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Students in a First-Year course at Curry College collaborate on a project

The First-Year Studies program facilitates a successful transition to College by:

  • Promoting active learning, a spirit of inquiry, problem solving, and wellness in order to maximize the potential for success
  • Increasing self-awareness by examining and reflecting on values and learning styles, and personal goals and responsibilities
  • Increasing respect for others through community building activities and exploring topics such as diversity, relationships, and active involvement in the college
  • Strengthening skills that contribute to academic success
  • Introducing students to the opportunities in higher education, including college resources, course requirements and fields of study

The first semester of college is an exciting time for you. With that excitement may also come uncertainty, new choices and decisions, and anxiety about new people, classes and environment. As you make the transition to Curry College, the Curry Launch course is a great way to help you learn about yourself and develop strategies that will ensure success throughout your college career.

Curry Launch is a 1-credit course required of all new students designed to assist you with your transition to the college experience. Throughout the course, you are introduced to methods and resources to promote success in college, and opportunities to discover how you learn, relate, and make choices. Topics in the course focus on the value and purpose of higher education, academic development, organizational skills, Curry’s course learning management system and e-portfolio systems, and wellness topics such as stress management, drug abuse, sexual assault, relationships, and personal well-being. Campus life and support systems for academics and wellness will be introduced.

Meet the Curry Launch Faculty

The First Year Inquiry Seminar is the cornerstone course of Curry's General Education program.  The FYI introduces students to thinking in the liberal arts through examination of topical, relevant, real-world issues.  Students will have to opportunity to select seminar topics of interest through the new student advising survey.  The seminars have no more than 17 students and are taught by experienced faculty who have a passion for teaching first year students.

Course Topics/Descriptions:

Diverse Perspectives on Childhood and Adolescence:   This inquiry seminar explores images, expectations, and attitudes related to childhood through the disciplines of psychology, sociology, history, anthropology, education, and/or literature and the arts. Students will learn about how and why perspectives on childhood and adolescence vary across different times and cultures. Some of the ideas we may examine include: how childhood, adolescence, and adulthood are defined and what it means to become an adult; different beliefs about childrearing and traditions marking rites of passage; what youth need at various ages/stages in order to grow and thrive; the effects of technology on childhood and adolescence; and the rights/roles/power of youth in society. Students will reflect on their own perceptions and experiences of childhood and adolescence as well as how these compare to ideas from other times and cultures.

Earth 2040: What will our world look like in 20 years? How will new technologies change our social relationships, the jobs we expect to hold, and even our bodies? In this inquiry class, we will look back to see how a single technology has sometimes transformed the world (automobiles, phones, the internet), and look ahead to see if we can identify the new technology that will revolutionize the world of 2039: autonomous cars? flying cars? children picked from a genetic menu? a robot taking over your job? What will this mean for our society, our ethics, our economy, and our very sense of what it means to be human?

Empowering Ourselves and Our World: Living Sustainably in the 21 st Century: This seminar will explore the 21st century challenge of creating a sustainable world. Students will explore such topics as clean development of food, water, and energy, with special attention paid to the social structure of sustainability at the personal, local, national, and global levels. Working individually and in teams, students will examine the environmental, political and economic challenges that face us, and the role of personal choice, technological innovation, art, and architecture in fostering sustainability living. 

Happiness: What is happiness? Can one find happiness or is it an illusion? How do health, wealth, education, and justice relate to happiness? Can individuals do anything to increase happiness or is the pursuit of happiness self-defeating? Does happiness depend on relationships with others? Should governments try to increase happiness?   These are among the questions we will explore as we examine ideas of happiness over time and in various places.

The Lives of Kaleidoscope of Identity:  How do we uncover, discover, and recover our own individual identities? What influences the development of the unique voice we each have? How do family, country of origin, religion, race, and gender impact this process of the kaleidoscope of identity? In this inquiry class we will explore cultural perspectives, developmental theories, and communication choices. Our approach to these huge questions will be creative - weaving together films, art, short stories, poetry, music to help us question assumptions and articulate a sense of our core values and beliefs.

The Lives of the Great and Not So Famous: The individuals and groups who have made some of the biggest impacts in our society, culture, and history are easily identifiable....or are they? As you will discover in this inquiry cluster, the recognizability of those that have shaped our world through meaningful contributions is not always as transparent as it may seem.  How is it that some who accomplish great feats make their way into textbooks while others remain virtual unknowns?  Does this have to do with the importance of their contributions or the realities of their status?  Come explore these questions by examining the lives of some "not so famous" people who have significantly shaped our culture through their roles politics, education, health and other areas as you begin your college career and explore what it means to make valuable and lasting contributions to your society.

