University College

UNCW's First-Year Studies Conference 2022: Cultivating Engagement

The purpose of the FYE Conference is to broaden the conversation on new student populations at UNCW.  This conference is designed to provide a forum for faculty, staff, administrators and graduate students to share their experiences, research, ideas, programs, strategies, and tools integral to supporting the learning, growth and successful transition of students new to UNCW during their first semester/year.

The 2022 FYS Conference will focus on Cultivating Engagement to introduce and encourage active and integrated learning with a student cohort who’s learning experiences have been disrupted by pandemic restrictions, value shifts and economic changes. Students who are engaged cognitively, emotionally, and socially are more likely to make strong connections to the school, have greater academic success, have higher levels of self-efficacy, and value other people and their differences more (Kuh, 2006). This definition of engagement involves both the time and effort of a student’s participation and the energy institutions put towards encouraging this participation (Kuh, 2009).  Groccia (2012, 2018) builds upon this definition by presenting a wholistic view of engagement as the “doing, feeling and thinking” of six key areas of student interactions: with faculty and staff, with other students, in teaching, in learning, with the community, and in research. Join us on April 29th as we seek to Cultivate Engagement through the motivation of doing, the empathy of feeling and the inspiration of thinking in our First Year students at UNCW.

The conference will be held in-person in the Education Building on April 29, 2022 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. All university faculty, staff, administrators and graduate students are invited to attend.



Registration for the FYS Conference is now open!

Register Here!


Call for Proposal Submissions

We invite all UNCW faculty, staff, and graduate students to submit proposals addressing any topic pertinent to the first year of college (freshman and transfer students), preferably incorporating material that will enable UNI instructors to guide students toward adoption and maintenance of these and other healthy habits and competencies. Proposals will be reviewed by the First-Year Studies Team and will be selected based on relevance to first-year experience, appropriateness to session type, contribution to existing body of knowledge, creativity, and ability to engage attendees.

Proposal Deadline and Submissions

Proposals for the 2022 conference are now being accepted! Please submit by March 31st!

Submit your proposal here

Session Types

There are two submission types: concurrent sessions and facilitated discussions.

Concurrent Session

Concurrent sessions are 50 minutes in length (40 minutes of formal presentation and 10 minutes of discussion). This session type is best for those presenting research, an institutional program/initiative, or emerging trends.

 Facilitated Discussions

Facilitated discussions are 50 minutes in length and should incorporate open discussion surrounding a central issue or theme. This type of session should encourage collaborative learning by providing an opportunity to share ideas.

Example Topics

  • Using your first year experience story to connect with students
  • Involving peer mentors in educational initiatives
  • Road maps to success: Is there one?
  • Exploring teaching tools and technology to enhance learning
  • Using reflection to deepen engagement and growth mindset in FYE
  • REST (Relationships, Exercise, Self-Compassion, Transformative Thinking): Breakthrough to Resilience
  • Student Veterans and their Transition
  • Bridging generational gaps in a Transfer Student Seminar



Groccia, J. & M. Hunter (2012). The First-Year Seminar: Designing, Implementing, and Assessing Courses to Support Student Learning and Success: Volume II—Instructor Training and Development. Columbia, SC: The National Resource Center.

Groccia, J. (2018). What Is Student Engagement? Teaching and Learning, 2018: 11-20.

Kuh, G. (2009) “The National Survey of Student Engagement: Conceptual and Empirical Foundations.” New Directions for Institutional Research, No. 141. Wiley Periodicals,

Kuh, G., J. Kinzie, J. Buckley, B. Bridges, & J. Hayek. (2006). What Matters to Student Success: A Review of the Literature. Commissioned Report for the National Symposium on Postsecondary Student Success: Spearheading a Dialog on Student Success.