Although they came up short in Super Bowl LI, Atlanta’s Southern charm was definitely evident as the city hosted the 36th Annual First Year Experience Conference (FYE).
Michael Frye, Science Librarian attended the 4 day conference as well as a pre-conference entitled “Shaping the First-Year Experience for African American and Hispanic Males.” The pre-conference focused on identifying why the retention of African-American and Hispanic males is so disproportionately lower than their white counterparts. Participants identified a variety of factors such as economics, high school preparation, peer pressure that often impact students success. Participants also talked about programs they could implement at their institutions and created outlines and objectives they could share with their school administrators. The half day workshop was moderated by Wayne Jackson, director of the Academic Support Services at the University of Central Florida.
Many of the plenary sessions highlighted ways that academic libraries have partnered with other campus stake holders in helping first year students be successful by adopting the American Association of Colleges and Universities (AACU) Re-imagining the first year experience. This initiative focuses on 4 areas; institution intentionality, curriculum redesign, changes in faculty and staff roles, as well as student roles. This concept allows the entire campus community to share in student retention and better prepare them for the world outside of college.
In addition to the sessions, numerous authors shared their personal stories as well excerpts from their books. Following the presentations they shared copies of their books with the audience. Some of the authors included Margot Lee Shatterly, author of Hidden Figures Lisa Fenn, author of Carry On, Sabrina Fulton and Tracy Martin parents of Trayvon Martin and co-authors of Rest in Power.
As the academic community moves toward more accountability; the opportunity to see how other institutions are working to make sure that students get started with support and resources is helpful in planning and developing programs for the libraries role in shaping the first year experience for students.
…..maybe next year at Super Bowl LII Atlanta.
Author: Michael Frye