First-Year Experience
Georgia Southern University

Leading Conversations with Professors

CwP is 75-minute program the day before classes begin, designed to promote a conversation between a faculty member and a group of students in his or her college about how to get off to a successful start during the first week of classes. It is an opportunity for faculty members to help new students understand their roles as student learners and to express faculty expectations for student engagement.

CwP Goals and Student Learning Outcomes


  • Provide an academic welcome for students brand-new to the college classroom.
  • Prepare students for the first week of classes.
  • Discuss and model positive faculty student relationships.
  • Demonstrate that faculty care about student success, provided that students care about their own success too!
  • Answer student questions.

CwP Student Learning Outcomes

  • Students will describe appropriate classroom behaviors and ways of interacting with college faculty.
  • Students will describe the importance of the college syllabus to their academic success and how to use the information contained in the syllabus.
  • Students will create a final schedule before the last day of drop/add, and preferably before classes begin.
Conversations with Professors takes place on Sunday before classes begin, from 3:30 until 4:45 p.m. Students are enrolled in a section by their academic college during their summer SOAR session. Faculty who volunteer to assist are assigned to a section composed of students in his or her college. Sections cap at about 30.
Student “Conversations Assistants” (CAs)

Faculty in each Conversation will have a student “Conversations Assistant” (CA). CAs are integral parts of the Conversations experience for several reasons. They will handle the administrative tasks of taking roll, for instance. But more substantively, their presence in the Conversation is meant to model the types of productive relationships faculty and students should develop. Accordingly, faculty members are encouraged to identify a student with whom they have a good relationship and ask if he or she would be willing to assist in the program. However, if you are having difficulty identifying a student who is available to assist or would rather not identify one yourself, the FYE office will be happy to assign one to you.


Narrative comments in both the faculty and student assessments are not included because of identifying remarks.

CwP Resources
FYE-Provided Resources 
We provide four resources directly to students through a news post in your course in Folio.  Here are the links for Summer 2017:

  1. First-Week Survival Guide, written by Georgia Southern students, for Georgia Southern students.
  2. Folio vocabulary and short tutorials about how to access content, submit dropboxes, take quizzes and more.  This is a Folio page and therefore not directly linkable here.
  3.  “Our Advice to the Class of 2021” brochure, which was mailed home to students beginning in fall semester.
  4. Semester at a Glance, current semester:  both a sample with test and paper dates added (in .pdf) and a blank copy in .docx for students to use themselves.  The idea is that students plan in the first week by combining the major assignments from the syllabus into a single one-page document.

We don’t think it important for faculty to spend considerable time discussing these resources, but we would like the faculty member or student assistant to make sure new students are aware the resources exist.

Other Resources, for Faculty

Sample outline for Conversations with Faculty Session (.pdf)

by Jessica Orvis, Chemistry Department

Differences between High School and College (.doc)

Three pages of tables compare “Following the Rules in High School” to “Choosing Responsibly in College.” “High School Teachers” are compared to “College Professors.” “Tests in High School” vs. “Tests in College,” and “Grades in High School” vs. “Grades in College” are also a part of this table. Aspects of the “Advice to the Class of 2021” brochure were adapted from this site and are used with permission.

Conversations with Professors quiz (.doc)

The James Madison Conversations with Professors quiz can be given in small groups and used to initiate student participation. There are four questions that ask things like “1. Do you think it’s important that your faculty members know who you are? If yes, what actions will you take to get to know them?”

Habits of Successful Students (off site; for handout click here)

This link has a table of eight choices of successful students make in contrast to the choices struggling students make. The successful student choices include accepting personal responsibility, discovering a motivating purpose, taking purposeful actions, demonstrating interdependence, gaining self awareness, becoming life-long learners, developing emotional intelligence, and believing in themselves.

Developing Good Relationships with Faculty (a.k.a. “Twelve Ways Not to Annoy Your Professors”) (.pdf)

From knowing your professor’s name to not letting the door slam behind you, this handout covers some of Chris Caplinger’s favorite pieces of advice for new students. Feel free to use this in its entirety or as a spring board for your on ideas on how students can develop good relationships with faculty–and avoid annoying them!

Sample syllabi in common first-year courses

“Myths about the Scholarly Side of University Life” by Dr. Stephanie Kenney and her assistant Jennifer Odom (.doc)

Top Ten Things Professors Appreciate in Research Assignments by Lisa Smith (.doc)

Conversations Bookmark by Todd Deal (.doc)

Last updated: 1/23/2018

First-Year Experience • P.O. Box 8145 Statesboro, GA 30460 • (912) 478-3939 •