Why it matters
A great college experience starts with a great first year.
The first-year of college is a big deal. A positive transition to university-level learning and the college experience in general can set students on the path to academic success, degree attainment, as well as satisfaction and achievement in their careers and personal lives. The first-year is also the place where students are most likely to encounter a whole range of obstacles that might deter them from the degree and the learning they want.
The following links provide assessment information and data related to the ways in which K-State First's courses and programs positively affect and impact student participants:
We substantially increased faculty participation in the learning outcomes assessment process to nearly full participation, with only a few faculty members failing to fully complete their assessments. The new assessment process launched in 2019 shows that the program has been effective in helping students learn what we say that should learn.
In our SLO assessment, every student is scored on detailed rubric for each of four core learning outcomes: application of learning, community building, communication skills, and critical thinking. The rubric uses a scale from 1 to 5. A score of 1 represents a failure to achieve the learning outcome, whereas a 2 indicates partial achievement. Students who are proficient or meeting expectations in terms of the specific learning outcome are scored with a 3. At the higher end, a 4 represents some distinction or an exceeding of expectations, whereas a 5 indicates clear mastery. The program goal is to have all students in the 3 to 5 range, and it’s clearly understood that a 5 denotes a stretch goal, one that allows the process to record student work or student learning that is exemplary.
K-State First is dedicated to finding out what works best to help students to learn and to succeed in college. From its origins in a 2007 Task Force Report and the pilot studies of the first-year seminar concept in 2008 and 2009, K-State First has been committed not only to excellent teaching but also to research on and assessment of our courses and programs.
Below are highlighted examples of the research and assessment produced by our K-State First efforts.
- Gregory Eiselein, Donald A. Saucier, and Carmen E. Macharaschwili “Designing, Implementing, and Sustaining Faculty Development: A Model for Large and Diverse FYE Programs.” Journal of Faculty Development 33.2 (May 2019): 43-48.
- Kerry Priest, Donald A. Saucier, and Gregory Eiselein.“Exploring Students’ Experiences in First-Year Learning Communities from a Situated Learning Perspective.” International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education 28.3 (2016): 361-371.
- Angelique Courbou, Laura Kanost, Matthew Yates, “Preparing Students for an International Sojourn: Classroom-Based Models,” Kansas International Educators Conference, Overland Park, Kansas. [Conference Presentation, April 2016]
- Tara Coleman, Donald Saucier, & Stuart Miller. "Trickle Down Engagement in First-Year Common Reading Programs." 35th Annual Conference on the First-Year Experience, Orlando, FL. [Poster Presentation, February 2016]
- Donald Saucier, Stuart Miller, & Amanda Martens. "Undergraduate Research in the Context of First-Year Experience Courses." 35th Annual Conference on the First-Year Experience, Orlando, FL. [Conference Presentation, February 2016]
- Gregory Eiselein. "First Year/First Generation: Pedagogies that Work." CLASP/First Scholars Program. Washington State University. [Invited Talk, April 2015]
- Donald Saucier and Gregory Eiselein. "Experiences of Academic Engagement and Classroom Community in Learning Communities." 34th Annual Conference on the First-Year Experience. Dallas. [Conference Presentation, February 2015]
- Donald Saucier. “Sharing More Than the Content: The Trickle Down Engagement Approach.” Spotlight K-State. Kansas State University. [Presentation, March 2014]
View additional K-State First research projects.
Opportunities to Get Involved
If you are interested in research related to student learning, assessment, or the first year of college or would like to discuss the possibility of a research partnership, please contact Gregory Eiselein at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are interested in joining our research and assessment team, please contact the Chair of our Research and Assessment Committee, Don Saucier at email@example.com.