- Ms. Amy Stritikus, Economics
- Dr. Tami Moore, Human Sexual Behavior
- Ms. Eve Scantling, Healthful Living
- Dr. Jane Ziebarth-Bovil, Teacher Education
- Dr. Rob Luscher, English
- Dr. Darcy Schultz, English
- Ms. Anita Wells, English
- Dr. Bill Jurma, Speech
- Ms. Jake Jacobsen, Speech
- Dr. Carol Lomicky, Mass Media
- Dr. Jim Roark, Chemistry
- Dr. Roger Davis, American History
- Dr. Bill Wozniak, Psychology
- Dr. Suzanne Maughan, Sociology
The First Year faculty noted many benefits the program provided for their students. One faculty member noted, "The overall effect of the FY experience on my students...was quite positive...many students did conclude that they had come to understand the academic setting, community, and liberal arts culture of learning much better, or for the first time, as a result of the FY component of the class."
The small class size provided an opportunity to "encourage relationship building and communication." One faculty member commented, "The low enrollment in this course caused problems within the department and college. It has been difficult to convince my administrators to continue offering FY courses." The benefit to students, however, is clear, as 93% of FY students indicted they knew a faculty or staff member they could go to for help.
Most instructors felt that their students' communication skills improved throughout the semester. One faculty member commented, "I found the students' writing was much improved towards the end of the semester. The students were also more comfortable expressing their thoughts and views in written format. The same findings were true for the oral communications as well." Some courses focused more on students' exploration of ideas in whiter writing rather than on developing skills and improving style. All in all, students were involved with writing to various degrees in their FY courses.
Oral communication skills were improved in all classes. The small class size encouraged discussion and debate.
All classes provided students with the opportunity to develop skills using the library. Fall 2003 offered revised and improved programming for FY courses. (See Library Evaluation under Section 4: Campus Initiatives.) Blackboard and other technologies were used in all FY sections. One faculty member commented, "This course well-served students in enhancing their academic competencies" via campus technology.
Students attended various university-sponsored activities that increased their awareness of UNK's diversity. On faculty member noted, "This aspect of the First Year program is probably the most valuable in that students indicated they likely would not have participated had this not been a requirement of the course." In another class, the instructor felt that "many of our students started deeply examining...their beliefs about diversity and...long held prejudices and stereotypes." Again Student Evaluation indicated that 67% acknowledged their exploration into diversity issues. There is difficulty in integrating extracurricular activities into the class schedule. Faculty dealt with this in different ways: required, extra credit, honor system, response with written or oral assignments. The extra-curricular aspect of the First Year program is more easily integrated into humanities and social science courses than natural sciences.
Faculty members introduced students to the idea of a general studies core through various means. Perhaps the most effective was focusing on "the value of a diverse and broad knowledge of academic disciplines in obtaining a job and in the bigger picture of life." One instructor felt his students developed the understanding "that some courses are to better prepare them as citizens." Other classes had information posted on Blackboard or the Student Peer Leader shared information from time to time. Faculty would like announcements of particular student health and life styles topics to be timely so that they might better integrate them into coursework.
Some faculty relied on Student Affairs support throughout the semester, incorporating presentations into their classes. Other instructors did not seek assistance from Student Affairs or did not find the information provided to be helpful in their classes. Introducing students to the community at UNK, including various organizations and services provided, gave students "a clear picture of the activities, organizations, expectations and environment of a post-secondary institution. This course has better prepared them to complete their degree and do so with much more clear a path to graduation."
The majority of faculty members found the training meetings to be very helpful in developing their classes before the semester began. In particular, they found the more "practical" workshops (e.g., writing assignments, student affairs events) most helpful. Also the meetings throughout the semester helped them stay on track as well as gain ideas from other instructors.