Challenges facing first-year students are topic of presentation

Western Carolina University has invited John N. Gardner, an educator and student retention specialist, to talk about the challenges and issues facing first-year college students.

John N. Gardner

John N. Gardner

Gardner will lead a discussion, which will include how the student affairs and academic affairs areas can work together to address those concerns, scheduled for Tuesday, March 27, at 7 p.m. in the Grandroom of the University Center.

Gardner is executive director and his wife, Betsy O. Barefoot, is co-director of the Policy Center on the First Year of College, based in Brevard. The center helps colleges and universities assess the experiences of first-year students in order to improve student learning and retention. Gardner’s special area of expertise in higher education for almost 30 years has been the creation of programs to enhance the learning, success, retention and graduation of students in transition, especially first-year students. He also has developed a focus on the senior-year college experience.

“We are delighted to have such an authority here to talk with us about these vital issues,” said Robert Caruso, vice chancellor for student affairs at Western. “I am confident that Dr. Gardner’s ideas and insight will be especially valuable for student affairs and academic affairs administrators and for interested faculty and staff who are welcome to join us for the presentation in March.”

The presentation, titled “Perspectives on the First Year Experience: Implications for Student Affairs and Academic Affairs,” is latest in the Student Affairs Scholars Series at Western.

The presentation is free and open to the public. For further information, call the Office of Student Affairs at (828) 227-7234.