First-Year Experience

Effective Fall 2018

The goal of the First-Year Experience component is to connect students to life in an academic community, where they will acquire and refine the skills listed above. These skills will be introduced and practiced in meaningful contexts. The component consists of the following three courses to be taken during the first year.

First-Year Seminar 3 credits

In a small group (20 to 25 students), students explore in depth a topic or problem chosen by the instructor to challenge them to think from different perspectives and to practice various skills. The First-Year Seminar challenges students to draw connections between fields of knowledge and to consider the importance of considering multiple discipline points of view in resolving problems. Within the context of this challenge, students and instructor will consider the nature of knowledge, general education, and the academic community. A significant level of analysis is expected as opposed to simple presentation of facts and theories.

The First-Year Seminar is a cornerstone course, through which students begin to build the repertoire of intellectual skills needed for college-level work. The skills are not taught in isolation but rather in the context of the topic or problem of the course. Assignments and activities will introduce all of the skills listed above, but special emphasis will be given to critical thinking, conducting research, working with information technology, writing, speaking and listening, and collaborating with others.

Composition 4 credits

The Composition requirement is intended to help students become responsible writers who can take charge of their own writing process. It is satisfied by the course EN1400 Composition or its equivalency. Students learn how to draft, respond to feedback from peers and instructor, revise, and edit successful college prose. By the end of the course, they should be able to write essays that are unified by a central thesis, well developed in carefully organized paragraphs with vivid details, and grammatically competent with effective sentence structure and correct mechanics.

Students also learn to read comprehensively and effectively in order to relate ideas and arguments to their writing and thinking. They are expected to summarize different kinds of texts, paraphrase the ideas of someone else, analyze others’ arguments and positions, compare and contrast ideas, and generate their own thoughts and ideas following research and observation. Students are required to engage in library research and to write papers based on their research. Thus the General Education Skills being given special emphasis in this course are writing, reading, conducting research, and collaborating with others.

Mathematics Foundations 3 or 4 credits

Through the Mathematics Foundations requirement, students become aware of the importance of mathematics and its application to fields as diverse as art, music, and science. It is satisfied by an appropriate score on the placement exam, any mathematics course numbered MA1500 or above, or equivalency. Mathematics Foundations courses focus on problem solving using the language of mathematics and on developing students’ ability to reason quantitatively in diverse contexts. Students learn to reduce complex problems to their fundamentals using algebra and geometry.

The Mathematics Foundations requirement enables students to make connections between mathematics and their own lives and to explore the roles of mathematics in society, culture, and politics. General Education skills given special emphasis are quantitative reasoning, critical thinking, and working with information technology.