“A Cohort of Our Own” by Lisa Riccomini

March 20, 2012

When Rafi invited us to research a conference for Building Connections for Success faculty and staff members to participate in, we didn’t have to look far because the First Year Experience Conference has a long standing track record of excellence in research and inquiries into trending pedagogy for freshman around the country and beyond. We gathered an outstanding team of fourteen faculty members from five Building Connections for Success cohorts: Health and Human Development, College of Business and Math, Undecided, Social and Behavioral Sciences and our newest addition, College of Science and Math, as well as our Peer Mentor Coordinator, our Career Advisor and the Director of Academic Advising for College of Science and Math.

This conference was significant to our project for so many reasons. Perhaps most importantly, we really had an opportunity to become our own cohort, a community of faculty who come from different disciplines and who have different academic interests. But we all have made student success a big part of our “life’s work.”  We shared ideas, questions, concerns. We shared our thoughts about issues affecting students in each of our disciplines. We shared our strengths as educators and researchers with each other. We sought advice from each other. Many of us attended the same panel or roundtable sessions–we shared learning experiences.  We shared our own experiences as undergraduate students. We ate together and got to know each other as colleagues and as friends. We did what we want our students to do in the Freshman Connection.

As we move into the third year of this grant, I am inspired by my colleagues. Our students are facing many obstacles to success, but they have the best friends they could ever hope for in the faculty here at CSUN.

Lisa Riccomini teaches Freshman Seminar, Upper and Lower division writing courses in the English Department at California State University, Northridge. Riccomini has been teaching at California State University, Northridge for 10 years and currently serves as the Discipline-Based Freshman Connection Program Coordinator for Building Connections for Success.