First–Year Program (FYP)/ First–Year Seminar (FYS)

In addition to three other courses drawn from the general curriculum as described in the following pages, students in their first semester enroll in a combined academic and residential program that emphasizes critical thinking and active student participation in both the classroom and the residence, called the First-Year Program (FYP). The FYP consists of four parts:

  1. An interdisciplinary, team-taught course illustrative of some of the enduring themes of the human experience.
  2. An emphasis on communications skills, in particular writing, speaking and research.
  3. An advising system that ensures systematic and supportive involvement of faculty with students through coursework and out-of-class meetings.
  4. A residential college system wherein each first-year residence houses students enrolled in the same section of the team-taught course, with the goal of developing integrated living and learning communities. All residential colleges are on the St. Lawrence campus, with the exception of a pilot program being introduced in 2012 in London, England, that has some different parameters from the on-campus units.

The FYP and FYS function as an introductory writing and speaking course in the fall and a standard research-oriented first-year seminar in the spring.

In the summer before matriculation, students review descriptions of the FYP courses for that fall and indicate those they find most interesting; they are enrolled in one of the several sections of the FYP course (FRPG 187) based on those interests. Each section corresponds to a residential college, and each student has one of the FYP faculty members as his or her advisor. Each FYP course explores a distinct set of themes or issues, but all focus on the breadth of the liberal arts and encourage student participation, collaborative intellectual experiences, self-expression and critical thinking. The fall semester course follows an elaborate writing skills sequence that stresses writing as a process, short essays, and revision, as well as an introduction to the integration of research into the writing process. The fall course also involves formal instruction in oral communication.

The FYP faculty also work with student life staff to plan co-curricular programs related to the course themes and to encourage students to take advantage of the full schedule of University social and intellectual activities. The residents, the residential staff and the faculty work together to design programs and encourage maximum student involvement in the life of the residential college.

In addition to encouraging students to participate in their own colleges, the First-Year Council, composed of two elected student representatives from each of the colleges, provides an opportunity for students to develop leadership skills, participate in University governance, address issues of concern to their peers and plan social events for the entire first-year class. In the second semester of the first year, students continue to develop their research, writing and oral communication skills in one of approximately 38 research-oriented First-Year Seminars (FYS). Students indicate which First-Year Seminars they find most interesting and are placed in their FYS prior to registering for their other spring courses.

In the spring course, the writing and speaking process is extended by a more direct emphasis on research skills and more explicit instruction in research, as well as continuing to develop the writing and speaking skills from the fall. In the spring, first-year students may choose a different residence. Student life staff and faculty continue to work with the residential communities to facilitate both the continued development of these communities and the transition to upper-class residential life. The First-Year Council also continues to plan events for all first-year students.

Because of the importance of the FYP and FYS in preparing students for success at St. Lawrence and beyond, withdrawal from those courses is not permitted, nor may FYP and FYS courses be taken on a pass/fail basis.

Students who fail the FYP in the fall must complete alternative coursework to be determined on a case-by-case basis by the associate dean of the first year and the associate dean for academic advising programs in consultation with the director of the Munn Center for Rhetoric and Communication.

Students who fail the FYS must retake the FYS in their sophomore year. FYP courses do not count for department, program, or distribution/diversity credit.

FYS courses may count for department, program, or distribution/diversity credit. To view the catalog on pages 15 and 16.