First Year Seminar (FYS)
Designed specifically for new college students, First Year Seminar promotes academic success, personal growth, and community engagement by emphasizing the expectations and values of Alvernia’s academic community. This three-credit course, required for graduation, focuses on five key areas: enduring questions, self-reflection, liberal arts tradition, academic advising, and educational planning. With these five areas serving as points of reference, students are supported through their transition semester to help them become aware, active, and intentional learners. Students are also given opportunities to explore and experience college life through a wide variety of co-curricular activities.
Enduring Questions contribute to the foundation for the Alvernia General Education SEARCH program at Alvernia. These perennial questions challenge us to consider our deepest human commitments and experiences, as well as invite us to explore the human condition. Linked First Year Seminar (FYS 101) and Composition and Research (COM 100/101) courses immerse students in a learning community to engage in rigorous examination of these enduring questions that guide the human journey:
- Who am I and where do I come from?
- What am I called to do?
- How do I contribute to justice and good in our world?
- How do I demonstrate moral courage?
- What responsibilities do we have to others?
Self Reflection encompasses students’ ability and willingness to think critically about their academic habits, actions, motivations, and the value they place on knowing themselves as learners. Students are provided opportunities to reflect on the behaviors and habits they adopt as learners, to be self-critical as they consider their attitudes, assumptions about, and approaches to learning, and to connect these to their emergence as thoughtful and engaged individuals.
Liberal Arts Tradition
Students are introduced to the values upon which intellectual inquiry is based and to the expectations that members of the university community have to become ethical leaders with moral courage. Throughout the course, students learn of the relevance of the liberal arts tradition to all courses of study and careers. Students are introduced to Alvernia’s heritage and mission, explore the meaning of our five core values (service, humility, collegiality, contemplation, and peacemaking), engage in discussion of a common reading, and attend an academic lecture.
Students carry forward their understanding of the liberal arts tradition as they focus on understanding specific core requirements, as well as any first year courses required of their majors. The First Year Seminar instructor serves as the academic advisor for the freshman year and assists students with understanding the online class schedule and how to register for classes. 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 invites 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 and vocation, identify their values and interests, consider how they can find opportunities in and out of the classroom to pursue/develop them, and reflect on how those values and interests support their curricular choices.