Full-Time Faculty for Freshmen at Governors State University

March 23, 2016

Share this

Governors State University (GSU) has filled its freshman program entirely with full-time professors as part of an effort to pair GSU’s most vulnerable learners—many of them first-generation college students from low-income households—with some of its most experienced educators.

“The hardest courses to teach are the freshman courses—that’s where you’re introducing students to critical thinking and writing and initiating them to the academy,” GSU President Elaine Maimon recently told Inside Higher Ed.

GSU was founded as a senior university, where transfer students entered as juniors. With the introduction of its first freshman class in 2014, administrators set out to develop a strong first-year curriculum from the start.

In addition to requiring a number of full-time professors to teach at least one freshman class per year, GSU also developed a new first-year general education program that included core themes, learning communities and smaller class sizes. Adjuncts are still vital to the university, but they are now placed in upper-level courses where they have pertinent real-world experience, such as in marketing or education.

The initiative has certainly met challenges, but early figures show retention rates at about 10 percent higher than similar institutions.

GSU’s freshman program remains a bold path for the poorly funded public university outside of Chicago—to date, Illinois hasn’t passed its 2015-16 budget, leaving GSU and its peers without state funding.

If you have any questions or comments about this blog post, please contact us.

Keep Reading

Supporting Students Through Faculty Professional Development

Marielena DeSanctis, college provost and senior vice president for academic affairs and student services at Broward, recently spoke with Sherri Hughes, ACE’s assistant vice president of professional learning, about the impact of the ACUE program on faculty development, equity, and student success.

October 19, 2020

Opening Cuba and the World to Webster University Students

On Dec. 17, 2014, President Obama announced that he was restoring full diplomatic relations with Cuba, a historic decision that is ending over 50 years of frozen relations. Higher education has been one of the main beneficiaries of these early efforts. Beth Stroble, president of Webster University in Missouri, explores the future for continued cooperation between U.S. and Cuban institutions.

May 11, 2015
Roanoke College graduation

Supporting First-Generation and Low-Income Students at the University of Florida

First launched in 2006, the Machen Florida Opportunity Scholars Program supports nearly 1,250 undergraduates annually and will soon surpass the 2,000 alumni milestone. For the first-generation and low-income students in the program, early estimates indicate that they are 44 percent more likely to graduate in four years and 47 percent more likely to complete in six years compared to their peers.

September 21, 2015