Connecting the Head, Heart  and Hand: An In-Depth Look at the Newly Created Freshman College at Beth...
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Connecting the Head, Heart and Hand: An In-Depth Look at the Newly Created Freshman College at Bethune-Cookman University. Michelle Thompson, Ph.D. Dean, Freshman College Pascale M. Brown Freshman College Resource Counselor. The Key Players. Freshman College (The Head)

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Michelle Thompson, Ph.D. Dean, Freshman College Pascale M. Brown

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Michelle thompson ph d dean freshman college pascale m brown

Connecting the Head, Heart and Hand: An In-Depth Look at the Newly Created Freshman College at Bethune-Cookman University

Michelle Thompson, Ph.D.

Dean, Freshman College

Pascale M. Brown

Freshman College Resource Counselor


The key players

The Key Players

  • Freshman College (The Head)

  • The Office of Institutional Research and Planning (The Head)

  • Student Affairs (The Heart)

  • Faculty Development Center (The Heart)

  • The Office for Civic Engagement and Social Responsibility (The Hand)


What is the freshman college

What is the Freshman College?

  • The Freshman College is a comprehensive first- year experience designed to provide students with a historical context in which to view the school and the core values that are important to the institution. Further, Freshman College provides a network of resources to help students as they matriculate so that they are prepared for success in their upper- level classes. The Freshman College does this with a core of dedicated faculty who are committed to the success of first- year students and who understand the unique challenges many of these students face. Additionally, Peer Facilitators serve as mentors to help students with the transition from high school to college.


Main objective

Main Objective

The main objective of the Freshman College is to provide a standard of academic excellence for all students, regardless of whether remediation is needed, in general education courses.

The Freshman College provides on going activities partnered with Student Affairs, faculty development and the Office of Institutional Research and Planning designed to aid in student retention.


What do we value

What Do We Value?

  • High Academic Standards

  • Faculty and Peer Mentoring

  • Academic and Social Support

  • Faculty Development

  • Community Service

  • Data Driven Decisions


Who are our students

Who Are Our Students?

  • 60% are first generation college students who lack cultural literacy

  • 90% receive financial aid

  • Many return home to attend two-year community colleges

  • Are referred to as “Millennial Students”


The head the office of institutional research

The Head: The Office of Institutional Research

  • Data Management

  • Coordination of Assessment Instruments

  • Historical Analysis

  • Provides snapshot of larger institutional picture

  • Ensure alignment with President’s Strategic Plan

  • Develop Institutional Learning Outcomes


The head faculty development

The Head: Faculty Development

  • Continuous Communication

  • “Send and Share” Opportunities

  • Mini Grants for research projects dealing with the first-year experience

  • On-going workshops to address creating classrooms that engage students

  • On- going workshops to address learning styles and disabilities

  • Guest Speakers (Edward Zlotkowski, Stephen Brookfield, Angel Epstein)


The head faculty development1

The Head: Faculty Development

  • Orientation for New Faculty in the Freshman College

  • Formed a First-Year Experience Leadership Committee (all campus stakeholders)

  • Resources through the Faculty Development Center (books, journals, videos, website)

  • Faculty Technology Mentor Program

  • Brown bag lunches

  • Freshman College Faculty Retreats

  • Professional Learning Community (The Skillfull Teacher)


The head faculty development2

The Head: Faculty Development

  • Based strategic planning upon national survey data (NSSE)

  • Implemented in stages

  • Investigated multiple funding sources

  • Developed strategies to teach faculty how to engage first-year students

  • Sought faculty buy-in by forming committees from across the campus


The head academics

The Head: Academics

  • Personal Interviews with all freshmen

    (initial, midterm, and exit)

  • Continuous communication (letters, postcards, newsletter, e-alerts, phone calls, dorm visits)

  • Life Skill Development

  • Development of Personal and Social Responsibility


The head academics1

The Head: Academics

  • Intrusive academic advisement

  • Early alert system (daily attendance, week three reports, D & F-midterm grades)

  • Faculty and staff referrals (on and off campus resources)

  • Development of Academic Accountability

  • Referrals for faculty


The head academics2

The Head: Academics

  • Created extracurricular activities related to issues and topics discussed in general education courses

  • Developed R.A.P. sessions for freshmen through tutorial labs

  • Improved tutorial labs

  • Asked ALL Freshman College faculty and staff to serve as mentors (customer service and campus involvement)

  • Created faculty collaboration

  • Designed orientation activities for incoming freshmen

  • Developed QEP around the first-year experience

  • Created learning communities


The hand center for civic engagement and social responsibility

The Hand: Center for Civic Engagement and Social Responsibility

  • D4D (Project Pericles: Debating for Democracy)

  • Word Wizards

  • Honors Program with Volusia Literacy Council

  • The Till Bill Visit

  • Take Back the Night (Domestic Abuse Awareness)

  • Assembly Programs


The heart student affairs

The Heart: Student Affairs

  • Joint orientation

  • Induction and Exit from the Freshman College

  • Real Writing/Real Reading Workshops

  • Writer’s Jubilee

  • Read-In

  • Spiritual Emphasis Chapels

  • L.A.M.P (Learner Assisted Mentoring Program) Summer Bridge Program

  • Monthly Signature Service Projects

  • End of the Year Block Party


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