The First Year Studies Program
Summer Workshop


21-22 May 2002



Sponsored by the
First Year Studies Program

School of Humanities & Social Sciences

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute




BREAKFAST                                                                                             Tuesday, May 21st

Available from 8am

(All events will be held at the Taborton UCC Pavilion.  See page 4 for directions.)

Presentations on Pedagogy and First Year Studies

9am – 11:30am

“Civic Education and Engaged Learning”


Peter Sawyer  Chair of Dept. of Behavioral & Social Sciences, HVCC
                        (Former director of Project Renaissance)

Cindy Parrish  Instructor, Project Renaissance, SUNY Albany
                                      (Screenwriter and Professional Storyteller)

Peter R. Sawyer, Ph.D. Chair Behavioral and Social Sciences Department at Hudson Valley Community College. Dr. Sawyer taught  at UAlbany since 1998 and served as Director of Project Renaissance, an innovative academic and student life program for first-year students at UAlbany. Sawyer earned his Ph.D. in Social Sciences in 1999 from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University. He obtained his master’s degree in Sociology from Syracuse University in May 1994, and his master’s in education in Student Development and Higher Education from the University of Vermont in 1988. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Urban Affairs from American University in D.C. in 1992, and his associate degree in Liberal Arts from Hudson Valley Community College (1980). 

Dr Sawyer has over 15 years experience in higher education teaching and administration.  He has served as adjunct faculty at UAlbany, Union College, The College of Saint Rose, and has also taught at LeMoyne College in Syracuse, Syracuse University and The American University. He has served as Assistant Director of the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning at UAlbany (1996-1998) and Assistant Dean of Students at Siena College (1988-1991).


Cindy Parrish, D.A. Dr. Parrish has been a faculty member in Project Renaissance, the interdisciplinary first

year program at the University at Albany, since 1998. She has been Director of the Project Renaissance Peer Mentor Program since 2001.  Dr. Parrish taught English and Theatre at Simon's Rock College from 1994-98, where she also founded and directed the Writing Center. Dr. Parrish directed the Writing Center at the State University at Albany as well as teaching in the English Department from 1988-1993. At the Bard Institute of Writing and Thinking she is an Associate, teaching professional development classes to secondary school and college teachers. Dr. Parrish is a founding member of the Snickering Witches, a storytelling trio, as well as a founding member and artistic director of ARCHEtEXT, a performance poetry troupe. She is a screenwriter and novelist.

Ø      General Discussion



Served 12n – 1:30pm

Reports on Curriculum Advances by FYS Faculty & Staff
1:30pm – 4:30pm


Ø      Tamar Gordon and Julie Gutmann, “Cyberlore and Cybervisions:

Themes, Pedagogies, Literacies and Technologies.”

Ø      Atsushi Akera, “Integrating FYS Pedagogic Objectives into ITEC/IHSS 1220: The Politics and Economics of IT.”

Ø      Jim Fahey, Concept Mapping and collaborative learning in Minds & Machines.”


Hiking trails around premises / Refreshments available.




Lakeview on Crystal Lake, 4 Old Route 66, Averill Park (674-3363)

6:30pm – 8:30pm (Spouses or a friend welcome)


    ~      ~


BREAKFAST                                                                                       Wednesday, May 22nd

Available from 8am


Working Session on Integrating Pedagogic Techniques into Our Own Syllabi

9am – 12n


We will start with a brief review of FYS objectives by Julie Gutmann, and a report on the curriculum grant study (including recommendations regarding curriculum changes) by Jim Fahey.  We will then work in small, interdisciplinary groups with the goal of integrating specific pedagogic techniques and strategies into our own syllabus.  These may include, but are not limited to the following:


o       Team projects, presentations, and performances.

o       Speech and communication (oral.)

o       Writing assignments.

o       Lecturing strategies (including use of integrated media).

o       Rubrics and measurements.

o       Simulation exercises.

o       Leadership and entrepreneurship.

o       Matching pedagogic goals with course design.

All instructors, please bring at least three copies of your current or past syllabus.  Each group will be asked to report on their progress at the end of this morning session.





Served 12n – 1:30pm


Future Visions: Plans and Programs for First Year Studies

1:30pm – 4:30pm


Ø      “Future Plans and Visions: A Progress Report from the Director”

Julie Gutmann, Director FYS.

Ø      “Preparing the Global Citizen.”

      Nicole Qualtieri, Assistant Dean of the First Year Experience

Ø      “Report on Core Curriculum Reforms and Its Relevance to First Year Studies.” Ralph Noble, CS.

Ø      Open Discussion.


Ø      Breakout Sessions I


o       How to match program content to the first year student’s expectations.

o       Creating spring offerings for FYS.

o       Grants and funding.


            (Report from Groups)


Ø      Demonstration of FYS Website by Kellie Carter, LL&C.


Ø      Breakout Sessions II


o       Creating motives for expanded participation by regular faculty.

o       A summer pedagogy workshop for H&SS.

o       FYS website working session.

o       (other items added during the open discussion period)


            (Report from Groups)


NOTE: This afternoon gathering will be regarded as an open meeting for all First Year Studies instructors.  The objective of this meeting will be to solicit general input about the future plans and activities of the First Year Studies program.  Those not formally affiliated with First Year Studies are invited to attend as guests.


For further information, contact:

Dr. Julie Gutmann
Director, First Year Studies
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
110 Eighth Street, Troy, NY 12180
ph:(518) 276-8095 / email:

The Site for the Workshop:

Taborton UCC Pavilion

741 Taborton Rd.

Sand Lake, NY 12153


Contact information:

Atsushi Akera

(518) 674-8070





The workshop this year will be held at the Taborton UCC Pavilion, located out in the countryside, some fifteen miles east of Troy/Albany.  During the breaks, you will be able to relax along the banks of two spring-fed ponds.  You may also explore the hiking trails (old logging roads) on some 1200 acres of wooded lots that adjoin the property.


Directions from RPI and Downtown Troy:
· Go EAST on Congress (NY Rte 2) to Pawling Ave. (NY Rte 66)
· Take NY Rte 66 approx. nine miles to the town of Sand Lake.
  o The road veers right at the 4 mile mark (where it splits with NY355)
  o The road intersects NY351 at the 7 mile mark
  o The “Town” of Sand Lake is at the NY66 / NY43 / Rensselaer County Road 42
  o There is a Cumberland Farms and Post Office there
· Turn LEFT at this intersection onto Rensselaer County Road 42.  This is Taborton Rd.
· The UCC Pavilion is at 741 Taborton Rd. (3.2 miles up)
  o Across the street from the Taborton UCC church.


Directions from Albany:
· Take I-90 EAST across the Hudson River.
· Take 2nd EXIT (Exit 8), NY Rte 43, for Defreestville
· PROCEED approx 10 miles to town of Sand Lake
  o go through towns of Defreestville, West Sand Lake, and Averill Park
  o The “Town” of Sand Lake is at the NY66 / NY43 / Rensselaer County Road 42
  o There is a Cumberland Farms and Post Office there
· Go STRAIGHT THRU the intersection.  This is Taborton Rd.
· The UCC Pavilion is at 741 Taborton Rd. (3.2 miles up)

If you need directions from elsewhere, please email Atsushi at