” said Kelly. “I think in five years it will be a cool … innovative program. We’re seeing the first steps now.”

With this program redesign, Guilford seeks to improve the student experience and to better meet the needs of its students.