CFP: Undergraduate Course Redesign Initiative, FDIP, 2013-14

Dr. Andrew Hamilton and FDIS have just announced an important opportunity for those interested in reshaping our First Year Experience: a Call for Proposals to substantially rework existing 1000-level core courses, especially the high-enrollment courses that have historically given us the biggest problems in terms of student retention.

The CFP states:

The University is making a concerted effort to improve the undergraduate student experience with structural changes of administrative units, re-allocation of resources, improvements to housing and residential life programming, and more.  The most important part of the undergraduate experience is in the classroom, and the Provost’s Office has launched a First Year Experience initiative to ensure incoming freshmen have the best possible classroom experience.  The goal of these interrelated initiatives is to   help students build the habits and behaviors of successful students.  Because we know the high enrollment 1000-level core courses can be a particular challenge for students, our initial efforts have been focused on the academic core.

As Dr. Hamilton told the Faculty Senate last week, the goal of this initiative is to “build better sophomores.” Active learning pedagogy and better, more systematic course design will be crucial to making these courses work better overall for our student body.  This initiative seems like an important step forward in our pursuit of substantive student success.

Deadline for these proposals is Feb. 1, 2013.  Please direct any comments or inquiries to Dr. Hamilton at alhamil4@Central.UH.EDU.



First Year Experience Panel: Breakout Session and Summary (Simon Bott)


Richard Walker – VP Student Affairs.
Libby Barlow – Exec Director Academic and Institutional Information
Shirley Yu, Assoc. Prof. Ed. Psyc
Cathy Horn, Assoc. Prof. Ed. Psyc


  • Richard Walker gave an overview of First Year Experiences around the country.  He listed several institutions that were known to have outstanding programs – particularly IUPUI.  He emphasized that a FYE requires collaboration across campus, particularly between areas typically included in Student Affairs and Academic Affairs.
  • Libby Barlow discussed the academic aspects of an FYE, particularly the Core curriculum.  She discussed soon-to-be-made changes in the curriculum, outlining the challenges and opportunities that these provide.  She stressed that there would be full university support for changes within core classes that include the incorporation of high-impact practices and other modifications that will benefit the students.
  • Shirley Yu discussed need for faculty to support students in developing self-regulated learning strategies (i.e., effective study habits and motivation) through a range of in-class and referral methods.
  • Cathy Horn talked about her day as a faculty-in-residence and the importance of engaging students outside the classroom.

Given the truncation of the session, we had no time for questions or discussion.