The first year of college represents an enormous milestone in students' lives. Whether attending a four-year or two-year institution of higher education, living on campus or at home, or enrolled in a highly selective school or a college with an open-admissions policy, students are challenged in unique and demanding ways during their first year.
Although many students rise to the challenges they face, for some the demands are too great. Retention rates beyond the first year are disappointing: one third of first-year students seriously consider leaving college during their first term, and ultimately one half of all students who start college complete it.
What are the factors that impact students during their first year? How can the academic and social experiences of first-year students be optimized? What can we do to improve retention rates to maximize the number of students who complete college? Improving the First Year of College employs a variety of perspectives from leading researchers and student-service providers to address these questions and examine the first year of college.
This volume also highlights the development of learning communities and coaching, as well as how technology impacts students' first year. Perhaps most important, the book provides examples of "best practices," as determined through research by leaders in the field, to permit educators to draw on their experiences.
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"Robert S. Feldman" is professor of psychology at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, where he is Director of Undergraduate Studies and recipient of the College Distinguished Teacher Award. He is both a Hewlett Teaching Fellow and a Senior Online Teaching Fellow at UMass.
Professor Feldman was educated as an undergraduate at Wesleyan University, from which he graduated with High Honors, and received a M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin in Madison, where he specialized in social and developmental psychology.
Among his more than 100 books, chapters, and articles, he has edited "Development of Nonverbal Behavior in Children" (Springer -Verlag), "Applications of Nonverbal Behavioral Theory and Research" (Erlbaum), and co-edited "Fundamentals of Nonverbal Behavior" (Cambridge University Press). He is the recipient of grants from the National Institute of Mental Health and the National Institute of the Disabilities and Rehabilitation Research, which love supported his research on the development of nonverbal behavior in children. A past Fulbright lecturer and research scholar, he is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association and American Psychological Society.
During the course of nearly two decades as a college instructor, he has taught both undergraduate and graduate courses at Mount Holyoke College, Wesleyan University, Virginia Commonwealth University, in addition to the University of Massachusetts.
Professor Feldman loves music, is an enthusiastic, if not particularly accomplished, pianist, and is an excellent cook. He has three children, and he and his wife, a psychologist, live in Amherst, Massachusetts, in a home overlooking the Holyokemountain range.Review:
This book is a valuable addition to the available literature on the first year....the topics selected for inclusion are important for consideration not only by educators who work directly with first-year students, but also by those who determine educational policy at the institutional, state, and national levels.
—Journal of College Student Development
Each chapter is competently written and appear's to fulfill the editor's charge to link research, theory, and application. Those in student services and those with direct responsibilities for freshman may find useful research here...
The volume offers a compelling combination of empirical research and theoretical underpinnings to examine and explain the issues [of the first-year experience], and explicitly considers the implications of findings for institutional practice. ...this highly readable volume offers contemporary perspectives on the first-year experience. It would be a useful reference for anyone responsible for planning and/or assessing first-year programs and services.
—The Electronic Air
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