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Wednesday, May 13 • 1:15pm - 1:45pm
Focus on First Year: Engaging Faculty Learning Communities to Support Student Success

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Focus on First Year: Engaging Faculty Learning Communities to Support Student Success
Thompson Rivers University (TRU) is an open- access institution located in Kamloops. It has transformed rapidly over the past 50 years, growing from Cariboo College in 1978 to its current standing as comprehensive university. TRU is responsive to the needs of the Cariboo and Thompson regions and beyond through the reach of Open Learning. This fall, TRU welcomed over 3,500 international students from over 100 countries. Though TRU has a history as a transfer institution, granting credits for students to ladder into other provincial programs, we have a strong commitment to seeing our students stay for the completion of their program from beginning to end. It is this commitment that led to the development of the Focus on First Year (FOFY) project, bringing together faculty from across the campus to initiate supports and programming to help mitigate our 40% attrition rate and to support faculty in building a sense of belonging among our diverse population of first- year students.
During this presentation we will share the development and history of the FOFY project, stemming from its development at the Teaching and Learning National Institute in 2018. Using institutional data and the lens of equity, diversity, and inclusion, we have identified particular characteristics of vulnerable students who are most at risk of not returning for the second year of study. In just over one year we have seeded three faculty learning communities which have brought together approximately 30 faculty members in teams using a student-centered approach to develop projects to increase a sense of belonging and promote retention. The presenters in this session will share their own parts of the story of this program’s development and growth, including the roots of our foundational questions, the composition of the faculty learning communities, and their take on the first-year attrition problem. We plan to share with the audience the various ways we have supported the development of our FLCs and how we plan to help them grow and continue to make transformative change from within the classroom for years to come.

avatar for Catharine Dishke Hondzel

Catharine Dishke Hondzel

Thompson Rivers University

Nancy Carson

avatar for Bruno Cinel

Bruno Cinel

Associate Professor, Physical Sciences (Chemistry), Thompson Rivers University
avatar for Donna Petri

Donna Petri

AVP Academic, Thompson Rivers University

Amie McLean

Intercultural Coordinator, Faculty of Student Development
Amie McLean is an Intercultural Coordinator at Thompson Rivers University. Her work has consistently focused on issues of equity, inclusion, and social justice. Her Ph.D. in Sociology examined the dynamics of race, class, and gender in the BC-based long haul trucking industry. She... Read More →

Wednesday May 13, 2020 1:15pm - 1:45pm
Ballroom 2
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Attendees (5)