Connected at the HIP: Exploring Quality Dimensions in First-Year Seminars for Student-Athletes

Nikola Grafnetterova – Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi
Chelsie L. Hawkinson – Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi
Rachel L. Rodriguez – Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi

First-year seminars have been identified as a high-impact practice resulting in heightened academic performance, retention, and skill attainment (Kuh, 2008). Many higher education institutions offer exclusive sections of this transition course to first-year student-athletes, but a lack of research exists about their curriculum and learning outcomes. As such, this study sought to examine the design of first-year seminars for student-athletes as it relates to their quality implementation. The review of syllabi and institutional websites revealed that first-year seminars address a wide range of student-athlete needs, and for the most part, meet the expectations of HIP quality dimensions. Yet, this study found that a more focused and intentional approach when designing these courses would be beneficial in producing desired high-impact educational outcomes. The study concludes with implications for practice as well as recommendations for future research. First-year seminar instructors can utilize this study as a guide on how to evaluate their curriculum design and implementation in terms of quality measures.