1. What is the First Year Seminar (FYS) all about?
The FYS is an introduction to learning, thinking and living at the University of Scranton. We learn in community, so we discuss and debate. We seek to join in university life in all its facets, so we are exposed to them, and guided as we acclimate. We sharpen our thoughts, so we test them orally and in writing. We inquire in the context of the Ignatian tradition, so we are opened to its key commitments. We pursue a rigorous, truthful understanding of our world, so we inquire into particular subjects, encounter challenging books and ideas, and are led by knowledgeable instructors . . . who really care. (Read more on this website!)
2. Is the FYS required of all students?
Beginning with the entering class of 2012, the 3-credit FYS is required of all incoming students at the University of Scranton. This includes all first year students, and early transfers (2nd year or lower). In the case of later transfers, arrangements can be made through the Registrar’s office for substitutions or waivers.
3. Wasn’t the FYS once only a one-credit course, graded pass/fail?
Originally this was the form of the FYS at Scranton, until 2012. Curricular changes led to a reconceptualization of the course. It is now 3 credits, covers important and challenging academic material, is taught by full-time faculty only, and follows a seminar format in which students are expected to be active discussants.
4. Can the FYS count for more than one General Education requirement?
Yes, the FYS can also be used to satisfy other requirements in the General Education (GE) curriculum. However this is true of only some sections (those, for instance, offered in Theology or Philosophy, or that carry additional letters in parentheses such as (CL)). If students are eager to apply FYS credits in this way, they choose a section on that basis.
5. Does my FYS relate to my (declared or possible) major?
Usually not, or not directly. Discussion in the FYS can be enhanced if the students in each section represent diverse interests. Since the FYS deals with subjects that matter to all—questions about our common humanity, about well-rounded education at Scranton, and so on—all can share in considering these questions. The FYS does, however, encourage students to choose a major, and provides room for attendance at information sessions in departments they may be interested in majoring in.
6. Why is the FYS offered in many departments?
The FYS can and should vary dramatically in the content covered. Its accent rests not on which subjects are focused on but on how inquiry is undertaken, on the seminar format in which all can participate, on the relationships that are made possible by the FYS format, and on the Ignatian values that matter to all of us at Scranton. A variety of teachers from a diversity of departments are eager to teach this course.
7. Why is the FYS not offered in every department?
First, the FYS is not tied to students’ majors, so it is not necessary for it to be in each department. Second, the FYS often also fulfills other GE requirements, so teachers from departments that bear the main weight of the GE program are more likely to teach a FYS. But, finally, a FYS could theoretically be offered in ANY department; if a teacher had the time and inclination to design a FYS for approval, she could!
8. Why are so many FYS course offered in the College of Arts and Sciences?
This relates to the points in #7. The CAS carries the bulk of the weight for the GE requirements. However, FYS sections can be and actually are offered in both the Kania School of Management and the Panuska College of Professional Studies. While these sections are attractive to students in those colleges, anyone can enroll.
9. What grade do I need to fulfill the FYS; and what happens if I fail?
Students need only earn a passing grade to complete the FYS—that is, a D or above. If a student fails the FYS he or she will be automatically scheduled to retake it in the next term. A passing grade in the FYS is a requirement for graduation.
10. Do sections of FYS run in all semesters, or only the fall?
Because it is for incoming students, and most arrive in the fall term, most sections of the FYS run in the fall. However, some sections are available in the spring to accommodate transfer students, and others who, for whatever reason, we unable to complete the requirement in the fall. The FYS is not available during special terms (summer or Intersession).
11. What if I have further questions?
Your FYS instructor (if you are enrolled) is a good place to begin. Otherwise, email or call the Director of the FYS Program, Dr. Charles Pinches, Professor of Theology: email@example.com or 570-941-4302.