One of the challenges that face each campus office is the charge to impact the new population of students and construct meaningful connections. With nearly 6,000 First-Time in College students, First Year Advising and Exploration is constantly seeking innovative techniques to establish relationships with students at the start of the semester.

Each FYAE advisor has a population that averages 400 students with diverse backgrounds and varying levels of academic for personal needs. Because of these distinctive circumstances, FYAE advisors met to discuss how to enact the first phase of their advising model Appreciative Advising: Disarm. According to the website Appreciative Advising (, academic advisors are responsible to “make a positive first impression with the student, build rapport and create a safe, welcoming space.”  FYAE decided to have an Open House with Jenna Nobili taking the lead.

The September 5 and 6 Open House included a check-in station in which students signed in and had their choice of three prizes: I-Phone cover, water bottle, or drawstring bag backpack. Students were then directed to the front desk to find out the name of their academic advisor and to schedule an appointment. An additional incentive for scheduling an appointment included receiving 500 LINK Loot points and 91 students decided to utilize this opportunity.

Students mingled with their assigned advisor and received information about campus resources such as Supplemental Instruction and peer tutoring offered by the Student Academic Resource Center as well as tutoring in the Math Lab provided by the Math department.

The Open House was a success with 104 students in attendance. FYAE is exploring more ways to continue building positive relationships with students throughout this academic year.  FYAE is an office in the Division of Student Development and Enrollment Services.