First Year Experience (FYE) - Spring 2006 Survey Results
For Spring 2006 fewer (only 13.2%) of the FYE students responded to the surveys, but more than 3/4 (78.1%) of FYE faculty responded. The results of these surveys are compared to those from the Fall 2005 FYE semester.
- More students (49.5% vs. 45.6%), but fewer faculty (77.0% vs. 81.5%) read Fast Food Nation prior to the beginning of the semester. Although only somewhat fewer faculty (42.3% vs. 48.5%) reported using Fast Food Nation in their Spring classes, FYE students reported considerably less use (30.7% vs. 48.6%).
- Outcome: To enhance the use of the summer reading, the selection for Summer 2006 was decided early, rather than late as had been the case for the previous year. Campuswide balloting during February 2006 was used to increase input opportunity, with students, faculty, and staff all recommending Class Matters. Books were ordered early and Faculty Development activities for its classroom incorporation began during Spring 2006. Students will receive their copies during summer registration/orientation.
Class Choice (41 courses + 75 professors = 98 options)
- Although there were fewer total options for students during Spring semester (98 vs. 112), there was actually an increase in classes (41 vs. 36) and the same number (75) of different professors, including 29.2% of faculty who had not taught an FYE class. More students (84.5% vs. 82.0%) were able to take an FYE class they thought they would be interested in and more students (65.3% vs. 62.6%), though slightly fewer faculty (53.5% vs. 54.3%) found their FYE class to be even more interesting than originally expected.
- Outcome: Western will continue its approach of providing a wide range of FYE courses to choose from, while considering cross-disciplinary development of others, in conjunction with identifying faculty most enthusiastic about the opportunity of teaching FYE classes.
Size of Class
- The emphasis on small FYE classes sizes continued, with just slightly fewer students (89.3% vs. 89.7%) and even more faculty (95.8% vs. 89.5%) of faculty reporting that their FYE class was smaller than their other WIU classes. Small size combined with greater in and out-of-class interaction resulted in students and faculty getting to know each other better, though not showing quite the results of the Fall experience, with 58.9% vs. 61.8% of students and 77.1% vs. 88.5% of faculty indicating that they got to know each better in their FYE class than in other WIU classes. In fact, 89.0% of faculty claimed that the small class size promoted positive faculty-student interaction, almost as high at the 90.7% Fall semester report.
- Outcome: Enrollments in FYE classes will continue to be restricted to 20 or fewer students to maintain the benefits a small class size enables.
- Enhanced interaction between students and faculty continued to be a focus of FYE courses. Although slightly fewer students (75.2% vs. 78.0%) indicated that their FYE class had more discussion than their other classes of students, more faculty (72.6% vs. 70.8%) reported increased classroom discussion. In addition, greater numbers of students (94.2% vs. 93.5%) said that their FYE instructors encouraged classroom discussion, as well as an increase (92.6% vs. 87.3%) in faculty encouragement of differing viewpoints in class.
- Outcome: The maturation of the FYE program will serve to further increase an already high level of FYE discussion. Earlier notification of related events and additional development and training efforts should serve to further enhance discussion of cross-disciplinary concepts.
- As in Fall 2005, 100% of Spring 2006 FYE students attended at least 1 out-of-class activity, though there was a decrease (32.4% vs. 40.6%) attending 4 or more, perhaps related to the slight decrease (85.9% vs. 88.1%) of students reporting that participation in out-of-class activities was included as part of their FYE class grade. In addition, students reported a decrease in their FYE instructors (74.6% vs. 84.5%) and their peer mentors (72.7% vs. 75.8%) attended out-of-class activities with the class. Faculty agreed with these assertions, with fewer (93.2% vs. 99.0%) faculty reporting attendance at 1 or more FYE-related activities and fewer faculty (62.5% vs. 68.4%) indicating that at least half of their FYE students joined the class in attending FYE-related events.
- Outcome: As the FYE program matures the challenge will be to make FYE faculty and students more readily aware of FYE-related activities on campus in a timely manner so that they can be included in the out-of-class learning experiences, as well as creating better variety so that outside activities better relate to classroom content. Considerable effort will be placed on explaining and demonstrating the value of these outside activities on both the transition of students to college and their academic success.
- The availability of peer mentors was increased during Spring 2006, with more students (90.3% vs. 87.6%) and slightly more faculty (93.1% vs. 92.8%) indicating that their FYE class had a peer mentor, although fewer faculty (85.1% vs. 91.1%) played an active role in selecting their peer mentor. The value of peer mentors was even more apparent, with both students (59.3% vs. 58.2%) and especially faculty (83.3% vs.79.3%) feeling that having peer mentors was a positive aspect of their FYE class.
- Outcome: During the first semester of the FYE program, both faculty and peer mentors were challenged with defining their interactive role. Additional Faculty Development activities and peer mentor training programs were added for Spring 2006, and will continue to be emphasized to facilitate this effort.
FYE Program Benefits
The FYE program began with 12 goals contributing to a successful educational experience for new WIU freshmen. Based on student perceptions, the first semester of WIU’s new FYE program was from 45.7% to 68.4% successful in accomplishing these goals. Student perceptions Spring 2006 continued to demonstrate the value of the FYE program, indicating its 44.1% to 71.6% success in accomplishing these 12 goals.
- Help students manage the transition from high school to college – 49.8%, down from 50.6%
- Help students develop effective study skills – 44.1%, down from 45.7%
- Help students fit into the WIU community – 50.8%, down from 51.4%
- Help students learn to go for help when they need it – 53.5%, down from 57.1%
- Encourage students to be involved in campus activities – 71.6%, up from 68.4%
- Have a positive impact on student relationships with faculty – 65.8%, up from 63.7%
- Have a positive impact on student relationships with other students – 68.5%, up from 65.0%
- Help students respect the views of others – 69.3%, up from 66.7%
- Broaden student experiences – 67.6%, up from 58.3%
- Help students value the importance of lifelong learning – 64.1%, up from 56.0%
- Help students appreciate that learning extends beyond the classroom – 62.4%, up from 61.1%
- Help students be more successful in their first year of college – 50.0%, down from 50.5%
- Fall 2005 FYE survey results provided a benchmark against which to measure the continuing development of Western’s innovated FYE program. In Spring 2006, 7 of the 12 areas showed improvement, especially the 16% increase in broadening student experiences (67.6% vs. 58.3). These positive success areas demonstrate the value of the FYE program, and provide insight into revisions that will enable the program to more fully meet its goals in future years. However, 5 of the 12 areas decreased, most notably the 57.1% to 53.5% decrease helping students learn where to go to help when they need it. Those areas with need a greater emphasis during the 2006-07 FYE program.
View Additional FYE Survey Results