Charles Sturt University
Charles Sturt University

First Year Experience Commitments

The Faculty of Arts and Education has drafted a set of First Year Experience Commitments to underpin its Transition and Retention strategies. These commitments are as follows:


  1. All students commencing university study (whether they be internal, direct from school, mature aged, industry entry or post graduate) will be offered comprehensive orientation to university study including synchronous sessions (face to face or online), online resources and asynchronous online activities.

Subject content and design

  1. First year subjects will explicitly address student literacy, numeracy and academic skill development needs within their design and activities and resources to support this development will be provided within on campus teaching and online study schedules in cooperation with Academic Success and the Library.
  2. All first year subjects will be designed to cater for student social, cultural and academic diversity within the subject materials, learning activities and assessment

Student learning experience within subjects

  1. All first year on campus and distance subjects will be designed to include activities which require some form of asynchronous or synchronous engagement with peers and teaching teams.
  2. First year on campus subjects will include some classes where content delivery will be recorded and online alternatives provided for interactive aspects of the class and some classes where attendance is expected, and the attendance requirements within the subject will be made explicit in the subject outline.
  3. All first year distance subjects will include some online synchronous classes but these will not be compulsory and they will be recorded for later viewing by those unable to attend

Supporting students at risk

  1. Convenors/coordinators of first year subjects will identify and contact students at risk of failure or withdrawal.


  1. Capabilities will be gradually developed and assessed and the first assessment task will be a low stakes task in all first year undergraduate subjects
  2. Course directors or delegates will work with subject teams within and outside the Faculty each session to ensure a cohesive design and balanced schedule of assessment tasks across first year subjects in the one course
  3. Assessment tasks and learning activities will be explicitly aligned to the learning objectives of the subject
  4. Plain language will be used in assessment task descriptions, rubrics and study schedules within Subject Outlines to ensure that these descriptions are explicit and accessible to a diverse range of students.
  5. Feedback to students on their assessment activities will be constructive, offer meaningful pathways for improvement in subsequent tasks and be explicitly aligned to the criteria and standards within the assessment task description.