Academic Skills, Community Engaged, Leadership, and Global Themed First-Year Seminars: Comparisons in Student Success

Lynn M. Boettler, Kennesaw State University
Ruth A. Goldfine, Kennesaw State University
Don W. Leech, Valdosta State University
Gerald R. Siegrist, Valdosta State University


In this study, retention and academic performance of students enrolled in four different versions of a first-year seminar at a large, public 4-year university were compared for a 2-year period. The first-year seminars examined were 3-credit courses with either traditional, global, community engagement, or leadership themes and were essentially required of all first-year, full-time students. Statistical analysis using logistic regression and analysis of covariance were employed to determine whether differences existed. In addition, the variables of gender, race, high school grade point average, American College Testing/Scholastic Aptitude Test scores, type of instructor (full time or part time), and enrollment in a learning community were considered covariates in data analysis. The study revealed no significant differences in first-year to second-year retention rate or in academic performance as measured by college grade point average for the four different versions of the seminar; however, enrollment in a learning community did have significant impact on retention, even after controlling for covariates known to strongly affect retention.