Unique Seminars Provide Resources to Aid Transition to College

Created: December 21, 2015  |  Last Updated: January 16, 2020  |  Category:   |  Tagged:

WASHINGTON, PA (Dec. 21, 2015) — First year students at Washington & Jefferson College (W&J) had the opportunity to acquaint themselves with college through a unique set of First Year Seminar (FYS) courses this fall.

“College is a journey. We get you at point A, and we want you to get to a point B when you graduate. FYS is a deliberate attempt to get you on the train at point A and get you on that journey,” said Steve Malinak Ph.D., a chemistry professor and the Director of the FYS program. “We tell you what it is all about from the start, so that you can hopefully understand what we want for you and buy into it and get the most out of your education.”

FYS is a recent addition to the W&J curriculum, and is offered only to first-year students to introduce them to the liberal arts, the College, and college-level expectations. Each FYS subject is unique and offers the students the opportunity to study a well-defined subject in a small group while they build relationships with other students and faculty.

More than a dozen FYS courses were offered during the Fall 2015 semester, and students get to choose the course they take. The courses are designed to further student’s critical analysis skills, both in in discussion and in writing. Seminars also provide opportunities to participate in a range of cultural and intellectual events.

One FYS course, Land Without Joy, taught by William Sheers Ph.D., reflected on the human aspects of the Vietnam War. Sheers wanted his class to get “up close and personal” with the Vietnam War through various readings, motion pictures, in-class interviews and even a field trip to Camp Dawson, an Army National Guard facility.

“The class trip to Camp Dawson was really interesting and fun as well. We got to interview a lot of soldiers and to watch them do weapons qualifications. It was truly a once in a lifetime experience,” said Christopher Fiorina ’19.

Another FYS course, The Music of Life: Mind, Body, Emotions, and Healing, taught by W&J biology professor Alice Lee Ph.D., combined music with biology. Lee wanted her students to focus on how music captures minds, imaginations and emotions. Her students discussed how music connects to the brain to detect predators or to follow prey, influence stress, trigger memories, prevent illness and even strengthen immune systems.

Other FYS courses included: Monster Culture, The Art and Science of Vision and Visionaries, Law and History in English Literature, Latinidad: Exploring “Latinness” through Visual and Popular Culture, and Digital Imagi-Nation for Scientists.


About Washington & Jefferson College

Washington & Jefferson College, located in Washington, Pa., is a selective liberal arts college founded in 1781. Committed to providing each of its students with the highest-quality undergraduate education available, W&J offers a traditional arts and sciences curriculum emphasizing interdisciplinary study and independent study work. For more information about W&J, visit www.washjeff.edu, or call 888-W-AND-JAY.

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