Sun09222019

Last updateWed, 18 Sep 2019 12pm

Editorial

First Years Seminars

default article imageLast week, The Outlook was made aware that Monmouth University faculty may be considering cutting the First Year Seminar requirement in the future.

This comes in light of the recent announcement that the University will be changing the 128-credit requirement for graduation to 120 credits effective fall semester of 2020.

Currently, all first-year students at Monmouth who are entering with 18 credits or less are required to take a First Year Seminar (FY101). The course fulfills a General Education requirement across all majors and must be taken during the student’s first semester at Monmouth. The course is taught on a variety of different topics by full-time professors across all fields. 

With First Year Seminars potentially on their way out, The Outlook editorial staff took the time to discuss their experiences within their own First Year Seminars and how they impacted their own college lives.

They also shared their thoughts on whether or not the University should cut the requirement.

The editors said they took First Year Seminars on a range of topics including: children’s books, Hollywood journalism, rock music in the 1960s, films about baseball, sustainable energy, and the Beatles.

When asked about their experiences in the courses, the editors all agreed that they were positive. One editor said, “Personally, I really enjoyed it. I think that because the University gives you the opportunity to choose your own First Year Seminar topic, it was easy to get engaged in the material.” 

“I also felt that the professor who taught the course was really passionate about the course content and made it a really fun experience,” the editor continued.

Another editor added, “It was a great experience, I’m really happy I took it. It (the topic) was right up my alley and it was nice to be there with other freshmen.”

One element of the First Year Seminar courses is the presence of Peer Leaning Assistants (PLA) in each section. A PLA is a student who assists the professor of the course with daily classroom activities. They also act as mentors and role models for the students to help them get accustomed to the college lifestyle.

Most of the editors said they did not necessarily benefit from having a PLA, but that it was still nice to have them as part of the class so they could assist the professor.

 “[The PLA] was so sweet and helped us if we needed, but I never really went to her with problems or concerns. I didn’t have a bad time with her, but I definitely didn’t benefit from having her in the class either,” said one editor.

One editor on the staff had previously served as a PLA. “It was a great experience mentoring freshmen students. I made time weekly for my office hours where students could meet with me about the course, but I also had student reach out to me for advice on life,” the editor said.

Most of the editors agreed that their first year at Monmouth might have been different without taking the seminar. “I met peers through the course that were able to help me as a freshman, and I am actually still friends with some of them today,” said one editor. 

Another editor said, “It was nice to have a First Year Seminar because it was a break from the ‘nitty gritty’ of books and assignments. While I had my fair share of work, it was also a class that was catered to students, where we discussed how to adjust to college.”

Finally, the editors were asked if the University should keep the First Year Seminar as a requirement. Most of them agreed that it should, but the individual seminars have room to be improved.

“It should still remain a requirement, but they need to include more impactful and beneficial aspects for first year students,” one editor said.

Another editor added, “It should remain a requirement because it’s tough to throw freshman right into the fire.”

The editor concluded, “The students will have four years’ worth of mundane classes, so why not have one that’s focused toward them and is on a topic that embraces the liberal arts of this University?”

While the University community awaits a final decision on the fate of First Year Seminars, members of The Outlook editorial staff feel that the course has a large part in providing incoming students the chance to properly acclimate to life at Monmouth.

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