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First Year Programs

Emily Kolby named director for First Year Curriculum and Engagement

September 22, 2022

Full Article: Emily Kolby named director for First Year Curriculum and Engagement

Undergraduate Academic Affairs

Undergraduate Academic Affairs is pleased to welcome Emily Kolby to her new appointment as director of First Year Curriculum and Engagement.

Kolby earned her master’s degree in student affairs administration and is currently working toward her Ph.D. in adult and higher education. Most recently she served as director of academic advising at Bellevue College, where she also directed their First Year Experience course for a decade. Throughout her rich professional history, she has applied a relentless passion for supporting students in their college transitions, by integrating that energy into the foundations of first-year seminars, student success programming, and new student orientations.

Kolby brings with her leadership a strong synergistic style, engaging with stakeholders, soliciting input and being cognizant of impacts and changes in the collaborative process. She has served thousands of students through individual and group advising, curriculum development, faculty and staff trainings and teaching. “When it comes to innovation, I draw on program assessment, refer to student development theories and current literature, and actively learn from other institutions and the students themselves,” said Kolby.

Intentionality, collaboration, equity, and access

Kolby identifies First Year Programs’ guiding principles of intentionality, collaboration, equity, and access as essential to the work of serving students. She believes that with continuing the work of intentionally connecting with each student, the program can create full and holistic first-year experiences.

“We are thrilled that Emily will bring her expertise in advising, transfer engagement, and first-year curriculum design to the UW,” shared LeAnne Wiles, executive director of First Year Programs. “She has a breadth of experience that will enhance our current programming model and shape our current initiatives.“

Kolby will work closely with members of the Student Academic Services (SAS) team focused on the first-year experience and digital engagement and support programming efforts including FIGS, first-year networks, and Dawg Daze. Kolby sees academic and career support as being critical areas for first-year students, to guide students in identifying their academic advisers and opportunities for internships and services that will be integrated into their academic journey at the UW.

Fostering an inclusive community

“The University of Washington is such a special institution,” shared Kolby. “I am excited about the potential for working with FYP, partners and students to incorporate sense of place, community, and belonging into this work.”

In her new role as she asks questions, holds conversations, and reviews outcomes, she will assess how the UW tailors and customizes supporting the first-year Husky experience. Asking herself “how do you create a huge experience that’s going to resonate with everyone, but then for each student with their own unique life experiences across specific populations,” Kolby returns continually to the relationship aspect. “At the end of the day, we talk a lot about belonging and so much of that comes from the personal connections that students make with faculty, staff, and other students as members of an inclusive community.”

Welcome, Emily Kolby!