First-Year Islander: College to Career Conference Preparation

Posted: February 25, 2020 12:00:00 PM CST

Dear Faculty - 


It’s that time of year to begin planning and prepping our students for the First-Year Learning Communities Program culminating event, the First-Year Islander: College to Career Conference (FYI Conference). This is the first official year of the FYI Conference, formerly known as FYRC, which began in 2007, and will introduce a collaboration with Career Services to include College to Career sessions for students to attend in addition to traditional student presentations 


The Structure 


The FYI Conference is structured like a professional, academic conference and provides an opportunity for first-year students to share learning community and first-year seminar projects by inviting them to submit proposals. Accepted presenters gain experience in a conference forum attended by their peers. One of the main differences from First-Year Symposium, which is hosted in the fall, is that all first-year students are required to prepare presentations for the First-Year Symposium, whereas students who present in the FYI Conference must elect to undergo the proposal process 


The 2020 FYI Conference is scheduled for two days during the thirteenth week of classes. Sessions will be held on Wednesday, April 22nd and Thursday, April 23rd from 9am to 3pm in the Lonestar Ballrooms. Students are highly encouraged to propose individual or group projects to be presented at the conference.  


First-Year Seminar Student Expectations and Support 


This year, the FYI Conference will include sessions about college to career related topicsThis will allow students to not only attend the student sessions, but to also learn about the transition to graduate school or careers after graduation. Students are expected to attend one student session and one career session. During the conference, students will check-in by logging into a computer or swiping their TAMU-CC Sanddollar card before entering the session roomRequired end of session evaluations will be available through QR code at the end of each session. 


Often, students benefit the most when pushed out of their comfort zones. FYS faculty have the unique opportunity to encourage their students present. In fact, many instructors choose to make it part of the grade in FYS to develop a proposal for the conference. In these cases, students ultimately should choose whether they want to be considered by submitting the proposal to the committee. To help the students or groups who are interested in presenting, providing opportunities during class or office hours to work one-on-one with presenters from acceptance to presentation can help students feel confident when they arrive at the conference 


Please ensure that if your students are participating in research with human subjects, you have consulted with Rebecca Ballard about your classroom project to determine if it classifies as human subjects research. If it does, your student may not be eligible to present or may need to complete an IRB application.  


Structure of Presentations 

15-minute presentations are conducted individually or as groups and should inform an interdisciplinary audience. These presentations are often delivered in the form of PowerPoint and/or spoken presentations with films or handouts depending on the conventions of the discipline and decisions of the speaker(s). Each presentation should last approximately 10 minutes. If students plan to present a short film, they should introduce the video and expand on the topic as appropriate for a 10-minute presentation. Students will be given an additional 5 minutes for questions after each presentation.  


45-minute panels, unlike a group presentation, present for the entire 45-minute session and are made up of approximately three 10- to 15-minute presentations, though students may choose to alter this format. Instructors who believe their students have completed work that would be appropriate for a panel presentation should work with FYI Conference Coordinator, Kellie Jarvis. 


The Proposal Form 


Each proposal requires 200-word description of the presentation which will be used in the online conference programAccepted proposals include references to scholarly sources and a clear description of what will be presented. Proposal writing requires audience awareness, a purposeful focus, and references to related works. Students should submit this form electronically by noon on Friday, March 27th. Once submitted, proposals are anonymized and sent to a panel of evaluators for consideration. Acceptance emails are sent to students approximately one week after submission. Feel free to share this pdf file with students as they practice filling out the various sections. 


Session topics are typically cultivated by first-year seminar and learning community faculty through strategic and intentional assignment design. For example, students have presented in the past about exploitation of labor, pelvic floor disfunction, online education or environmental topics depending on the topics explored in learning community courses.  


Proposals are accepted, rejected, or sent back with notes to revise and resubmit. In cases where resubmission is required, the student(s) and instructor(s) will be sent an email with instructions and a link to resubmit. Often, the proposal is vague or lacks sources. 

The First-Year Learning Communities Program strongly recommends the use of rehearsal, peer review, writing center visits, and/or consultations with instructors to prepare for this presentation.  


Faculty Support for Event 


There is a quick turn-around scheduled for reading proposals. As such, we need all the help we can get for a very short time. The good news is that absolutely nothing will have to be read during Spring BreakFirst-Year Seminar faculty should attend presentations throughout both days to support all first-year students. Please reach out to Kellie Jarvis if you would like to help support the First-Year Islander Conference by reading conference proposals or moderating sessions.  


To learn more about how best to support and encourage your students to participate and attend the FYI Conference, plan to attend the Seminar Talk on Friday, February 28th in Bay Hall 207 


By: Kellie Jarvis and Chelsie Hawkinson

Category: Best Practices