On April 28, Dr. Lisa Angermeier was named the 2017 recipient of the Barbara D. Jackson Outstanding First-Year Student Advocate Award. This award recognizes and celebrates the efforts of IUPUI faculty, staff, and administrators who provide leadership in creating a positive learning environment for first-year students.
When Angermeier taught her first First-Year Seminar classes in 2008, it was clear that there was not enough consistency in curriculum and that students were lacking connection in the classroom and to the mission of the school. From 2009-2014, Angermeier went about standardizing the curriculum, changing the course schedule to increase face-time in the crucial early weeks of the semester, and incorporating service-learning opportunities, a particularly strong traditional for PETM.
In 2015, then-Dean Jay Gladden named Angermeier the school’s first Coordinator for First-Year Experience. In this role, she is empowered to make decisions that benefit PETM’s first year students and provide them with a connection to the school as a whole.
The impact these practices have had on students is substantial. Even as PETM has seen significant growth in first year student population, the retention rate has remained higher than the campus average. Most notably, 1-year retention was up 4.8% over 2015, even with the school’s largest ever cohort of first year students. In the 2015-2016 academic year, nearly 95% of PETM first year students reported engaging in some form of high impact practice, well above the campus average of 75.8%.
Angermeier also brings her expertise to the campus-level, sharing best practices with IUPUI’s First-Year Seminar Faculty Learning Community, Themed Learning Communities (TLC) Advisory Board, and through a fellowship with University College dedicated to creating an online resource directory for First-Year Seminar instructors.
She was nominated for the Barbara D. Jackson Outstanding First-Year Student Advocate Award by Dr. Rachel Swinford, who has been closely involved with the school’s first-year programs, including the initial curriculum overhaul in 2008. “It is such a pleasure to watch firsthand how Lisa works to build community among her first-year students,” Swinford wrote. “I currently have several of Lisa’s Summer Bridge students in class and it’s amazing to see the bond that these students have and to hear them talk about their experiences from ‘Dr. A’s’ Bridge section.”
Gladden lent his support to her nomination as well, calling Angermeier a “tireless advocate for enhancing the first-year experience for our students” and a “diligent student of best practices across campus.”
Receiving the award this year holds a special significance, as Angermeier is the first recipient not to have worked directly with Jackson, former Dean of University College. Upon presenting Angermeier with the award, Jackson shared her pride in the legacy of her mission, and acknowledged that Angermeier represents the sustainability of these programs.
For her part, Angermeier is thrilled to be recognized for something that she loves to do. Always looking for ways to improve her teaching and curriculum, Angermeier invested six-weeks this spring in the Learning Communities Faculty Scholars (LCFS) Course through Kennesaw State University. “Participating in this class was an excellent opportunity for thinking and reflecting,” said Angermeier. “I am excited to share my thoughts and reflections from this course with our team, as we collaborate to move our TLC program forward.”