Oregon State University

First Year Experience Faculty Learning Community

The Center for Teaching and Learning is pleased to announce an opportunity to participate in a faculty learning community (FLC) during winter and spring terms for faculty who teach first-year courses in their discipline, such as "Introduction to the major in X" and similar courses. Made possible thanks to a partnership between Academic Affairs and OSU Academic Deans, the FLC is a response to the renewed institutional commitment to student success and the far-reaching scope of the First-Year Initiative implementation. Combining scholarship with practice, the FLC will enable OSU faculty concerned with First-Year education to connect with other faculty across campus, both to communicate about effective strategies and to invent, compare, and assess their efforts.

Scholarship has shown that first-year students benefit from so-called "first year courses" and introductory or orientation courses when those courses accomplish 2 objectives: 1) the courses orient students to the discipline by having them work on authentic tasks characteristic of those in the discipline, and 2) the courses incorporate development of effective study skills and academic expectations into course content and assignments. Designing a course that accomplishes these two objectives is complex and takes time. Also crucial—and complex--is the task of developing activities and learning experiences that give first-year students practice in the discipline and are pitched at the appropriate level of difficulty. Not less important is the ability to connect the introduction to the discipline course to the overall course trajectory of the major: what students learn in that course should align with and prepare them for their progress to degree. The First-Year Course FLC is aimed at helping faculty address these challenges and thereby enhance student learning in "introduction to the major" courses.

In a series of five sessions facilitated by Robin Pappas, Center for Teaching and Learning, and Mark Hoffman, PHHS Associate Dean of Undergraduate Programs, the First-Year Course FLC will enable faculty to dedicate time to learn effective pedagogical models and to develop strategies for adapting those models to meet the needs of their respective courses. FLC participants will read scholarship about effective practices in designing and delivering first-year courses, reflect on strengths and challenges associated with integrating those practices into the current scheme of their courses, and complete assignments  in which they explore strategies for adapting their courses to incorporate effective practices. Upon conclusion of the FLC, Robin and Mark will serve in a consulting capacity to assist participants in translating their learning into concrete changes to be implemented in future versions of their courses, with the hope that some could begin to be implemented as soon as Fall 2014.

Participants who attend all five sessions and produce the associated projects will receive a faculty development stipend of $2000, the funding being a result of the joint effort of Academic Affairs and the OSU Academic Deans. Please email nominations to Robin Pappas by November 15. Robin and Mark will contact nominees to confirm their place in the FLC and to provide a preliminary schedule by December 2, 2013.

Contact Info

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Center for Teaching and Learning

419 LInC (Learning Innovation Center

165 SW Sackett Place

Tel: 541-737-2816

Fax: 541-737-2812