FSEM Week 3

Welcome to Week 3! ADVISING NOTES: Friday, Sept. 15, is the last day to drop a course. If you haven’t already, please take a moment to explain the meaning of “drop” vs. “withdraw.”  Students are going to start getting some grades back from their professors. You might remind them that their most valuable resource is the faculty and to utilize office hours before it’s too late. You might show the video below, produced at Arizona State, which pokes fun at students who suffer from FMOOWMP (watch the video if you don’t understand that). CO-CURRICULAR ANNOUNCEMENTS: The Speaking Center is offering workshops on Speech Basics this week (Tuesday, 9/12, 4 pm in HCC 307 and Wednesday, 9/13, 5 pm in UC 314). International Education Week is this week with multiple events including Global Café in the UC dining on Wednesday, Sept. 13, from 5-7 pm and the UMW Education Abroad Fair on Saturday, 9/16, as part of Family Weekend (which, of course, is next weekend). Please encourage your … [Read more...]

FSEM Week 2: New Announcements

Since my weekly email went out a little early this week, I missed the chance to include two items: PASS Open House - There will be a PASS (Peer-Assisted Study Sessions) open house on Wednesday, September 6th, at 6pm in Trinkle 204 to introduce the PASS program to interested students. There will be ICE CREAM and PASS leaders in attendance. There are PASS sessions for Physics, Chemistry, and Math—a great program for our first-year students. A flyer is attached. I will include the full PASS schedule in the dropbox under “Academic Support Centers” later this week. The Race & Revolution FSEMs are sponsoring a concert by Gaye Adegbalola on September 21st at 7pm in the Digital Auditorium (HCC). The concert, Civil Rights and the Blues, was a big hit with students last year, and is open to all students and faculty. This would be a great event for your peer mentors to plan with your students. … [Read more...]

FSEM Week 2: Getting Pretty Serious

ADVISING NOTES: The deadline to add a course was Friday; the deadline to drop a course is at the end of the third week (September 15th). It is common for some students to be struggling with Canvas. It is worth five minutes at the start of class to show students how to access your class, the learning modules, and how to change their Canvas settings so that they receive notifications of announcements/grades/assignment changes. SSC CAMPUS TRAINING: Academic Services is holding training labs on the new Campus tool for advising (the online tool that was introduced at the Thursday morning advising session - https://umw.campus.eab.com/). The session will cover advising basics in Campus, and outline how to setup calendar availability so that students can make appointments with you. The first two sessions will be held this week (Wednesday, 9/6, 9-10 am and Thursday, 9/7, 3:30-4:30 pm, both in HCC 130). Please email Sam Shortt (sshortt@umw.edu) if you plan to attend. LUNCH WITH PEER … [Read more...]

FSEM Week 1: Welcome Back!

INSTRUCTOR/PEER MENTOR LUNCH: As mentioned at our meeting last week, we are planning a lunch for FSEM instructors, Peer Mentors, and Resident Assistants for Wednesday, September 6th from noon to 1:30pm. Please sign up on this Google Doc so that we have a headcount for planning purposes: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1atW4ZWhhgqMoMDDkRBF3_jT7irAORvFWQ2oH2gh-_yU/edit?usp=sharing. ADVISING NOTES: Remind them of the importance of reading syllabi. Friday is the last day to add a course. A great article to share is The Tune Up That Every First Year College Student Needs that we referenced at last week’s workshop. Also, check out Tim’s Week One Checklist for further ideas, and reference The A Game if possible. Discuss etiquette when talking to professors. Here’s a nice article, written by a student, about talking to your professors: 5 questions that will take the fear out of talking to your professor (Note: We learned last fall that if you cut and paste hyperlinks from webmail into … [Read more...]

Upcoming Advising

I wanted to touch base with you before the upcoming advising sessions you’ll be having with the first-year students. You should have received emails from the Registrar’s Office for any advisee who received a mid-semester U in any of their courses. I encourage you to bring this up at your meetings and point students to the proper resources to help them succeed. If you are really concerned about a student and not getting through, please contact Academic Services for follow up. Please note that first-year students have the opportunity to declare their major at the end of their first year at UMW. Please discuss potential major options when you see your advisees. In addition, you will need to decide whether you will keep your first-year advisees for sophomore year, should they not declare. Additional information on reporting this information will be sent by Wes Hillyard following spring break. Important dates regarding major declaration: Please encourage students to attend the … [Read more...]

FSEM Week 15

It’s the end of the semester, and it’s hard to believe that anything I can say this week will stick with our students during this stressful time. So, with that in mind, let me just encourage you to support them and to offer advice on how to handle these final weeks. Topics you might bring up include: pulling all-nighters, prioritizing your time between work (a job) and final exams, informing friends and family about your schedule and the importance of final exams, understanding how the final exam contributes to your final course grade, studying in groups (and choosing members who stay on topic), and how to study for final exams. Please remind students to complete both the student course evaluations (email from Debra) and the survey on the First-Year Experience (email from me last Tuesday, reminder from Tim came Friday, another reminder coming this week). I know that some of you have set aside a few minutes to have them complete the assessments in class—thank you. Next week, we’ll … [Read more...]

December 14 FSEM Debrief

Had any challenges teaching FSEM this fall? Join us for an FSEM debriefing session. Wednesday, December 14, 2016 3 – 5 pm in room 111 of the HCC Light refreshments provided. I will share some preliminary data from the student survey, and we’ll talk about what worked and, of course, what didn’t work this fall (while it’s all still fresh in your head). If you had some struggles, please come share them. If your class was just plain perfect, then please, please, please come share your wisdom.   … [Read more...]

FSEM Week 14

ADVISING NOTES A policy that comes up at the end of every term is the one on Incomplete Grades. Since this policy was updated last year, it might be a good idea for all of us to review it: Incomplete grades are issued on a case-by-case basis when students cannot complete the assigned work or final examination for a particular course due to unforeseen circumstances, e.g., illness, natural disaster, or family catastrophe. Supporting documentation may be required. A grade of I is issued in lieu of an actual grade for the course. To secure permission for an incomplete grade, the student and faculty member must communicate in writing (such as an email), clearly stating the reason for the incomplete, the work to be completed, and the due date. If appropriate, students must drop any subsequent course for which the incomplete course is a prerequisite. Students must complete the course work by the specified contract date which will be no later than the end of the following semester, … [Read more...]

FSEM Week 13

I hope everybody has an enjoyable break this week. I have many things to be thankful for, but I’d like to point out one thing that we all have in common, and for which I am truly thankful. When I started managing this program, I was nervous about whether or not these changes we’ve implemented would really enhance the quality of our academic program. Well, things are certainly moving in the right direction. Our student retention rate (first-to-second year) seems to have turned around after several years of decline, and, more impressive is this: the newest NSSE data shows that we have seen a 21% uptick in first-year student satisfaction with advising. Thanks for your good work with our first-year students. Happy Thanksgiving. … [Read more...]

FSEM Week 12

ADVISING NOTES Ask how registration went. Discuss the opportunities to drop/add for the spring term. Students most likely had trouble getting into a few of their desired courses (more so than they did in June when they were registering for Fall 2016), so be supportive and offer advice on drop/add. You should also encourage each student to run a degree evaluation after they have registered. This will help them to see how the classes they signed up for count toward the various requirements. As your students start thinking about their upcoming final exams (Fall 2016 schedule here), it would be good to review the policy on final exams. You can follow the link to read the full policy, but let me point out a few highlights which you may want to bring to the attention of your students. If you get questions about any of these items, please refer to the complete policy. Examinations are scheduled for specific periods and should not interfere with subsequent examinations. A student … [Read more...]