Kansas State University


K-State First

Highlights from the 37th Annual First-Year Experience Conference

In February of this year, eight faculty and staff members from K-State attended the 37th Annual First-Year Experience Conference in San Antonio, Texas. Those who attended were the K-State First team members, Gregory Eiselein, Mandi McKinley, Mariya Vaughan, and Brent Weaver, and our colleagues, Dr. Stephanie Bannister, Tara Coleman, Dr. Emily Lehning, and RJ Youngblood. We learned a lot from other higher learning institutions and also presented our own work to emphasize how K-State continues to be a leader in first-year experience programming.

Members of our K-State First team and campus partners presented on a variety of topics related to collaboration and first-year experience program best-practices.

Stephanie Bannister, Gregory Eiselein, and Emily Lehning presented on and facilitated the workshop, “Student Affairs and Faculty Collaborations: Barriers, Strategy, Success.” The session invited participants to re-examine issues of conflict and collaboration in the development of first-year programs. The workshop focused on the structural, political, and human challenges to collaboration, while moving toward an understanding of effective methods to address those challenges.

Tara Coleman, Chair of the KSBN program, and Mariya Vaughan presented “Common Book Selection: Game of Thrones Edition” which highlighted the process of maintaining and supporting a large common book selection committee.┬áSelecting a common book can feel like a battle for the Iron Throne. To ensure that our book isn’t chosen by the faction with the biggest dragon (power) or biggest cache of gold (resources), we employ various strategies to ensure the rightful heir is crowned the ruler of Westeros (K-State). The session provided an insight into the committee selection, data collection processes, and qualitative coding used to determine the final book. We also shared specific strategies that have helped us keep our selection process equitable while validating our claim to the throne and avoiding tyrant kings. You can view the full presentation on our K-Rex page.

Overall it was a great learning experience and a chance to continue our collaboration and partnerships across our own and other universities. We look forward to attending and presenting at the 38th FYE conference next year!

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