First Year Seminar

The First Year Seminar (FYS) is designed for and required of new students at the beginning of their college studies. It offers students the opportunity to learn in small classes through reading and regular discussion, writing and critical engagement with controversial ideas. Sections are taught by faculty representing every part of the college’s liberal arts curriculum.

Each section focuses on a topic from current events or history or within one of the traditional areas of academic study which has generated controversy among the scholars, policy makers and others who have grappled with it. The role of controversy in shaping human understanding and motivating social and political action is the common theme which unites all sections. As students develop their own positions in the topics of their seminars, they learn how knowledge and understanding depend on the clash and synthesis of multiple points of view. They can also expect to develop a range of academic skills, including critical reading and thinking, writing and oral presentation, library research and the use of electronic technology for their learning.

Section topics and descriptions vary from year to year. Recent sections have covered topics in the arts, ecology, international relations, social and public policy, personal development, the sciences and history. Students typically are placed in a FYS section by late June before registering for other first-semester courses. The instructor of their FYS section is normally their faculty advisor for the first year.

More information and a video library about First-Year Seminars

  • First Year Seminar

    FSEM 101 – First Year Seminar

    For a complete list and descripitons for the First Year Seminar sections refer to the course schedule.First Year Seminars offer students the opportunity to learn in small classes The First Year Seminar (FYS) is designed for and required of new students at the beginning of their college studies. It offers students the opportunity to learn in small classes through reading and regular discussion, writing and critical engagement with controversial ideas. Sections are taught by faculty representing every part of the college’s liberal arts curriculum. Each section focuses on a topic from current events or history or within one of the traditional areas of academic study which has generated controversy among the scholars, policy makers and others who have grappled with it. The role of controversy in shaping human understanding and motivating social and political action is the common theme which unites all sections. As students develop their own positions in the topics of their seminars, they learn how knowledge and understanding depend on the clash and synthesis of multiple points of view. They can also expect to develop a range of academic skills, including critical reading and thinking, writing and oral presentation, library research and the use of electronic technology for their learning.Section topics and descriptions vary from year to year. Recent sections have covered topics in the arts, ecology, international relations, social and public policy, personal development, the sciences and history. Students typically are placed in a FYS section by late June before registering for other first-semester courses. The instructor of their FYS section is normally their faculty advisor for the first year.

Matthew Allen

Professor of Music

Kirk Anderson

Professor of French Studies; Chairman, French Studies Department

Alexander Bloom

Professor of History

Jonathan Brumberg-Kraus

Professor of Religion; Program Coordinator, Jewish Studies

Dolita Cathcart

Associate Professor of History

Samuel Coale

Professor of English

Tom Dolack

Visiting Assistant Professor of Russian

Linda Eisenmann

Professor of Education, Professor of History

Talitha Espiritu

Associate Professor of English; Co-Coordinator, Journalism Studies Minor

Lindsay Flynn

Assistant Professor of Political Science

Hilary Magruder Gaudet

Assistant Professor of Chemistry

Matthew Gingo

Assistant Professor of Psychology

Patrick Johnson

Assistant Professor of Filmmaking

Hyun Sook Kim

Professor of Sociology

Mark D. LeBlanc

Professor of Computer Science

Cheryl Mrozowski

Professor of Dance, Director of Dance; Chair, Department of Theater and Dance

Bruce Owens

Associate Professor of Anthropology, Chair of Anthropology Department; Co-Coordinator, Wheaton/Royal Thimphu College Partnership Program

John Partridge

Associate Professor of Philosophy

Joel C. Relihan

Professor of Classics

Gail Sahar

Professor of Psychology

Mary Beth Tierney-Tello

Professor of Hispanic Studies

Marge Werner

Director, Nursery School

Aubrey Westfall

Assistant Professor of Political Science; International Relations Coordinator

Jeanne Wilson

Shelby Cullom Davis Professor of Russian Studies

Brenda Wyss

Associate Professor of Economics; Coordinator of Development Studies