Engaging faculty in the first-year experience at Northern Arizona University


How might we develop an innovative first-year experience that engages faculty in building academic success early on in students’ careers through pedagogically driven course programs?


Four-pronged effort: 

  • Developed a set of first- and second-year courses based on research-based pedagogy and customized to different student segments
  • Trained faculty through 3 to 5 course-redesign sessions that addressed academic socialization, course design, and section alignment
  • Certified courses that met first-year student needs (e.g., academic learning and academic socialization practices)
  • Subsidized teacher’s assistant (TA) for certified course


University established FYLI, an office that leads the certification process, which enables curriculum consistency and quality, despite changes in lecturers and faculty. Over 90% of first-year students are enrolled in at least one FYLI course.

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