Beyond the First-Year: - Conference Planning and Management

Beyond the First-Year: - Conference Planning and Management

Beyond the First-Year:

Engaging and Retaining Second-year


Lora Leigh Chrystal, PWSE

John Burnett, NREM

Overview of presentation

• What is the Sophomore Slump?

• What are the Issues?

• Iowa State

– Retention rates

– Examples of existing programs

• Women in Science and Engineering

• Natural Resource and Ecology Management

– Voices of Experiences: participants & mentors

– What can we do as a community?

What is the “sophomore slump”

• Characterized by

– higher-than-expected attrition from the sophomore to

junior year;

– reduced motivation; and

– declining academic performance

First-year vs. Second-year students

First year is a focus on external transitions

• adjusting to college, new friends

– second year is a focus on internal transitions

• who am I, why are these people my friends, what am I going

to do with the rest of my life, etc.

Issues facing second year students

• Intensified curriculum

• Finding purpose in academic coursework

• Career and major selection issues

• Having “Plan B” ready

• Perception that institutional support has


• Balancing peer relationships

• Cost/benefit ratio

• Thoughts of transferring

• Negative behavioral patterns catch up to them

– (Schreiner & Pattengale, 2000)

Literature/Existing Program


• Know your students and their issues in order to target

programming/interventions (Assessment!)

• Survey existing programs and resources and package for

sophomores then fill in the gaps with missing elements

• Utilize advisors (as part of the above bullet) and make

them aware of issues facing sophomores

• Experiential opportunities (internships, research, study

abroad, service learning) that connect students to their

major & future

• Encourage reflection and personal responsibility for


Why is this important at ISU

• Retention of ISU Students

– Handout or

(Retention and Graduation Rates, Freshman and Transfer, p. 56)

• Retention of STEM Students to a STEM


– Handout or

(Retention Data on WiSE First-year Learning Communities)

In Groups

• Do you think second-year students need

continued attention? Why or Why not?

• What does the 2-year retention look like in your


• Do these highlights from the literature resonate

with your own observations? Are there other

issues you have observed in your


• How does your department/unit support firstyear

students? What do you do for second-year


WiSE Second-year LC: Overview

• University Studies 201: WiSE Second-year

(1cr.) Course (fall)

– reaffirm career decisions, continued career

exploration, and development of professional

and leadership skills.

• Networking with Faculty and Professionals


• Seminars (etiquette, internships, resume)

• Job Shadow/Tour Opportunities (spring)

– Rockwell-Collins; General Mills; Des Moines University; Blank

Park Zoo; DNR; Lennox; Pella

NREM: Overview

• Transitions Learning Community

– Sophomore Students

– Transfer Students

• Sophomore Fall Forestry Camp Series

– Six courses

– Coordinated Learning Outcomes

Student Voices

Questions for students

• How has returning for your second-year

been different from your first-year?

• What issues have you faced this year?

(academics, financial aid, career plans, personal relationships, etc.)

• Has participating in a career development

course been beneficial? If so, how? If not,

why not?

What can we do?

• What opportunities do you see within your

own departments/units?

• What roadblocks do you see within your

own departments/units?

• What programs do you have in place that

could be “packaged” for second-year



• Assessment. Understand your

department/unit and your students

• Prevention. Use the 1st year to prepare

students for the sophomore year

Planning. Focus on career and financial


• Participation. Involved students are

more likely to persist

Action Items

• What are your retention rates to your


• What are specific issues for your students?

• What is one idea from today that you could

implement in your department?

• How could you use the first-year learning

community experience to help counter the

sophomore slump?


• Flanagan, W. (1990). Sophomore retention: The missing strategy in small college retention

efforts. Unpublished dissertation. University of Wisconsin- Madison.

• Freedman, M. B. (1956). The passage through college. Journal of Social Issues, 12, 13-27.

• Gahagan, J. & Hunter, M. S. (2006). The second-year experience: Turning attention to the

academy’s middle child. About Campus, 11(3), 17-22.

• Gohn, L., Swartz, J., & Donnelly, S. (2000-2001). A case study of second-year student

persistence. Journal of College Student Retention, 2(4), 271-294.

• Graunke, S.S., & Woosley, S.A. (2005). An exploration of the factors that affect the

• academic success of college sophomores. College Student Journal, 39(2), 367-376.

• Hunter, M.S., et al. (2010) Helping Sophomore Succeed: Understanding and Improving the

Second-year Experience. Jossey Bass, San Francisco, CA.

• Kramer, G. L. (2000). Advising students at different educational levels. In V. N. Gordon, W. R.

Habley, & Associates (Eds.) Academic Advising: A Comprehensive Handbook (pp. 84 – 104). San

Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

• Kuh, G., Schuh, J.H., Whitte, E., Andreas, R., Lyons, J., Strange, C., et al. (1991) Involving

colleges: Successful approaches to fostering student learning and person development outside

the classroom. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

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NASPA Journal, 24(3), 15-19.

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Journal of the American College Health Association, 25(2) 133-76.

• National Resouce Center for First-Year Experience and Students in Transition (n.d.). Sophomore

year resources. Retrieved April 18, 2006, from

• Pattengale, J., & Schreiner, L.A. Eds. (2000.) Visible solutions for invisible students: Helping

sophomores succeed. (National Resource Center for the Freshmen Year Experience and Students

in Transition Monograph No. 31). Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina.

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college year. About Campus, 10(3), 17-24.

• Tobolowsky, B. F. & Cox, B. E. Eds. (2007) Shedding Light on Sophomores: An Exploration of the

Second College Year. (National Resource Center for the Freshmen Year Experience and Students

in Transition Monograph No. 47). Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina.

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