INA, Ill. (March 12, 2014) – First-Year Experience (FYE), Rend Lake College’s new orientation course, has been named the Higher Learning Commission’s (HLC) Quality Initiative Project for 2014. Program leaders will attend the Share Fair during the HLC annual conference, which is held in Chicago in April, where they will have a booth to talk with attendees about the project.
The Higher Learning Commission is the organization which accredits Rend Lake College. The First-Year Experience program will be used as an action project which will play a part in maintaining RLC’s accreditation. Over time, this and other projects will be used to demonstrate the college’s ability to continuously improve its quality.
FYE Coordinator Hillary Halsey said the program started with the need to revamp the then-online orientation process for incoming freshmen at RLC. Now the course is a face-to-face setup and is designed to build stronger connections between students and the faculty and staff.
“I have a lot of ideas for the future as far as projects and course topics, and I see the program growing in the next few years,” said Halsey. “We are getting a lot of feedback from our students, and we’re adapting to what they’re asking for and need. I feel very honored and excited that the FYE program was chosen to be the HLC Quality Initiative Project.”
Course goals include helping students engage on campus, learn organization skills, prepare to meet professional standards for behavior, and understand and successfully navigate the college culture.
Already, the course has covered many specific topics this semester, including myRLC, Warriormail, Blackboard, campus and library resources, differences between high school and college, expectations from instructors, time management, study skills, programs and degrees at RLC, calculating GPA, academic plans, financial aid, and transfer services. Halsey said students will wrap up the semester with a service learning project.
“We are going to be discussing why it's important to read to children and doing a children's book drive,” she said. “Studies have shown that a student’s reading level in third grade can determine whether they will access college or not. We will be hosting a children's book drive and donating the books to local preschools.”