College of Liberal Arts & Sciences First-Year Experience

The First Year Experience Program gives every first-year student in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences the opportunity to participate in a small seminar taught by one of the University's best professors. Whether the seminar is Tales of Terror or American Politics, FYE students develop valuable and rewarding relationships with both their classmates and their professors.

First-Year Experience classes are offered exclusively to first-semester, first-year students. With small class sizes, FYE seminars provide the personal attention and intimate classroom environment that make the transition to college both manageable and meaningful.

All FYE classes fulfill one of the General Education Requirements for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. However, the subject matter of the FYE class is not limited to Music, Literature, Science, or Sociology. The class also focuses on your education, and it invites you to be part of an intellectual community.

As you learn the material of the course, you'll pay special attention to some of the fundamental skills that lead to academic success, like writing and research. You'll also think, talk, and write about what it means to be a college student, so you can get the most out of your college experience. Each seminar works outside the boundaries of the traditional classroom to help you discover the diversity and richness of the Alfred Community.

Each FYE class has an upper-class student acting as a "Peer Leader." Peer Leaders are hand-selected by the faculty to serve as role models and allies for new Alfred students. They are there to help you learn how to learn, and they can provide a valuable voice of experience as you enter into college life.

The following is a sampling of our most recent seminars.

Pop Culture Goes Global: (COMM 200)
This course examines U.S. "popular culture" and the media and their sociological, economic and political influence on cultures at home and abroad. It offers students a deeper understanding of globalization and its effect on their lives.

Playwriting: The Ten-Minute Play: (ENG 205)
This is a course in beginning playwriting for the student who wants to think about how language moves action and how characters can shape scenes. We’ll work closely with students in Acting I so class members will have an opportunity to use improvisation to build their scripts.

Introductory Astronomy: (ASTR 103)
A general survey of astronomy including our solar system, the nature of stars, the structure of our galaxy, and finally, an examination of other galaxies, quasars and other cosmic objects.

American Politics: (POLS 110)
How does Congress work? How much influence do interest groups have? Why does the government have rules about the size of the holes in Swiss cheese? Through a study of the politics of food in the United States, learn about key institutions and the ways that people can participate in the American political system.

Writing I: How to Avoid Lapsing into a Comma: (ENGL 101)
Through analytical, reflective, and personal writing, this course looks closely at the essay form, clear writing and organization, and research and documentation. We will learn to respond to various writings and respectfully quote and paraphrase from them. Like the practice that goes into sports and music, we will be writing both in class and out, to become more alert to the energy a well-placed word or punctuation mark can create.

Writing I: Analysis in Everyday Life: (ENGL 101)
Writing about what is happening around us is a great way to figure out what is happening inside us. This course uses analytical writing assignments to illuminate how the media and material objects in our everyday lives act out our human nature. Our inquiries will supply fun and engaging ways to grow in the basics of the college writing process: how to create topics, develop and present ideas strategically, use sources for good effect, and write in a clear, coherent, and concise style. Students will reflect on how writing impacts their intellect.

Writing II: Writing to Extremes: (ENGL 102)
This course offers intensive experience in reading and analyzing literature about people driven to extremes, from acts of violence and cruelty to noble sacrifice. Through the close reading of literary texts and the practical experience of writing, students explore rhetorical strategies, learn accepted forms of research and documentation, and deepen their responses to the written word.

Atmosphere/Human/Ecosystem: (ENVS 105)
Life forms have been influencing the nature of the atmosphere for millions of years, but in recent centuries, human activities have caused profound changes in the atmosphere that are now affecting ecosystems. These include emissions that have caused acid rain, global climate change, damage to the ozone layer, and mercury pollution. This course will explore the effects humans (and other biota) have had on the atmosphere and the results that these changes have had on ecosystems.

Modern Western History: (HIST 111)
A survey of developments in Europe and the Western Hemisphere since the 1500s, with emphasis on the impact of ideas and ideologies (including Fascism, Nazism, and Communism), social and economic change (including industrialism), revolutions and world wars, and imperialism.

Music Appreciation: (MUSC 110)
Did you know that listening to classical music can improve academic performance? Students have actually raised their grades on certain kinds of tests by merely listening to 20-30 minutes of Bach or Mozart before taking the exam. Music Appreciation teaches you to listen attentively and thoughtfully to all sorts of music, even your own favorite bands. We’ll learn about music and composers from medieval times to the present, watch an opera, get close and comfy with Mozart and Beethoven, and even take a trip to hear a professional orchestra. Add a little “class” and music to your life!

Ethics: (PHIL 281)
Are there ways of living and habits of life that are better than others? If there are, what makes them better and who can judge this kind of thing? What is justice and what is fairness? What makes an action right or wrong? Is the answer to this question just a matter of who you are or where you live? For example, is (or, was) slavery ever right? Ethics is the branch of philosophy that examines these questions and questions related to these. Our readings will be both classical and contemporary.

Science that Changed the World: (SCIE 200)
This class covers the basic scientific principles of some of the major scientific discoveries throughout human history. We explore how (for better or worse) these discoveries have impacted humankind and the basic scientific principles underlying them.

Introduction to Sociology: (SOCI 110)
As the foundation course in sociology, introduction to sociology focuses on current issues in American culture and society. Sociological study requires the student to take nothing for granted about the “way things are.” Our sociological understanding will grow and develop over the semester as we explore concepts such as social structure, social interaction, socialization, stratification and inequality, the intersection of race, gender, and class, social change, and globalization.

Spanish I: Culture in Context: (SPAN 101)
Spanish I: Culture in Context introduces the Spanish language and cultures of the U.S., Spain, Ecuador, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Cuba by developing the skills to talk, write, read and listen about current issues of these respective countries. The four communicative skills (writing, reading, listening, and speaking) are emphasized in the classroom and in the language lab; no prior knowledge of the language is required.

Acting I: Acting Is Living!:(THEA 240)
Through study of individuals in plays, fiction, and real life, students discover ways to understand and present "the self" of characters. Exploration and development of writing, creativity, voice, and body are central. Improvisation, readings with the playwriting class, and character study illuminate human behavior.

Each FYE seminar will have a Peer Leader to assist students with both academic and non-academic issues. Peer Leaders are upper-class students who support the FYE faculty and act as mentors for the seminar participants.

Peer Leaders model classroom engagement and offer both in- and out-of-class support. They'll answer questions about academic matters or about college life generally, provide certain kinds of academic help or feedback on first-year students' work, meet with students in small groups or one-on-one to discuss specific assignments or general study skills, and perhaps facilitate or take an active role in a class discussion. Overall, the Peer Leader's job is to help beginning students find their place in the AU community.

The Peer Leaders are selected by the instructor and have proven records of success at Alfred University. While working closely with first year students and making a real difference in their lives, Peer Leaders also have the opportunity to learn about curriculum development, teaching strategies, and leadership skills.

The CLAS Transfer Student Program helps new transfers make the transition to Alfred University. Students take the Transfer Seminar (CLAS 101) during their first semester at Alfred. As the cornerstone of the Transfer Student Program, the seminar provides an opportunity for students to get to know the intellectual community they have joined, while introducing them to campus resources that will help them succeed at Alfred.

Throughout the seminar, students will further develop core skills that lead to academic and professional accomplishment. The Transfer Student Program also facilitates mentoring relationships among the transfer students and their faculty and peers.