September 24, 2009
The FAQ e-newsletter provides details and addresses your questions about the implementation of the Freshman Academies. Each issue of FAQ is topic-specific and will address such topics as organizational structure and staffing. Questions about each topic, as well as suggestions for future topics, are encouraged. Answers will be provided in subsequent issues and will be added to the Q&A that resides on the QCC website.
Suggestions and questions can be emailed to: faq@qcc.cuny.edu

In This Issue:
The Launch of the Freshman Academies
The Freshman Academy for Business
The Faculty Coordinators for the Business Academy
The Freshman Coordinators for the Business Academy
Faculty Leaders Named
High Impact Strategy: EPortfolio

Introducing the Faculty Coordinators for the Business Academy
Faculty Coordinator:
Shele Bannon
Faculty Coordinator:
Kelly Ford

Assistant Professor Shele Bannon came from Marymount College to Queensborough in 2008 to teach accounting in the Business Department.  Professor Bannon, who holds an MBA from Pace University and is a CPA, has had an extensive career in the corporate business world, holding CFO and VP Finance positions at companies in the New York City area.

Professor Bannon has become a strong supporter of the ePortfolio application, one of the two high impact learning experiences for the Business Academy.  She used ePortfolio with great success in the business classes she taught this summer, stating, "ePortfolio provides a more interactive learning environment for students – and it's an environment where they are particularly comfortable."

Assistant Professor Kelly Ford is also starting her second academic year at Queensborough, having come from Dowling College and Molloy College where she taught for several years as an adjunct professor.  Professor Ford, who received her bachelor's in business administration from Dowling College and her MBA from Molloy College, is also a CPA with over ten years of public accounting experience in the business sector. Professor Ford believes that it is quite an honor to have been selected as the Business Academy Faculty Coordinator, saying, "Being involved in the assessment and planning meetings as a Faculty Coordinator is very exciting. The meetings are helpful in networking with other professors and seeing other perspectives.  It is very challenging, but we have a good infrastructure in place in the Academies.  It is a privilege to be involved."

Professor Bannon summarizes the goal of the Freshman Academy for Business this year as, "Trying to engage the students more so than in the past; the Freshman Academies helps to make this possible."


Faculty Leaders Named

In preparation for the launch of the academies, last spring and summer, the Office of Academic Affairs identified a group of Faculty Leaders to support the academic life of the Freshman Academies.  Their roles and names follow.

Faculty Coordinators serve as a communicative bridge to the Freshman Coordinators, lead Faculty Cohorts to share best practices, and demonstrate what students learn through assessment rubrics which demonstrate students' gradual mastery of the general education objectives.  The Faculty Coordinators are:

Professor Shele Bannon and Professor Kelly Ford
—Business Academy
Ms. Renee Rhodd
—Education Academy
Professor Alex Tarasko, R.N.
—Health Related Sciences Academy
Dr. Anne-Marie Bourbon, Dr. Megan Elias & Dr. Linda Stanley
—Liberal Arts Academy
Dr. Moni Chauhan and Professor Robert Kueper
—STEM Academy
Professor Georgia McGill
—VAPA Academy

Basic Educational Skills/Developmental/Math Liaisons serve as a communicative bridge to all the disciplines about the unique concerns of academy students who are in remedial classes.  They also lead Faculty Cohorts.

Mr. David Rothman is the Basic Educational Skills liaison
Dr. Sylvia Svitak is the Math liaison

The Learning Outcomes Facilitators support the development and implementation of assessment rubrics, as well as lead faculty development in student learning outcomes. They are Dr. Margot Edlin and Dr. Peter Bales.

Ms. Susan Madera is the Acting Coordinator of the High Impact Activities.  In addition, there are Faculty Coordinators who have for many years lead faculty and student development for individual strategies, and will continue to do so for Academy students.

The WID WAC Coordinators are Dr. Linda Stanley, Mr. David Humphries, Dr. John Talbird, Dr. Megan Elias and Dr. Jeff Jankowski.

The Service Learning Coordinators are Ms. Jo Pantaleo, Dr. Sharon Ellerton and Dr. Meg Tarafdar.

