First Year Learning Initiative

The First Year Learning Initiative (FYLI) aims to maximize academic rigor in courses that have a high proportion of first-year students. Participating instructors support struggling students using the framework developed by the FYLI leadership group comprised of innovative and experienced faculty and staff.

The Initiative focuses on three key areas:

  • socializing students for excellence
  • developing courses that engage students
  • aligning learning outcomes with course activities

FYLI courses create a coherent formal learning experience which maximize likelihood of student success and together with co-curricular programming ensure that students achieve competencies requisite for high achievement in years two through graduation.

  • Courses will involve students in rigorous, supported learning experience
  • Course designs consistently employ best practices for learning and success
  • Each course is designed on the basis of understanding of incoming student skills
  • Courses have strong internal coherence among learning activities, assessments and goals
  • Instructional plans enable monitoring of student progress in the earliest weeks of each term
  • Course designs are tightly linked to supplemental instruction or other forms of course specific academic support

Desired outcomes:

  • Increase in quantity and quality of student effort
  • Higher rate of utilization of  academic support programs (e.g., supplemental instruction)
  • Higher rates of course completion
  • Increased equity of academic achievement among sub-groups of students
  • Greater learning/achievement  of key capacities during the first year

We need you

FYLI is open to any faculty members interested in creating courses that:

  • motivate students to think critically, challenge themselves, and self-reflect
  • engage in active pedagogy and give students productive feedback
  • have a high level of transparency of expectations
  • support student diversity and community building

We provide a complete toolkit for you to help you begin. 

If you are interested and want to know more or join, e-mail FYLI:

Michelle Miller
Co-director, FYLI
Department of Psychology

Blase Scarnati
Co-director, FYLI
First Year Seminar

You can find the toolkit and get a course certified through the FYLI.