First Year Programs and Student Ready Departments

Area Mission Statement and Key Functions

First Year Programs provides new City Tech students with guided pathways to ease their college transition while supporting their academic success.

Lauri Aguirre, First Year Programs director; email:

FYP opportunities for students:

  • FYP offers First Year Immersion programs for incoming and continuing students with developmental needs
    • FYSP summer immersion courses/workshops
    • January Immersion workshops
  • First Year Learning Communities (FYLC) for first and second semester students
    • First Year Learning Communities (FYLC) are 2 or more courses with the same students enrolled, linked with an interdisciplinary theme, providing an innovative way for students to learn while forming bonds.
    • Peer Mentoring services for students enrolled in FYLCs, ENG1101CO and any student requesting peer mentoring support
      • If you are a First-Year student at City Tech who would like to have a Peer Mentor, please fill out this form: Sign Up for a Peer Mentor!
      • For information and to apply to be a peer mentor is found here.
  • Our student handbook: The Companion for the First Year at City Tech
  • Student Workshops
    • Math prep prior to each semester in August and January
    • Student Success Workshops guided by peer mentors
    • Improving Your Study Skills (self-paced interactive online workshop). You learn more about the program here.
  • FYP for Faculty:
    • We support the adoption of high impact practices including the coordination of interdisciplinary curriculum and professional development for our faculty through:
      • Collaboration with City Tech’s Faculty Commons
      • Professional development for FYSP and FYLC faculty

How FYP contributes to student retention and persistence:
We like to believe that all our academic and student support initiatives contribute to persistence and retention. However, we do assess the following initiatives regarding student persistence and academic momentum:

FYLC Outcomes
City Tech offered a total of 16 learning communities during AY 2019-20 to 414 students.

  • Fall 2019 FYLCs had 4% fewer withdrawals, 2% better persistence, and more passing grades than Fall 2019 non-FYLC students
  • Persistence: FYLC retained 2% more students than non-participating first-time freshmen.
    FYLC 79% (426/542) vs Comparison Group 77% (5164/6668) (First to second semester)
  • Withdrawal rate: FYLC had 4% fewer withdrawals from similar courses than non-participating first-time freshmen. FYLC 13% (71/542) vs Comparison Group 17% (1165/6668)
  • Passing grades: FYLC students earned 10% more passing grades (A-C) in their first semester than non-participating first-time freshmen. FYLC 69% (374/542) earned A-C grades vs Comparison Group 59% (3904/6668) received A-C grades

FYSP Summer Immersion Momentum outcomes:
Results summer 2018:

  • FYSP developmental Math students earned 2.54 more credits in 1 semester and 4.96 more credits after 2 semesters than students who do not take summer immersion developmental math courses.
  • FYSP developmental English students earned 2.9 more credits in 1 semester and 3.98 more credits after 2 semesters than students who do not take summer immersion developmental English courses.

FYP opportunities for collaboration

  • Increase awareness of our student workshops and peer mentor support
  • Share the Companion more widely (see link to online version above)
  • FYP is integral to the Student-Ready College steering committee and activities, such as Connect Day (departmental orientation sessions), PLAN Week, New Student Connection (college orientation). We would like to improve the vibrancy and participation in these college-wide events.

Transfer Advising Tool

Here is a tool that is designed for use by faculty assisting transfer students. I has been adopted by other departments and has helped HMGT faculty feel more confident when advising transfer students. Let me know if you want to learn more about adapting this to your department’s needs or creating another tool to assist faculty as they develop their academic advising practices.

Flowchart circles update 01.17.19 Final

2021 Cohort

  • Computer System Technology: Elizabeth Milonas and Yu-Wen Chen
  • Law and Paralegal Studies: Marissa Moran and Jeannette Espinoza
  • Electrical and Telecommunications Engineering: Li Geng and Zory Marantz
  • Restorative Dentistry: Laura Andreescu and Daniel Alter

Philosophy of Academic Advisement

personal advisement philosophy_kc

Academic advisement should be a door of opportunity for all students. The college and the advisor should aim to provide for each student an inviting and comfortable physical environment to help foster a respectful, professional and effective interaction. As an architect in the dept of architectural technology, I am acutely aware of the significance, power and potential of our built environment. It can offer a foundation for establishing conducive conditions for all facets of human activity including academic advisement.

Once the optimal physical conditions are in place, the advisor should then aim to provide an atmosphere where students are able to freely express their concerns, interests, ambitions and dreams and be open and trusting to discuss any difficulties, fears or obstacles for their current role as students, and concerns or questions about their future role in the career-based working world.

The above is based on my experience in advising hundreds of students over the past 11 years.  Since 2008, I’ve met with students from across the department who come from around the block or from around the world, each with a uniqueness all their own. In order to offer useful guidance and support for our students and their academic lives – which is inevitably linked to their personal, family or work situations – it is vital to approach advisement with a big picture/holistic view. We should aim to help our students find awareness of their own realistic potential, to impart the importance of honesty, to help develop, enhance and nurture the skillsets needed for success on their own path forward.  Wayfinding in college, with clarity and practice of patience, helps prepare a student for wayfinding in the real working world ahead.

Joanne Weinreb Advising Philosophy

“When a word comes from the heart, it enters the heart. And when it leaves the tongue [only], it does not pass through the ears.” Moshe ibn Ezra (1055-1140)

 These words stated one thousand years ago still apply today. When people speak with each other with care, those sentiments are felt and the advice is sooner taken. This certainly holds true for the conversation between an advisor and a student. I want to focus on three aspects of the advising relationship:  honesty, accessibility and individualization.


Advice given to each student should be tailored to that individual. For each program there are essential courses and requisite GPA that all students must take. The individualization goes beyond that to understand what the interests and future plans of the students are and how their school experience can help them achieve these goals.


Honesty must be present from both sides. The student should be honest and realistic both with themselves and with the advisor. An advisor must openly and honestly represent what the students’ options are. Additionally, a student must be able to trust the advisor to follow up on what was promised.


Students should understand when and where information is available.



Scavenger Hunt Reflections – Joanne and Chris

Our overall impression from walking around was that many of the departments make attempts at being informative to students.

  • Most have advising hours posted (one calls it problem solving hours)
  • Postings about potential jobs or internships
  • Information about tutoring
  • Student department specific club
  • Other informational resources.

    An overall feeling that we got was that the information was dry and often times the negative shouted out the positive. I.e. you can do this BUT….

  • The sign in the lounge area was Music can be played (a nice message) but then in BOLD and UNDERLINED – DURING CLUB HOURS ONLY.
  • The “Welcome center” was closed when we got there and right outside was a screen that said “DO NOT TOUCH”
  • 24 HOUR ELECTRONIC SURVEILLANCE sign in red by the lounge are.

Informative post

Not overly welcoming.

Active student academic club

Information about tutoring

Job postings

A warm and welcoming message (on a drab sheet of paper)

Two images taken from areas where students can go to relax – both stressing the negative rather than the positive.

M. Giuliani – Philosophy

Maria Giuliani
Advisement Philosophy: Welcoming – Understanding – Comprehensive

  • Always welcoming.
  • Be understanding of the student and his/her goals and future. To be able to offer better advisement, I must maintain current with industry and understand the differences between the areas of Communication Design and the curriculum that we offer.
  • Continue to offer solutions and guidance with our audit, registration, articulation agreements, course subs, course checklist and mapping, department orientations and others (Areas that students often ask about or have concerns). Be positive and fast and assure students that many things can be resolved.