First-Year Program

Contact: Barbara J. Lowe, Ph.D., Associate Dean, School of Arts & Sciences
Phone: (585) 385-7385
Email: blowe@sjfc.edu

Academic Courses in the First-Year Program

Freshman Seminar

As an incoming freshman, you will take ITDY 101 Freshman Seminar in the fall semester. Freshman Seminar is a 1-credit course that serves as an orientation to college life and fosters academic success, personal growth, and career exploration.

Your Freshman Seminar class will meet once a week and be led by a Freshman Seminar Leader along with a current student acting as a Peer Advisor. Together with about 18 of your peers, you'll discuss issues such as personal wellness, community, diversity, goal setting, study skills, time management, stress management, and the ins-and-outs of successfully navigating the academic world of St. John Fisher College.

Your Freshman Seminar Leader will also serve as your academic advisor for your freshman year.

Learning Communities

In your Learning Community, faculty from two different academic disciplines teach two linked courses sharing a common theme, giving you the opportunity to learn about a topic from at least two perspectives. You will explore topics of social importance both in discussions and in writing. Learning Communities target writing, discussion, research, and group work skills as the first step in improving your ability to succeed in college.

Since you will be meeting with the same group of students for both classes, you'll form close friendships that will complement the academic objectives of your first semester.

Past Learning Community topics have included, "Work in America," "The Fog of War," "YRU? Nature and Nurture in Human Development," "Living with Other Gods," and "Empowering the Powerless."

Research-Based Writing

In the Spring semester of your freshman year, you will take DEPT. 199 Research-Based Writing. In this course, you will learn the basics of writing an academic research paper with an emphasis on the research process, elements of persuasive argumentation, proper use and documentation of sources, integration of more than one perspective on an issue, and the revision process of writing. You will also learn to make an effective oral presentation of your research.

You may choose to register for a 199 section in any department, regardless of your major. Past topics have included "Scientific Writing," "Literature and Politics," "Computers, Communication, and Culture," "Political Tolerance," and "African American Cinema." Check out 3690, an online journal of first-year students' research writing.

More information about Research-Based Writing can be found on the Writing Center website.

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