Policy Academic Governance First Year Experience Coordinator Roles and Responsibilities

First Year Experience Coordinator Roles and Responsibilities

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These guidelines describe the role and responsibilities of the First Year Experience Co-ordinator.


All first year coordinators.

Policy and Procedures

Role Description

All undergraduate programs will be responsible for establishing a co-ordinated response to the First Year Experience to assist commencing students in their transition to University, as part of the broader University-wide response.

The primary role of First Year Experience Co-ordinator/s is to lead and co-ordinate the academic orientation and strategies supporting the successful transition of commencing students.  First Year Experience Co-ordinators will also take a leadership role in curriculum development.

Leadership and co-ordination responsibilities will focus on the following outcomes:

  • Develop students’ sense of purpose

- Take a leadership role in coordinating, in collaboration with academic and professional staff, activities for all commencing students that clarify university expectations and course choice, engage, inspire and support academic success and career development.

  • Provide opportunities for student engagement

- Foster student-student and student–staff interaction and encourage students to be active participants in their learning

- Welcome the rich diversity of resources that students bring, with special consideration for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, students for whom English is not first language, students with disability, students who are the first in their family to attend University and students studying at a distance.

  • Build resilience

- Work with students and professional and academic staff, to support students to become independent learners who are resilient when faced with expected/unexpected challenges

  • Promote quality learning and teaching experiences

- Work with the course coordinator to liaise between academic staff to intentionally develop first year curriculum in accordance with the First Year Curriculum Design principles to support successful transition

- Work with the course coordinator to liaise between academic staff to promote vertical curriculum development.

The First Year Experience Co-ordinator names and contact details for each undergraduate program is widely published in course outlines, LearnJCU staff details and other print and web resources as deemed appropriate.

Appointment Process

First Year Experience Co-ordinator/s, are permanent profile academic staff, appointed for each undergraduate program or a cluster of related programs. Expressions of interest will be sought to identify suitable candidates.

The College Dean will select the suitable candidate/s.  First Year Experience Co-ordinators will be appointed in November.

The Course Coordinator in the case of programs with small enrolments may undertake the Course Coordinator and the First Year Experience Co-ordinator roles concurrently.  Programs with exceptionally large enrolments may employ a team approach to the co-ordination of the first year experience. In the case of programs that are multi-campus there may be campus specific First Year Experience Co-ordinators.

Required Capabilities

In selecting academic staff for the role of First Year Experience Co-ordinator consideration should be given to:

  • the staff member/s’ interest in supporting student transition and success and  inspiring academic and professional staff to enhance the First Year Experience within a program of study

  • abilities and interests, specifically

- interpersonal, communication and leadership skills, including ability to foster high levels of collegiality

- student-centred focus

- ability to interpret policies

- organisational and administrative skills

  • knowledge of and engagement with

- curriculum design principles, including first year curriculum design principles and discipline-specific issues

- quality assessment and moderation practices

- the University’s academic support services, academic policies and procedures.

Recognition and Support

The time commitment involved in the co-ordination of the First Year Experience will be considered as contributing to teaching or service and taken into account by the College Dean in determining the staff member/s’ academic workload.  Workload allocation is expected to be of considerable weight, in recognition of the importance of the role. The allocation shall take into account issues such as:

  • student numbers and diversity

  • number and profile of staff

  • complexity of the course – eg. numbers of majors, streams, sectors involved; cross-disciplinary; cross campus; multi-mode; stage of development.

As a condition of appointment First Year Experience Co-ordinators will participate in an institution-wide induction/ planning and development day run by the Centre for Education and Enhancement.   First Year Experience Co-ordinators will be provided First Year Experience information and literature, as well as opportunities to share practice and skills.

In accordance with the University’s Academic Promotions Policy, when assessing candidates for promotion, consideration will be given to performance since appointment.  The leadership role of First Year Experience Co-ordinator provides the opportunity for staff to demonstrate ability and achievement through:

  • research and/or publishing on outcomes of interventions to enhance student orientation, transition and engagement.

  • Contributions made to teaching and learning and curriculum development

  • Contributions to University planning to enhance the first year experience

  • Participation in local and national forums/conferences on the first year experience


First Year Experience Co-ordinator/s in each Program will achieve the outcomes required of the role in different ways, appropriate to the discipline and the cohort. First Year Co-ordinator Practice Guidelines have been established and identify some examples of good practice.


The First Year Experience Co-ordinators are required to prepare a short annual report, to the College Dean on the effectiveness of the orientation and transition activities they have undertaken in that year.

This report may also presented to the Teaching and Learning Committee and disseminated to the Course Co-ordinator, Associate Dean, Learning and Teaching and/or college executive for inclusion in course performance reporting processes.

Reports may include:

  • activities undertaken, with recommendations for  future improvements for subsequent student cohorts

  • monitoring of retention rates for commencing students in the course.

  • within privacy provisions, reporting on students at risk and identifying whether they discontinued.

  • feedback from commencing students on their First Year Experience, with recommendations for future improvements for student engagement

  • a summary of the key program/academic issues for commencing students, and making recommendations for improving curriculum

Related documents, legislation or JCU Statutes

Charter of Responsibilities for Academic Quality

First Year Experience Co-ordinator Practice Guidelines

First Year Curriculum Design Principles  (http://fyhe.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/5FYCPrinciplesProgramCoordChecklist_14Dec09.pdf)

Academic Promotions Policy (Lecturer, Senior Lecturer, Associate Professor, Professor)


NOTE:  Printed copies of this procedure are uncontrolled, and currency can only be assured at the time of printing.

Approval Details

Policy DomainAcademic Governance
Policy Sub-domainLearning and Teaching

Policy Custodian

Deputy Vice Chancellor, Education

Approval Authority

Academic Board

Date for next Major Review


Revision History


Approval date

Implementation date






Minor amendments - role titles changed to reflect current organisation structure; related documents updated; Administration section added.

Quality, Standards and Policy Officer and Manager, Student Transitions and Careers


First Year Experience Co-ordinator