The First Year Colloquium: Creating a Safe Space for Students to Flourish

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Myriam Vuckovic
Joan B Riley
Brian Floyd


College is one of the most formative times in an individual’s life. Its intense living-learning environment can promote students’ extreme self-confidence and positive development, or alternatively, can result in low levels of well-being. The first year in college is an opportunity for faculty and staff to engage with students to help them build learning skills, a sense of responsibility, and ownership of their college experiences. The aim of this study was to examine the impacts of a first year colloquium on student well-being. In the fall of 2015, 91 entering first year students at a private university in the U.S. participated in a mixed method study using written reflection responses and in a pre/post survey using Keyes (2009) Mental Health Continuum-Short Form (MHC-SF). Gains were seen in psychological well-being with an increase in flourishing as compared to early semester moderate flourishing. Students reported that having one course that provided a safe space for them in their first semester, and that addressed well-being in college, was critical for them to succeed and thrive in their first year.


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How to Cite
Vuckovic, M., Riley, J., & Floyd, B. (2019). The First Year Colloquium: Creating a Safe Space for Students to Flourish. Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 19(2).
Author Biographies

Myriam Vuckovic, Georgetown University

Assistant Professor

Department of International Health

Joan B Riley, Georgetown University

Engelhard Senior Scholar & Associate Professor

Human Science and Nursing Departments, School of Nursing & Health Studies and Center for New Designs in Learning and Scholarship (CNDLS), Georgetown University

Brian Floyd, Georgetown University

Assistant Dean Academic Affairs

Office of Student Academic Affairs, School of Nursing & Health Studies, Georgetown University