The ePortfolio Coordinators are Mr. Bruce Naples and Professor Ed Hanssen


Dr. Martì on the
Freshman Academies

Read
Past Issues of FAQ

Read the Q&A's
The Launch of the Freshman Academies

Throughout the spring and summer, Queensborough's Office of Student Services has been working tirelessly with the new, first year Freshmen in advisement, registration and financial aid as part of the launch of the new Freshman Academies.  Under the direction of Susan Curtis, Director of New Student Enrollment Services, it culminated during the last week of August for four full days, when the new Freshmen were in attendance for a series of workshops, presentations and seminars at the Freshman First orientation – the most comprehensive orientation that Queensborough has ever hosted.

In total, 3,284 full time Freshmen were placed into each of the six Freshman Academies this fall: 544 in the Business Academy; 155 in the Education Academy; 446 in the Health Related Sciences Academy; 1363 in the Liberal Arts Academy; 514 in the STEM Academy; and 262 in the Visual and Performing Arts Academy.


The Freshman Academy for Business
Striving for Increased Student Engagement

The Freshman Academy for Business launched this fall with approximately 544 full time Freshman students enrolled. Professors Shele Bannon and Kelly Ford have been working steadily since being chosen as the Faculty Coordinators late last spring in planning the high impact learning experiences, advising the Freshman Coordinators, and participating in meetings with the Faculty Cohorts and Academies Assessment group. All of these activities have been instrumental in providing focus and direction for the Business Academy.

The high impact strategies that have been chosen for the Business Academy are ePortfolio and Writing Intensives. Professor Bannon had firsthand experience with seeing the benefit of the ePortfolio application this summer when she used it with her students in her summer accounting classes. During Freshman First Orientation week, many Business Academy students were signed up onto their e-portfolio account, so they can start to communicate with it immediately in their business classes.

The Faculty Cohorts are an invaluable component of the Freshman Academies, and both Professors Bannon and Ford met with the Business Academy Cohort this fall.  Explains Professor Bannon, "The value of the Faculty Cohort is that it will help us to be flexible in our programming; with the changing population of our students, the Faculty Cohort provides us with regular feedback on assessment, our high impact strategies, and what is working/not working in keeping the students engaged." The Business Academy Faculty Cohort consists of Professor Bannon and Professor Kelly, four full time Business faculty members, one adjunct professor, one faculty member from Liberal Arts, and the Director of the Tutoring Center, Bonnie Cook.  With voluntary participation, the cohort will meet three to four times a year to discuss high impact strategies, the assessment protocol, and how ensure that the activities of the academy are effective for faculty and students. Adds Professor Kelly, "We have had very meaningful discussions about the classroom and the students in the meetings over the summer with faculty who have other perspectives on the approaches we are taking in the Business Academy, which is very helpful."


Meet the Freshman Coordinators
for the Business Academy
Feeling like Rock Stars Walking around Campus!
Freshman Coordinator:
Natalie Roopchand
Freshman Coordinator:
Anna Schneider

The Freshman Academy for Business has two enthusiastic and capable individuals as Freshman Coordinators – Natalie Roopchand and Anna Schneider.  Natalie and Anna work together particularly well as a team, with Natalie being a Queensborough graduate, class of 2006, and a college assistant for four years, and Anna being a brand new member of the Queensborough community, joining us in July of 2009 as a Freshman Coordinator.

Natalie knows Queensborough well, having been a student here and, at the same time, a college assistant in the Offices of Marketing and Admissions and then in the Tutoring Center.  Returning to Queensborough as a Freshman Coordinator after earning her B.B.A. at Baruch College has been rewarding to her.  "I notice that Queensborough is a lot more student-focused than when I was a student here. They know that students are like customers, whom we are here to serve," she comments. 

Anna, a 2008 graduate of Fordham University, has worked one-on-one with students in the past as a tutor, and in registration and advisement at Bramson Art College in Forest Hills. She dove right into the enrollment surge happening at Queensborough and worked hard through Freshman First orientation advising and registering hundreds of new students.

She and Natalie, along with all of the other eight Freshman Coordinators who worked tirelessly to help register the near 4,000 new Freshman students this summer, took the time to carefully explain the Freshman Academies to each and every full-time freshman. They positioned is as, "You are lucky - as a full-time Freshman, based on your major, you are now enrolled in the Freshman Academy for [and states the specific academy].  A key opportunity in the Freshman Academy is having a Freshman Coordinator who is your go-to person. We are here to make your life easier – the one person who is your starting point, who can connect you to financial aid, tutoring and other services you need, so you don't have to run around campus and try to figure out how to deal with all this when you are new. We will also be here to track your success; you will not be forgotten.  Actually, you are getting a lot of services that students get at a private university, but at a much lower cost."

