Philosophy of First Year Studies
First Year Studies Program aims to offer first year students
innovative curriculum and programs that introduce humanistic
content to aspiring engineers, scientists, and technical
professionals. First Year Studies courses have successfully
and challenging material that has helped our students engage
more deeply with the social world in which they live, and
in which they will carry out their professional lives.
the heart of the program is a transdisciplinary approach
that allows students to examine specific ideas and themes
multiple disciplinary perspectives.
program has no fixed pedagogy, or teaching philosophy.
Its mission and methods of instruction are constantly being
and revised to meet the changing demands being placed on
educational system, and to serve student interests. This
review process is conducted jointly by the program's director,
director of pedagogy, and the members of the FYS Faculty
Advisory Committee comprised of representatives from all
within the School of Humanities and Social Sciences. Specific
survey instruments are employed on a regular basis to monitor
the success and failure of the programs' methods.
the emphasis of the First Year Studies Program is on the
following pedagogic strategies. Clearly, not all of these
can be incorporated fully, or to the same degree, in each
course, as teaching methods must vary by course content.
instructors in the program are given considerable latitude
in finding specific expressions of these objectives. Nevertheless,
the focus on these pedagogic goals, as reiterated and explored
through the FYS Summer Seminar and the Fall Brownbag Pedagogy
Sessions, ensure the unique quality of First Year Studies
their commitment to the quality of undergraduate education
First Year Studies courses aim to foster the general
ability of a student to examine fundamental issues
in a clear, comprehensive and critical fashion.
Moreover, students are encouraged to develop the
ability to distinguish and evaluate arguments and
evidence, relate the knowledge gained through such
endeavors to their prior knowledge, and relate
theoretical ideas to everyday experience. Students
are also often given the opportunity to develop
strong research and reading skills.
Year Studies courses often involve extensive practice
in writing, oral presentation, and creative expression,
including communications employing various forms
of cutting-edge technology.
general, First Year Studies courses involve sections
with a maximum of 25 students, ensuring ample opportunity
for one-on-one student-instructor interaction.
and Group Work
Year Studies courses often involve particiipation
in group projects of both a theoretical and practical
nature that offer opportunities for developing
leadership skills and entrepreneurial applications
at both Rensselaer and beyond.
Building and Awareness
Year Studies courses aim to foster a love of learning
and sense of community among first year students
through activities such as the First
Year Studies Lecture Series and class wide
community service projects.
/ Diversity of Perspective
courses also aim to foster an appreciation for
a diversity of outlooks at a deep and fundamental
level. They also encourage an examination of the
values that those outlooks imply.
Year Studies courses involve both the use and study
of technology as it relates to the humanities and
the social sciences, and the world at large.
take there issues of undergraduate pedagogy seriously,
and are working to inculcate a community of instructors
dedicates to strong and effective teaching at the undergraduate
level. This is done primarily through the following venues,
for which further details can be found by clicking on the