Dean of the First-Year Experience

Janelle Fayette

Phone: (518) 276-6864
Fax: (518) 276-3372
On campus: 4600 Academy Hall
Schedule an appointment




The First-Year Experience

Janelle provides the vision and direction for the Office of the First-Year Experience [FYE].  FYE offers a comprehensive orientation program; including Student Orientation [SO] and Navigating Rensselaer & Beyond [NRB], a highly programmed immersion designed for students to experience first-hand what Rensselaer and the surrounding community have to offer. Both programs are designed to facilitate a smooth transition to life at Rensselaer, while building relationships between new and upper-class students, faculty and staff, and the surrounding community. Programs continue throughout students’ first year to address academic and transitional needs. FYE’s in-depth communication tools provide students with important dates to remember and information about upcoming programs of interest, student leadership opportunities, and important academic deadlines. FYE also provides support to students and their families on a walk-in, email, and phone basis.

First-Year Experience Notables

  • Student retention (first to second-year) tops off at 95% – an all-time high for Rensselaer.
  • Increase in student-to-faculty interactions, through Navigating Rensselaer & Beyond, the Tuesday Night Toolbox (TNT) Student Success Series, and other programs.
  • Launched an Electronic Warning System (EWS) to provide a proactive approach to student success and intervention.
  • SE programs have been selected for presentations at both the regional and national levels, with high praise.
  • 2006 NASPA Excellence Gold Award in the category of “Enrollment Management, Orientation, Parents, First-Year, Other-Year and related.” 
  • Won over 25 national and regional awards from the National Orientation Directors Association (NODA), the American College Personnel Association (ACPA), the National Association of Campus Activities (NACA) and others.

About Dean Fayette

Janelle has been at Rensselaer since 2005 and currently oversees the first-year experience. This includes Student Orientation, Navigating Rensselaer & Beyond, I-Persist mentor Program and our Parent programs.  She and her team work to welcome our new students to campus and get them both socially and academically acclimated.  


May 1, 2020
April 3, 2020
March 27, 2020
March 22, 2020