Did the new students feel like this sounded just like high school?  "No," said Anna, "A lot of the high school freshmen are looking for that little bit of comfort, because they really don't know what to expect." Adds Natalie, "They appreciate that we are here for them, and that we are at their level."

With her unique perspective of Queensborough, Natalie sounds amazed at how rapidly the Freshman Coordinators make that personal connection with the new students. "The new students get personalized attention from the first point of contact right after testing! We are right at the get-go to set them straight, and then again in advisement," she explains with a smile on her face.

With all that personal contact, the freshmen become confident in knowing who their Freshman Coordinators are and are not shy about asking for their help. "After Freshman First orientation, we couldn't even walk around campus without a student coming up to us every few steps to ask us a question! It's nice - they aren't scared to come to us," remarks Anna.

However, the goal of the Freshman Coordinators is to do less and less advising as the year progresses. In fact, that is one of the approaches they take as they work with first year students. "We are building relationships with them and nurturing them now, but at the same time we are teaching them what the next steps are, what the paperwork is that they need, to help them to be able to do it on their own next semester.….helping them gain the independence they need to be sure they stay," explains Anna.

Part of this independence happens naturally as the year progresses. They may not know what to expect in the beginning of the semester, but, as Anna explains, "They grow up here once they go through the process – doing their financial aid, registering in the spring, joining a club. Their high school mentality begins to fade away."  In fact, at Freshman First orientation, one of the workshops was entitled, "Stress or Success", which demonstrated that you can either use the resources of the college or you can become stressed in not knowing how to get involved or get the help you need.


High Impact Strategy: ePortfolio
A Different Teaching Paradigm

EPortfolio software creates an online learning environment that facilitates communication, connection and collaboration between students and faculty.  It was introduced to the Queensborough campus in the spring of 2008, and now has 4,000 students and 270 faculty members.  The Business Department was one of the first academic departments of the College to embrace the new tool, seeing the potential of this online communications portal to increase students' engagement in their learning.

Faculty Coordinator Shele Bannon used ePortfolio for the first time in her accounting classes this summer, to great success. There are many features of ePortfolio: chat rooms, social networking, email, and forming study and project groups, but what Professor Bannon had most success with was the "Reflection" tool.  "My students wrote their case studies and then put them up on their ePortfolio sites along with their 'reflection' on their own work. I also could add my own comments – typically of praise and encouragement.  I saw a tremendous improvement in the quality of their work over the summer as they posted their own opinions of their completed work."

Mellisa Khemraj, a Business major with a concentration in Computer Information Systems who plans to graduate in January 2010, has this to say about ePortfolio, "EPortfolio enables an easy and ongoing communication with professors and fellow classmates.  Also, it is an excellent place to upload class assignments and showcase your most outstanding work. "Melissa is one of several ePortfolio student tutors who staff walk-in labs to help students register for and post to their ePortfolios. (See the schedule for the current semester at www.qcc.cuny.edu/eportfolio)

Similar to Blackboard in that it is an online communications environment between faculty and students, ePortfolio moves beyond Blackboard because, "EPortfolio is more student focused; Blackboard is more teacher-oriented," summarized Professor Ford, Faculty Coordinator for the Business Academy.  And therein lies the advantage of teaching with the ePortfolio tool at your disposal: it is an environment that the student can customize, personalize and navigate in, yet faculty may participate as well.

Susan Madera, Acting Administrative Coordinator for the High Impact Learning Strategies, also sees the value of ePortfolio, stating, "ePortfolio is a wonderful tool where students can create an electronic portfolio of their work. This portfolio can be used in many ways and at many different stages of the their academic life: sharing their schoolwork with family and friends, showcasing their best work to four year schools as part of their Admissions Application, or as part of their resume when meeting with a potential employer. ePortfolio was chosen as a High Impact Strategy, as we believe that it will help students to see the connection between learning and the world beyond our campus."

For more information on ePortfolio, look for the ePortfolio e-newsletters sent out from Bruce Naples, Director of the ACC, talk to Ed Hanssen, Assistant Professor of Business and ePortfolio Project Manager or visit the Epsilen ePortfolio site from the link on Queensborough's website homepage.

Next Issue - coming in October:
Focus on the Freshman Academy for Health Related Sciences
Please address your questions or suggestion for a future topic to:  faq@qcc.cuny.edu. Your question will be answered via email and will be included in the next issue of FAQ.