The U.S. higher education system is changing rapidly as more diverse student populations matriculate with unique sets of needs and goals. To accommodate students and establish educational plans for successful degree completion, institutions acknowledge the importance of the first-year experience. By providing practitioners with an easy-to-use guide on ways to successfully implement 12 different programs for a first-year experience, authors Gerald Greenfield, Jennifer Keup, and John Gardner describe resources and outlines that contribute to improved focus on student success by institutionalizing the responsibility and leadership of the first-year transition among all key players on campus.
As they dive into this guide, advisors quickly see that each chapter highlights one program, giving the option to read the guide as a whole or select the chapters that cover the programs of interest. Although advisors may not necessarily oversee these programs in their entirety, such as new student orientation or summer bridge programs, they still may find that the guide, particularly the chapter on advising, provides helpful tools or questions that can assist in refining or developing initiatives for first-year students.
The authors intentionally clarify the reasons a program benefits an institution by applying well-known student development theories and research to back up their recommendations. As institutions grapple with scarce resources and division among departments, stakeholders can use this evidence to convince individual constituents, such as the faculty, on campus to support a new initiative. The guide provides case studies of programs being conducted across various institutions and for diverse student populations. For example, the book features programs at community colleges, which may have larger populations of adult learners, ethnic minorities, and low-income students than traditional 4-year institutions. Advisors may need specific resources to help nontraditional students reach their goals.
The authors continuously remind readers that the highlighted programs provide points of reference from which educators can extract ideas that can be modified within each institution to fit its capacity and culture. Because the authors take a nonprescriptive approach, some practitioners may dislike the repetitive and broad recommendations provided. Advisors looking for in-depth information on a particular program or assessment tool may want to consider a book that focuses solely on that specific program.
Although many of the reviewed programs may be housed in multiple units across campus, advisors will acquire an understanding of the various components and dynamics being utilized to enhance the first-year experience. This knowledge can foster improved and effective communication across departments. In a time that higher education is being evaluated, stakeholders need to ensure that funded programs pave the way for diverse students to achieve academic, personal, and professional success that extends beyond the first year. This guide can be an essential resource for both new and old advisors looking for new ideas or approaches from which to assess their institution's commitment to first-year student success.
Reviews posted since the last Journal issue include (readers may find complete reviews for referenced books on the Journal's web site at http://www.nacada.ksu.edu/Resources/Journal/Current-Past-Book-Reviews/articleType/ArticleView/articleId/3301/Book-Review-Index-for-Issue-351.aspx):
2012–2013 National Survey of First-Year Seminars: Exploring High-Impact Practices in the First College Year. (2014). Book by Dallin Young and Jessica Hopp. Review by Jarrod Ennis Patterson. Columbia, SC: National Resource Center. 132 pp., $25.00. ISBN 978-1-889721-90-3.
The Art of Thinking Clearly. (2013). Book by Rolf Dobelli. Review by Laura R. Pittman. New York, NY: Harper Collins. 384 pp., $25.99. ISBN 978-0-06-221968-8.
Aspiring Adults Adrift. (2014). Book by Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa. Review by Alison Sommers. Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press. 264 pp., $18.00 (paperback). ISBN 9780226197289.
Breaking Night: A Memoir of Forgiveness, Survival, and My Journey From Homeless to Harvard. (2011). Book by Liz Murray. Review by Maria Vita Calkins. New York, NY: Hyperion. 352 pp., $14.99. ISBN 978-1-401-31059-2.
Called to Serve: A Handbook on Student Veterans and Higher Education. (2012). Book by Florence A. Hammrick and Corey B. Rumann (Eds.). Review by Arian Adducchio. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley. 368 pp., $45.00. ISBN 978-1-118-17676-4.
Choices for College Success. (2014). Book by Steve Piscitelli. Review by Paul Donaldson. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall. 281 pp., $70.93 (paperback). ISBN 978-0-321-95250-9.
Choosing a Career in International Development: A Practical Guide to Working in the Professions of International Development. (2013). Book by Donovan Russell. Review by Jeremy J. Hernandez. VirtualBookWorm.com. 252 pp., $19.95 (paperback). ISBN 978-1-62137-363-6.
College Men and Masculinities: Theory, Research, and Implications for Practice. (2010). Book by Shaun R. Harper and Frank Harris III (Eds.). Review by Brendan Wright. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. 616 pp., $68.00 (paperback). ISBN 978-0-470-44842-7.
College: What It Was, Is and Should Be. (2012). Book by Andrew Delbanco. Review by Shannon Lynn Burton. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. 229 pp., $24.95. ISBN 9780691130736.
Connecting Learning Across the Institution (New Directions for Higher Education, No. 185). (2014). Book by Pamela L. Eddy (Ed.). Review by Amy Burns. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. 136 pp., $29.00 (paperback). ISBN 978-1-118-88346-4.
A Country for All: An Immigrant Manifesto. (2010). Book by Jorge Ramos. Review by Matthew Hickey. New York, NY: Random House. 173 pp., $14.95 (paperback). ISBN 978-0-307-47554.
Creating Successful Multicultural Initiatives in Higher Education and Student Affairs. (2013). Book by Sherry Watt and Jodi Linley (Eds.). Review by David M. Anderson. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. 107 pp., $29.00. ISBN 987-1-118-83483-1.
