“The First-Year Honors Program forced me to think in a way that was outside of my comfort zone, and it was refreshingly eye-opening. I learned so much about the world around me and the way in which I fit into that world.”
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The First-Year Honors Program brings together a community of motivated, intellectually curious students from different majors who challenge and support each other while working closely with a faculty mentor. FYHP is a two-semester program consisting of a three-credit colloquium and regular co-curricular meetings where students, peer mentors, and faculty share a meal while listening to a guest speaker, viewing a film, engaging in discussion related to class, or participating in other activities.
In addition, students who choose to reside on campus have the option to live on an Honors floor in one of Curry's residence halls. Within the FYHP learning community, students gain a deep appreciation of the relevance of the liberal arts to their individual lives and specific academic interests. A theme-based course of study, the First Year Honors Program fosters interdisciplinary connections - a valuable perspective for first year students. Academic skills necessary for above average success at the post-secondary level are also developed through the colloquium, co-curricular meetings, and advising by the FYH Coordinator.
The Fall First-Year Honors Colloquium investigates the concept of identity through a multi-disciplinary approach. Faculty members from psychology, sociology, fine arts, philosophy, women's and gender studies, and history provide guest lectures. Students synthesize and apply ideas through brief reading reflections, discussions on-line and in class, presentations, and essays. An autobiographical exploration of an aspect of one's identity connects theory with practice. The final project involves further research on identity in relation to a topic of the student's interest, which is then shared with the class through a creative and/or informational presentation.
The Spring First-Year Honors Colloquium expands the exploration of identity to examine the concepts of culture, cross-cultural communication, and the role of identity within different cultures. Through readings and the personal narratives of faculty and peers whose country of origin is outside the United States, students learn about identity in cultures such as Bali, Afghanistan, China, Hungary, Nigeria, and England.
Students apply course concepts through taking part in a local volunteering opportunity and writing a reflective essay about their experience. The final project invites the class to participate in field research by interviewing a person who moved to the United States after growing up in another country, then synthesizing the interview and their own research about the country into an essay and class presentation.
The FYHP co-curricular meetings support the educational objectives by providing students with a time and place to build community, address issues related to the transition to college, and supplement course concepts outside of the classroom. We meet several times a month in the student center, Honors floor lounge, or for an off-campus field trip.
Co-curricular meetings often include the Honors Mentors, who provide peer support for first year students. We usually share a meal and view films, socialize, or discuss a variety of topics including: stress management and wellness, time management, campus life, course registration and academic planning, and other topics determined by students' interests. Several times a semester, we gather with the upper-level Honors Scholars faculty and students for special all-Honors meals, enhancing the connection between the FYH and Honors Scholars programs.
For further information, contact Professor Peter Hainer, Coordinator of First-Year Honors at Curry College: 617-333-2184, firstname.lastname@example.org .
A psychology major with a minor in community health and wellness and an Honors student, Jessica Lorento '16 was looking for an academic experience in which she could have one-on-one relationships with her professors. "When I first got to Curry I met the psychology professors and right away they were super friendly and welcomed me in; that's a huge reason why I came."
"At first you hear the word 'Honors' and you think you'll be constantly stressed about papers and tests, but it's not really like that. It's a lot of discussion-based learning where you are able to hear opinions and ideas from students from all the different majors. It creates a classroom style that is unlike anything you get in high school. I definitely encourage first-year students to try it,"says Jared Berman '17.