First Year Seminar framework and topics
NAU program guides communication, academic discovery
Each course of First Year Seminar (FYS) 121 is guided by an ambiguous and enduring question relevant to the human experience. To guide students toward engaging in this complex, multi-disciplined inquiry, facilitators develop essential questions that guide the units of the course. The essential questions build on one another toward the culminating event of the course—answering the meta-questions.
Offered weekly, writing-as-thinking exercises are used to build two skills that are needed to successfully engage in the three core writing experiences:
- to provide continuous practice searching for effective, concise ways to communicate the thinker’s ideas
- to grapple with the intellectual complexity of the content
In-class discourse is also used regularly for two purposes:
- to prepare thinkers to practice and develop verbal arguments and perspectives on course material
- to build the Socratic seminar-style skills necessary to meaningfully participate in the Visiting Scholar event, which requires students to use an outside perspective on the course’s meta-question
Below is a list of topics currently offered, often in the form of a course’s meta-question:
- Exploring Latino Culture
- What is American Literature?
- What is a Story?
- What is America?
- What is a Border?
- What is Sport?
- What is Funny?
- What is Heartbreak?