Curriculum-Based Assessment: A Primer (4th ed.). (2013). Book by Charles Hargis. Review by Daniel Shelnutt. Springfield, IL: Charles C Thomas. 214 pp., $33.95 (paperback). ISBN 978-0-398-08868-2.
Developing and Sustaining Successful First-Year Programs: A Guide for Practitioners. (2013). Book by Gerald M. Greenfield, Jennifer R. Keup, and John N. Gardner. Review by Melissa Gudiel. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. 368 pp., $42.00. ISBN 978-0-470-60334-5.
Diversity & Motivation: Culturally Responsive Teaching in College. (2009). Book by Margery B. Ginsberg and Raymond J. Wlodkowski. Review by Gerasimos Kokkinos. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. 464 pp., $48.00. ISBN 978-0-7879-9611-6.
Do Good Well: Your Guide to Leadership, Action and Social Innovation. (2013). Book by Nina Vasan and Jennifer Przybylo. Review by Allison Ramsing. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. 576 pp., $30.00 (paperback). ISBN 978-1-1183-8294-3.
Doing the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning: Measuring Systematic Changes to Teaching and Improvements in Learning. (2014). Book by Regan A. R. Gurung and Janie H. Wilson (Eds.). Review by Don Presnell. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. 128 pp., $29.00 (paperback). ISBN 978-118-83867-9.
Generation on a Tightrope. (2012). Book by Arthur Levine and Diane Dean. Review by Matthew Jeffries. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. 256 pp., $40.00. ISBN 978-0-470-37629-4.
A House in the Sky. (2013). Book by Amanda Lindhout and Sara Corbett. Review by Holli Fergus. New York, NY: Scribner. 384 pp., $27.00. ISBN 978-1-4516-4560-6.
How to Be a Person: The Stranger's Guide to College, Sex, Intoxicants, Tacos, and Life Itself. (2012). Book by Lindy West, Dan Savage, Christopher Frizzelle, and Bethany J. Clement. Review by Rene Alvarez. Seattle, WA: Sasquatch Books. 272 pp., $16.95 (paperback). ISBN 9781570618352.
I Can Finish College. (2012). Book by Marcia Y. Cantarella. Review by Kristin M. Mauro. Naperville, IL: Sourcebooks. 288 pp., $12.99 (paperback). ISBN 978-1-4022-7275-2.
I Just Graduated…Now What? (2014). Book by Katherine Schwarzenegger. Review by Marilee Teasley. New York, NY: Crown. 288 pp., $20.00 (paperback). ISBN 978-0-385-34720-4.
An Invisible Thread: The True Story of an 11-Year-Old Panhandler, a Busy Sales Executive, and an Unlikely Meeting With Destiny. (2011). Book by Laura Schroff and Alex Tresniowski. Review by Atiya Jackson. Nashville, TN: Howard Books. 272 pp., $15.99 (paperback). ISBN 978-1-4516-4897-3.
Mentoring At-Risk Students Through the Hidden Curriculum of Higher Education. (2013). Book by Buffy Smith. Review by Rachel Goldfarb. Blue Ridge Summit, PA: Lexington Books. 194 pp., $60.00. ISBN 978-0-7391-6566-9.
The Mobile Academy: mLearning for Higher Education. (2011). Book by Clark N. Quinn. Review by Imani Fredricks-Lowman. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. 144 pp., $40.00 (paperback). ISBN 978-1-118-07265-3.
The Naked Roommate: For Parents Only. (2012). Book by Harlan Cohen. Review by Tiffany Shaleen Reardon. Naperville, IL: Sourcebooks. 478 pp., $14.99 (paperback). ISBN 978-1-4022-6756-7.
The Opposite of Loneliness. (2014). Book by Marina Keegan. Review by Jessica McCabe. New York, NY: Scribner. 240 pp., $23.00 (paperback). ISBN 978-1-476-75361-4.
The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business. (2014). Book by Charles Duhigg. Review by Raquel Fong. New York, NY: Random House. 416 pp., $16.00 (paperback). ISBN 978-780812-981605.
Professors' Guide to Getting Good Grades in College. (2006). Book by Lynn F. Jacobs and Jeremy S. Hyman. Review by Kyle W. Ross. New York, NY: Collins Reference. 368 pp., $15.99 (paperback). ISBN 978-0-06-087908-2.
Several Short Sentences About Writing. (2012). Book by Verlyn Klinkenborg. Review by Mark Duslak. New York, NY: Vintage Books. 220 pp., $15.00 (paperback). ISBN 978-0-307-27941-5.
The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human. (2012). Book by Jonathan Gottschall. Review by Faith Enemark. New York, NY: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 272 pp., $14.95 (paperback). ISBN 978-0-544-00243-0.
Supporting Online Students: A Guide to Planning, Implementing, and Evaluating Services. (2012). Book by Anita Crawley. Review by Lydia Cross. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. 288 pp., $40.00. ISBN 978-1-118-07654-5.
Think: Why You Should Question Everything. (2013). Book by Guy P. Harrison. Review by Martha Reck. Amherst, NY: Prometheus. 240 pp., $16.95 (paperback). ISBN 978-1-61614-807-2.
Your Complete Guide to College Success: How to Study Smart, Achieve Your Goals, and Enjoy Campus Life. (2013). Book by Donald J. Foss. Review by Dana R. Barnes. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. 295 pp., $29.95 (paperback). ISBN 978-1-4338-1296-5.