One engaging experience shared by all first-year students is participation in a First Year Seminar (FYS). These four-credit courses are designed to introduce students to certain areas in our curriculum and to topics about which members of the faculty are passionate. All of the seminars are designed to foster successful academic and social transition to the College. The FYS also introduces students to the College's learning outcomes of communication, critical thinking, collaboration, citizenship, and integrated/applied learning in a climate that encourages respect for the many points of view represented in our diverse community. Course instructors serve as academic advisors to all students enrolled in the course. In the context of the course the advising group will work to develop the skills necessary for academic success and will provide opportunities for students to reflect on their development as learners. FYS courses fit the Ideas 1 General Education Thematic Area. Recent offerings include:
Identity and Visual Culture
How is our personal and cultural identity shaped and defined by the pictures, photographs, advertisements and other images making up our contemporary visual culture?What is it about the visual image that makes it such a powerful means of expression, often stronger than the written or spoken word?This course seeks to examine and these and other questions in an attempt to understand better how individual and communal identity is expressed in a world dominated more and more by visual images.Along with traditional literacy (reading/writing), visual literacy, or the ability to “read” and understand visual images, will be emphasized in this course.
Heroes and Heroines: Quest for Identity
This seminar explores the struggles of heroes and heroines in their search for identity and conflict with evil and society in general.We will explore how two recent popular literary heroes, Harry Potter and Katniss Everdeen, come to grips with their identity as leaders.Special emphasis will be placed on the decision-making process as it relates to the personal choices made by these heroes for the good of their communities.Through exploration of these fictional characters, students will hopefully develop the knowledge and skills to help them in their own quests for identity.This course will involve readings, movie viewings, discussions, and community service projects.
The Self through Story: A Creative Student
This course will explore foundational academic skills by focusing on both classic and contemporary works of fiction and poetry.Through literature, we will examine the responsibilities and expectations of the Pine Manor College student as a whole person.The primary focus of the class is to engage and connect students to their community through activities and academics.
The Quest for Happiness
What is happiness? What determines whether a person is happy or sad? Does well-being and personal fulfillment vary by individual and culture? In this course, we will explore what the humanities and sciences can teach us about happiness and what we can do to increase individual and collective happiness. Focusing on the field of positive psychology, we will compare research on happiness to information from self-help books and popular press to better understand how people can find meaning in life and enhance positive emotions. The course will be a combination of readings, discussions, and experiential activities to improve one’s personal well-being.
Us and Them: Exploring Identity in Context
We will be exploring the formation of identity and the paradigms we hold on a personal, generational, cultural and global level alongside the exploration of themes from our first year reading, Outcasts United. We will study the concepts of culture and our places within them by examining Hosfstede’s Five Dimensions, Trompenaars’ Dimensions and Kluckhohn and Strodebeck’s Value Orientations and by applying these theories to case studies.
First Year Experience
The First Year Experience is a 2-credit course, which meets once a week throughout the Spring Semester. This course is designed to continue the work begun in the first year seminar and to support students’ successful progression towards graduation. The intent of the course is to identify an issue of concern to the community or the world at large and create a program to raise awareness of the issue. The class will work together to design and implement a program on campus that addresses this issue. Students will learn leadership, team-building and communication skills. Some of the other learning activities in this course will include an introduction to career development, and the college’s competencies. Students will create an electronic portfolio to document their development of the college’s competencies through this course and other courses taken in the first year.
Sophomore Colloquium: Career and Major Exploration
In this course students will explore the relationship between academic majors and career options in order to assist them in the selection of their college major. Students will clarify their values, skills, and career interests through a series of inventories and exercises. This course is designed to aid students in understanding the career development process, in order to make informed and appropriate occupational and educational decisions. In addition, students will learn about opportunities to develop their professional skills over their college career. They will document their progress in their electronic portfolio.