Freshman Year Experience (FYE)

Freshman Year Experience (UNIV150AB) is a yearlong course that fulfills two of the freshman General Education requirements: Critical Thinking (Area A3), and Comparative Perspectives (Area C3). The themes of the course are Self-Identity (Fall) and Global Identity (Spring). Students listen to weekly lectures, read essays and literature, and write, discuss, and make oral presentations on critical issues that college freshmen face as they become adults in today's world.

Faculty meet twice weekly for an hour and fifty minutes with small groups of 17-20 freshmen. In addition, faculty and students in all ten sections attend a weekly fifty-minute lecture delivered by SSU faculty or a visiting scholar. Peer Mentors work with individual course sections and establish a year-long mentoring relationship with freshmen students.

FYE students are housed in the Sauvignon Village. There are 190 students in the FYE program, so you will be living with freshmen who, like you, have chosen to participate in this exciting living and learning experience. The residential community will sponsor a variety of activities which enhance your FYE coursework. Your FYE instructors and Peer Mentors will participate in activities outside the classroom. The bond between your life and your educational interests will grow and strengthen as a result of this experience.


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You can join a unique residential community where students who are enrolled in FYE live together in one of two residences. There are 190 students in the FYE program, so you will be living with freshmen who, like you, have chosen to participate in this exciting living and learning experience. The residential community will sponsor a variety of activities which enhance your FYE coursework. Your FYE instructors and Peer Mentors will participate in activities outside the classroom. The bond between your life and your educational interests will grow and strengthen as a result of this experience.

  • Film series
  • Dinners with faculty
  • Opportunities to develop multimedia expertise in FYE computer lab sessions
  • Trips to San Francisco, the Sonoma Coast, the redwoods, or other nearby attractions
  • Special FYE-based study sessions in the dorm to support your writing, oral communication, or critical thinking skills

The plenary lecture format gives FYE students exposure to both on-campus and visiting experts in a wide range of academic disciplines.

The intimate seminar structure provides a supportive academic environment within which students can share and question each other's opinions and values

The yearlong format provides a rare opportunity for students to be guided through their freshmen year by both faculty and peer mentors.

The integration of two basic skill General Education requirements into one course creates a rich interdisciplinary curriculum that focuses on issues of interest and importance to students, while enhancing their writing, reasoning, and communication skills

Fall semester readings, lecture, and discussions address individual identity and human diversity from the perspective of various disciplines. The course explores different ways in which humans construct their individual and collective identity, and helps students connect these ideas with their own experience as they transition into college life. During the spring semester, lecture topics expand to emphasize human sameness along with human differences and ask the question, What can we do with what we are learning, considering the needs of the entire planet? In the context of these social, political, scientific, and personal issues, students practice essential analysis, research, and communication skills through specific assignments.

Unique to the FYE Living/Learning Program is the Faculty in Residence. Living among the FYE students, our Faculty in Residence will have an opportunity to interact daily with the students in FYE. They will play an integral part in extending the classroom into the living room. Available as a faculty academic resource, the FIR will plan invaluable and educational events, sponsor faculty and guest lectures series, and be available for drop-in academic advising assistance. >

One of the signature features of the FYE program is the presence of Peer Mentors who play a critical role in connecting the classroom to the living room. Each FYE cohort has a Peer Mentor who is an SSU student who has gone through leadership training and, in most cases, was an FYE student as a freshmen. Peer mentors participate in the classroom seminars, attend the weekly lectures, and teach specific student development topics during the year. In addition, outside of class they meet with students to support the student's transition from high school to college life. When a student encounters academic challenges, the peer mentor works closely with the faculty member to provide encouragement and support for that student.

Readings

  • Barbara Kingsolver: The Poisonwood Bible
  • Rebekah Nathan: My Freshman Year: What a Professor Learned by Becoming a Student
  • Susan Clancy: Abducted: How People Come To Believe They Were Kidnapped By Aliens
  • Plato: Republic
  • Julia Alvarez: How The Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents
  • Jeffrey Eugenides: Middlesex

    Lectures

  • Dr. John Wingard, Anthropology: The Cultural Construction of Identity
  • Dr. John Sullins, Philosophy: Constructing False Identities
  • Dr. Nathan Rank, Biology: Race and Biological Diversity
  • Dr. Melinda Barnard: Capturing Experience: The Public Communication of the Self
  • Professor Tori Truss, Theater Arts: How Art Can Change the World
  • Dr. Philip Clayton, Philosophy and Religion: Faith and Reason: Solving Religious Conflict
  • Dr. John Kornfeld, Education: Putting it All Together: Making a Difference in the World

"FYE is an excellent way to make the transition from high school to college. The friendships I have made with students and the professor has helped me mature and become a better student."
Ben Laidlaw

"The small-sized classes have allowed me to bond and work together with my fellow students more than I think I would get from a basic English class. The flexible structure of the class has allowed me to produce what I think has been my best work."
Daniel Kolb

"I think this course is extremely good for self-discovery. What is more important than learning who you are your freshman year?"
Tyler Shafsky

"This is not just another class, but rather it allows us to form community, discuss important topics, and learn ways to apply all of it to ourselves and the global community."
Michelle Witmer

"The most beneficial class of my freshman year. The whole is so much more than the sum of its parts."
Sara Pohlman

"Being a part of the FYE faculty has been a terrific experience, not only because of the close relationships I have developed with first-year students, but also because of the bonds I have made with colleagues I never would have had the opportunity to work with had I not been involved with this program. It has made me a better teacher and has brought me closer to the university community."
Dr. Mike Ezra, American Multicultural Studies

"I have been pleasantly surprised at the level of discourse and enthusiasm exhibited by students from vastly different backgrounds; this has revitalized my conviction that students from a variety of disciplines can form learning communities and develop academic and civic muscles."
Dr. Margaret Anderson, Hutchins School of Liberal Studies