First Year Experience (FYE) | The American University of Iraq Sulaimani

First Year Experience (FYE)

Overview

APP’s First Year Experience (FYE) program encompasses social engagement activities, academic success workshops, and targeted tutoring with the goal of enhancing student life during the first year of enrollment at AUIS. FYE is specifically geared towards APP students, but any AUIS student is welcome to participate in the activities.

The need for such a program has become apparent through feedback on surveys as well as observations that APP students often have time conflicts with other events at AUIS. Research suggests that FYE programs on college campuses can increase the value of the student experience (Jamelske, 2008).

The goals of FYE are:

  • Engage students in meaningful academic and social out-of-class activities.

  • Strengthen student connections to the university.

  • Introduce students to a liberal arts education and awaken intellectual curiosity.

  • Enhance skills needed for academic success: reading, writing, speaking, listening, thinking, inquiry, analysis, use of information technology, library skills, and time management.

  • Increase opportunities for peer connections in a learning community.

  • Encourage academic and social ties between faculty and students.

Implementation for Fall 2016

The programming offered for Fall 2016 is a combination of social and academic activities geared towards specific levels. The time of the activities generally determines the appropriate level, though any student may participate as scheduling allows.  Thursday activities provide an excellent opportunity for APP students, especially at the initial levels, to have an additional day of English practice in a low-stress environment. Teachers are aware that it takes a lot of practice to improve language skills, and the high-interest nature of the planned activities should foster excitement about being on campus and interacting in English outside of the classroom.

For the initial phase of the program (Nov-Dec), students will not be required to attend any specific number of activities. APP students have many requirements already, and adding further hoops could counteract the stated goals of the program. Because of this concern, the program will offer a reward party as incentive for participation. However, the true incentive is the enjoyment and positive experiences inherent in the social nature of the activities. To succeed in this regard, faculty and former students can lead the way in encouraging participation and talking up the benefits of joining activities. We want and believe that AUIS can have a lively, engaged student body who spend time on campus in ways that result in positive wash-back in the classroom. From encouraging teamwork and mutual understanding to inciting laughter and improving listening, the range of activities is designed to be fun and relevant to our students. It is the hope that no further incentive or requirement will be necessary to see this program succeed and provide a needed service for our students.

Incentive

Students will compete as a class from their 1st block classes against the other classes (1st block) in their level. So, block 1 Foundations Reading Section 1 will be competing against block 1 Foundations Writing (Xs the # of writing sections at block 1) and any other Foundations Reading sections at block 1. There will be a class that wins for each level. The winners are determined by the highest recorded participation over the semester.

The winning classes will have a class party (details TBD).

Tracking Participation and Feedback

Each activity leader will receive a participation & feedback form. The front side will be a sign-in sheet to get student names, ID #s (if known), level, and email addresses. This information will be used to determine the winning class. Students won’t be spammed with surveys. J The back of the sign-in sheet will have a limited number of questions. The teacher or other leader of the activity can ask one student to mark the number of “yes” or “no” answers on the back of the sheet and turn it in to the office. The leader should allow students to complete this form without his/her presence to ensure anonymity and honesty. The goal of the questions is simply to know what activities are most suitable for future programming.

Calendar

A calendar of events has been created with great care to provide a range of types of engagement programs for various levels (and a mixture of levels) at various times and days. The master sheet lists all FYE-specific engagement. Instructors can also see where these engagement programs fit with office hours and study halls on their level-specific sheets. If students have questions about activities that they can attend, looking at the level-specific sheet should be helpful. Because of the variety of times for Math and Math labs, not all students will be able to attend some of the activities, even if they were scheduled for that student’s level. However, all students should have an opportunity to attend multiple events throughout the semester.

Special Considerations

Instructors may have concerns about your turn to lead an activity. What if it rains when you were planning to hold an outdoor event? What about a room with video and sound capability? We will help you with these concerns as they arise. 

Academic Activities

Social Activities