Explore New Ways of Thinking and Living
FYS 1010: First-Year Seminar
First-Year Seminar is the foundational course in the liberal arts and sciences for entering freshmen.Offered in the fall term, it serves as a gateway to the College's General Education program and introduces students to the wider world of learning beyond the professional training of their declared majors.One of the main goals of the program is to develop intellectual skills that will be helpful to students throughout their college career and beyond.In particular, the seminar focuses on sharpening students' skills in critical thinking and reading. Students have the opportunity to choose from a wide variety of exciting seminar-topics, ranging from the natural sciences and the humanities, to the fine arts and the social sciences.In each case, the professor draws on her or his special expertise and interests to provide a unique learning experience.
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There are many examples throughout history of people of all ages and backgrounds who overcome immense obstacles in spite of precarious odds. These courageous people demonstrate resilience in desperate situations. In addition, these same individuals often possess a mental toughness that enables them to see past a failure, gain a new perspective, and move forward. They do not allow the adverse event they are experiencing to define them or be detrimental to their existence. Instead they use the experience to become even more resilient and mentally tough. In this course we will examine the concepts of resilience and mental toughness across the lifespan and in a variety of situations. We will explore these concepts through a diverse selection of books, articles, film clips, and hands-on activities. The focus of this course will be to understand what it means to have resilience and mental toughness and recognize ways these attributes can be developed for personal growth.
We'll read memoirs, histories, and children's literature while also learning about the contexts in which they were written. We'll consider stories of being the first to cross into a new world and stories of being the last to inhabit an old world. We'll discuss modern-day political situations that have left some people in two worlds at once, such as DACA, the Rwandan diaspora, and the Palestinian- Israeli conflict. Some of these "worlds" will be very literal, as with Gudrid, a Viking explorer who sailed across actual seas. Others will be more figurative, as with firstgeneration college students or scientists whose inventions shift paradigms and propel them into new realities.
In Mindful Money, we will address these questions and more. We will have readings and discussions on ethical issues, and think about how to apply the lessons in our lives. We will also engage basic questions in finance, and think about how to apply good practices in our personal finances as well as in business.
The first module of the term will be dedicated to understanding the framework for civil discourse, and how to engage with diverse opinions and viewpoints. We will talk about the First Amendment, specifically how it sets the stage for free speech in our country; and we will explore reasons why free speech is valuable, limits to free speech, and attacks on free speech. The goal of this first module is to develop the understanding and tools to have productive, civil discussions with people who might disagree with us. These are tools that will be useful throughout our personal and professional lives.
Our Bodies, Ourselves examines the field of sex education from pedagogical, historical and sociological perspectives. The course provides students with a history of how and why sex is discussed in schools and society, offering a look at the competing views of appropriate sexual education. By examining K-12 sex education curriculum, young adult literature about sex and sexuality, and internet sources, we will reflect on how policy decisions about sex education reinforce social inequalities.