Helping first-year college students climb the academic ladder: Report of a national survey of freshman seminar programming in American higher education
Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
Roger G. Baldwin
The purpose of this study was to investigate a contemporary curricular phenomenon in freshman education: the freshman seminar. By means of a survey instrument mailed to all regionally accredited American colleges and universities enrolling over 100 students, this study investigated the nature and current numbers of freshman seminars with respect to the five most common forms of this course--the extended orientation seminar, the academic seminar with common content across sections, the academic seminar with content that varies by section, the professional seminar, and the basic study skills seminar.;Similarities and differences between seminar types were reported in terms of goals, content, structure, instructors, instructional activities, the function of academic advising, and overall campus support. In addition, this study investigated and reported the relationship of institutional characteristics such as Carnegie classification, selectivity, size, and ethnic diversity to the type of freshman seminar offered by a particular college or university. Through a comprehensive analysis of survey responses, the freshman seminar was defined as a course designed to enhance the academic and/or social integration of first-year students through a variety of content and process elements.;Study findings indicated that freshman seminars are currently offered at approximately two-thirds of American colleges and universities. The most common manifestation of the freshman seminar is the extended orientation seminar. Such seminars account for over 70% of all freshman seminars nationwide.;Many respondents reported that participants in freshman seminars have higher retention and graduation rates than nonparticipants. In addition, the freshman seminar has been positively correlated with increased levels of out-of-class interaction with faculty, increased student involvement in campus activities, and increased student use of campus services. Because of their documented success in meeting various campus-specific objectives, most freshman seminars are reported to enjoy strong overall support from campus faculty, administrators, and students.
© The Author
Barefoot, Betsy Overman, "Helping first-year college students climb the academic ladder: Report of a national survey of freshman seminar programming in American higher education" (1992). Dissertations, Theses, and Masters Projects. William & Mary. Paper 1539618580.
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