First-year seminars challenge students to achieve the following aspirations:
- Regard learning to write well as a life-long pursuit, not the accomplishment of a single semester or even an entire undergraduate career.
- Grapple with the ambiguity and complexity found within texts, which range from the written word to film, art, performance, and beyond; respond to texts critically and thoughtfully.
- Engage in an ongoing process of intellectual inquiry and “conversation” through writing:
- Appreciate and experience the creativity, independent thinking, and intellectual risk-taking involved in effective academic writing.
- Craft thoughtful and insightful questions worthy of investigation; raise significant problems.
- Recognize and contend with alternative viewpoints/counter-arguments.
- Identify research/information needs.
- Locate appropriate scholarly and popular sources.
- Engage with, evaluate, and draw inferences from sources.
- Craft a clear, arguable, and compelling thesis.
- Experience writing as a complex social interaction between writer and reader
- Participate in an intellectual community of peers where writing and ideas are exchanged and critiqued.
- Rethink and deepen ideas through a recursive process of discussing, drafting, receiving and giving feedback, and revising at any and every point along the way.
- Gain awareness of audience and of voice.
- Practice writing as a form of critical thinking, rather than merely the achievement of sentence-level correctness.
All first-year seminars meet Tuesday and Thursday, 11:00-12:15.
A student’s FYS instructor is also that student’s initial academic adviser. Because professors teaching a FYS serve as their students’ faculty adviser for the first three semesters, students in the program develop strong mentoring relationships with faculty and gain a broad understanding of how the curriculum intersects with their individual educational goals. Starting Orientation week, incoming students meet with their adviser/FYS instructor to select their Fall courses.