Feb. 2017 Academic Affairs, B2

B2, Build Shared Understanding of, and Commitment to, Academic Rigor: 

First Year Seminar (FSEM)

The FSEM Program, led by Maria Rickling, PhD, was designed to improve persistence and retention of students and is a hallmark program of the current Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP).

  • A total of two professional development opportunities were offered in fall semester 2016. The first hosted 25 participants. The second workshop had a total of 20 FSEM instructors.

  • During the second professional development workshop, co-facilitated by Julia Metzker, PhD, Brown Center executive director, participants gained experience in crafting assignments and rubrics that are better aligned with their FSEM course learning objectives. The workshop culminated in the design of curriculum maps to demonstrate how student learning outcomes are being addressed in each FSEM.


Implementation of a revised writing requirement was led by Megan O'Neill, PhD, director of the Writing Program. Implementation has engaged the following:

  • Facilitated ongoing collaboration with GEAC and UGEC to undertake revision of the Writing General Learning Outcome and assessment rubric;

  • Established a four-year assessment process, through the University Writing Advisory Council, designed to demonstrate how the new requirement is at least as effective as, if not better than, the old requirement;

  • Conducted faculty workshops designed to enhance understanding of information literacy in writing-enhanced courses; workshops for new, FSEM and JSEM faculty designed to introduce, reinforce and master concepts of writing and teaching pedagogy;

  • Collaborated with library faculty, GEAC and UGEC to revise Information Literacy General Learning Outcome and assessment rubric;

  • Enabled three panel presentations and one poster session by five Writing Center tutors and the director of the Writing Center, Leigh Ann Dunning, at the National Conference on Peer Tutoring in Writing in Tacoma, Washington (November 2016);

  • Created satellite writing centers in Sage Hall to target science writers and in the School of Business Administration to work with business students.