The Monstrous Within & Without: Frankenstein. Dracula. Things that go bump in the night and haunt our dreams. Adolf Hitler. Josef Stalin. Why are we so fascinated with monsters?  Our discussions, pulling from a variety of perspectives, will attempt to answer that question and define the boundaries of what makes a human "good" or even "human" at all.  We will involve stories, novels, music, films, legends, fairy tales, television shows, and the historical record as we explore the world of monsters (zombies, vampires, serial killers etc.) both real and imagined.  Reading and writing about those on the fringes of society will guide you to a richer, deeper, and perhaps darker understanding of yourself and our world. And you might even answer the question, "who is the real monster?".

Honors Student First Year Inquiry - Influences of Culture:

Note - Only students admitted to the Honors Program will be admitted to this seminar.

We will examine the meaning of culture and how this concept is used to look at people who have different customs and beliefs and look at ourselves.  We will introduce the concept of culture by considering how anthropologists view culture and generate ethnography to describe the experiences of living in another society.  We will pay close attention to the context of ethnographic and multi-cultural descriptions and consider the problem of "voice," who gets to decide what kind of information gets used to talk about other people, and "power," to what extent are people free to express how they want to live  Finally, we will examine the role of identity among different cultures.

WRIT 1060 The Academic Writing Process

(3 Credits) Guides students through the process of academic writing, including focusing their ideas, constructing effective essays, and finding their voices.  Emphasizes the importance of purpose, audience, and tone in all writing. Teaches students to revise in order to develop further complexity and depth in their written work. Enhances students' ability to detect and correct errors in grammar and mechanics. Provides opportunities for students to write personal narratives and reflections, responses to readings, argument/persuasive essays, and essays that introduce research and citation. Helps students gain confidence in reading, writing, and discussion skills. (Prerequisite: Completion of Writing Assessment. Note you must pass WRIT 1060 with a C- or above to register for WRIT 1280.)

Learning Outcomes:

Each student in The Academic Writing Process will have the opportunity to:

  • Complete prewriting, drafting, revising, and editing for at least three formal essays in addition to completing lower-stakes writing assignments. At least one of the formal essays will be a minimum of three pages in length.
  • Develop organized, unified, and coherent essays.
  • Develop a thesis /argument and support it with specifics as appropriate to the writing context.
  • Progress toward proficiency in writing in formats appropriate to varied academic disciplines, including forms that incorporate some research and source citation.
  • Demonstrate critical reading skills, including identifying main ideas and summarizing key points
  • Demonstrate effective use of grammar and mechanics, such as punctuation, varied sentence structures, and spelling.
  • Present information and ideas orally at least once during the semester.
  • Produce a culminating project that incorporates the above outcomes.

WRIT 1400 General Education: Reading, Writing, Research I

(3 credits) This course introduces students to reading and writing at the college level.  Emphasis on the process of composing source-based essays to a specific audience and purpose.  This course will present strategies for critical reading, purposeful revision, and reflection within a clear writing process. Time will be spent working on presenting ideas with clarity and correctness.

Learning Outcomes:

Upon successful completion of the course, students will be able to:

  • Respond appropriately in writing to a variety of different rhetorical situations (considering purpose, audience, context, exigencies) and in response to a variety of texts:
  • Practice the habits of revision through multiple drafts including giving and responding to feedback;
  • Develop an essay with a supported thesis in a coherent argument that analyzes differing views and arrives at a conclusion based on broad analysis of evidence;
  • Locate, evaluate, incorporate, and document research sources in their writing appropriately at an introductory level;
  • Critically read a variety of texts and reflect in writing on their own literacy;
  • Observe written conventions of punctuation, grammar, diction, and syntax through careful editing strategies

WRIT 1500 General Education: Reading, Writing, Research II

(3 credits) Advancing concepts introduced in WRIT I, this course focuses on research writing at the college level.  Emphasis will be on developing a sound research process from inquiry to final product using strategies for applying research methods in order locate, critically read, and evaluate diverse texts (scholarly, popular, print, media). Focus will be on presenting research in a comprehensive research writing project using appropriate rhetorical conventions. 

Learning Outcomes:

Upon successful completion of the course, students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate academic research and writing skills in essays and projects to participate in a scholarly conversation;
  • Demonstrate critical reading through a knowledge of the forms and functions of a variety of texts;
  • Follow a research writing process that includes developing a topic, locating and evaluating sources (including peer-reviewed), composing in response to those sources, and revising and reflecting on that process;
  • Show sustained development and application of reading, writing, and research skills at the college level through an understanding of documentation and academic dishonesty; Observe written conventions of punctuation, grammar, diction, and syntax through careful editing strategies.

Student instructors are upper-class students who partner with a faculty member to lead a section of a First-Year course. Student instructors offer students in the class their perspective on issues that first year students face and offer advice and identify resources that may be of help to students in the class. Become a student instructor and impact the lives of first year students.

In order to be considered for a position as a student instructor, students must:

  • be a sophomore, junior or senior
  • have a minimum overall 2.75 GPA
  • complete the application for student instructors
  • for new student instructors - obtain 2 letters of recommendation

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