First Year Seminar, a two-credit course required for graduation, is focused on four key areas of students' transition to college learning: liberal learning, self-reflection, advising, and educational planning. These areas serve as points of reference for the academic experiences, challenges, and obstacles that students encounter in their transition semester, and importantly, give the course its purpose: to help students become aware, active, and intentional learners.
The course begins by introducing students to the values upon which intellectual inquiry is based and to the expectations that members of the University community have of each other. Students are introduced to the relevance of an ethical and liberal education, and learn to understand the Liberal Arts Core as an expression of the college's commitment to providing students with both and its relevance to all courses of study and careers. Students are introduced to Alvernia's heritage and mission, and explore the meaning of our five core values: service, humility, collegiality, contemplation, and peacemaking.
Self-reflection encompasses students' ability and willingness to think critically about their habits, actions, motivations and the value they place on knowing themselves as students. Students have the opportunity to reflect on the behavior and habits they adopt as students, to be self-critical as they consider their attitudes and assumptions about and approaches to learning, and connect these to their emergence as thoughtful and engaged individuals.
Students will carry forward their understanding of liberal education as they focus on understanding specific core requirements as well as any first year courses required for their majors. Students will need to prepare to register for spring classes, so attention is given to ensuring that students have adequate understanding of the online class schedule, how to address registration holds, and how to register themselves. Attention is also given to helping students understand their responsibilities in the advisement process.
Educational planning asks students to look forward and plan with intent. It asks them to connect extra curricular opportunities with their intellectual growth in the classroom, encourages them to identify values, interests, and skills they would like to develop over their four years of college, and gives them tools so that they can begin to make purposeful choices as they move forward. Over the course of this segment, students will discuss the importance and relevance of service, identify their values and interests, consider how they can find opportunities in and out of the classroom to pursue/develop them, and consider how those values and interests cohere with their curricular choices.