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First-Year Experience Program Description

ACE LogoThe First-Year Experience Programs (FYEP) assists students in achieving a successful transition into Dillard University during their first year of college.  This mission is accomplished through the coordination of the First-year Learning Communities, First-Year Seminars, University Convocation, Academic Advising, Service Learning, and Academic Success Workshops.  The goal for the FYEP is to provide first-year students with the support needed to become active and engaged members of the Dillard community.


First-Year Learning Communities (FLCs)

The FLC model utilized at Dillard is based on the intentional placement of first-year students in restricted academic communities to enhance their academic matriculation and orientation to collegiate life.  Within these communities there are structural components implemented to increase students’ aptitude for success.  Nationally, learning communities are a proven strategy to improve academic success because learning communities facilitate the establishment of peer groups around academic interests and social development (Brownell & Swaner, 2009; Kuh, 2008).  The ability to fully integrate academically and socially into the institution contributes to a student’s ability to successfully navigate their higher education experience (Boyer, 1990; Tinto, 2003). 


Benefits and organization of FLCs

  • Coordination of 3-4 general education courses that are linked through curriculum and assignments
  • Facilitation of intentional interaction and experiences to create a smoother transition from high school to university life
  • Directed and more frequent connections with other students and faculty, as well as the overall campus and New Orleans communities
  • Attainment of higher GPAs, increased retention rates and decreased time-to-graduation

Service Learning

Service learning is an identified high-impact practice (Kuh, 2008; AAC&U, 2008) which contributes to students remaining in college and becoming more engaged students and citizens.  Service learning is faculty driven and creates opportunities for students to engage with faculty in the application of the knowledge acquired in their courses to real world problems within their communities.  Dillard University requires that students complete 60 hours of service-learning to complete their degree requirements for graduation. 


Benefits and organization of Service Learning

  • The FYEP coordinates the service learning projects and requirements for all first-year students.
  • ACE is the coordinating unit for all service learning initiatives for the University. 

Supplemental Instruction (SI)

Supplemental Instruction is a national model using peer education to connect high-achieving students with students enrolled in courses with high failure and withdrawal rates who are at-risk of failing the course.  There has been 30% reduction in fail rates over the 2 years the program was implemented.


Benefits and organization of SI

  • Expansion of the existing program from only Science courses to include seven general education courses that are required for students to meet graduation requirements
  • Establishment of an institutional culture that approaches SI as standard part of the academic experience and recognizes the necessity of encouraging students to collaborate on academic efforts
  • Creation of an environment for successful students to role model appropriate academic behavior to students who are struggling, leading to positive academic outcomes


2601 Gentilly Boulevard
New Orleans, Louisiana 70122

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