This past February, Glendon’s Director of Student Affairs, David Ip Yam, attended the 37th Annual First-Year Experience and Students in Transition Conference in San Antonio Texas to present Glendon’s research regarding the pilot year of the 3.0 credit course, Pathways for Life-Long Learning.
The course was designed back in 2016 by Ip Yam and his project co-lead, Professor Rosanna Furgiuele, thanks to York’s Academic Innovation Fund, in hopes of creating a more holistic first year student experience that sets the foundations for continuous engagement, academic success, and personal development throughout students’ academic careers and beyond. Studies have shown that a well-designed, structured and institutionally supported first-year seminar can be one of the most significant actions an institution can take to invest in student learning, development and retention.
After originally attending the conference in 2016 with Professor Furgiuele, Ip Yam returned this year to present the project’s findings thus far and to sollicit feedback from their international colleagues on ways to move forward more effectively. The Conference hosted over 2000 Student Affairs and Services Practitioners, Librarians and Faculty members from over 10 countries who focus on the first-year experience: development, learning and retention. Their goal: to assist educators and administrators in institutions of higher education in the planning, implementing, and refining of programs designed to enhance the first-year experience.
“I am always inspired by the subtle yet important differences between Canadian and American approaches to student development, learning and retention and, especially, academic or institutional culture.” David tells us. “What struck me most is the collaboration between Student Affairs and Services and Faculty members who often seem to co-teach or co-construct truly co-curricular (curricular and extra-curricular) initiatives that encompass the total or whole student experience. These initiatives can go a very long way.”