First Year Seminar
Beginning the Mercer Experience with Success
First Year Seminar is the essential Mercer course, teaching the skills of analysis, interpretation, discussion and writing that are crucial to all the other courses of a liberal arts education. First Year Seminar is designed to encourage and enable students to value the life of the mind, to see past surfaces into the depths, to seek their true vocations rather than the mere satisfaction of appetite and to act responsibly and ethically instead of seeking advantage over others.
Mercer and its First Year Seminars seek to produce men and women who are spiritually and intellectually wealthy, who are able to assess and choose wisely among events and ideas and who thus create for themselves thoughtful, fulfilling, and productive lives.
The First Year Seminar is a two-semester sequence. Each semester, all sections of the seminar focus on a single topic, using texts and events chosen by the individual instructors of the sections. In the fall, students and teachers explore in small discussion groups the topic of "Composing the Self." Building upon that work, they turn outward in the spring to examine the theme "Engaging the World." Part of Mercer's General Education Common Core
The First Year Seminar is part of the Common Core of the General Education Program for students in the College of Liberal Arts, whether they intend to follow the Distributional or Great Books Programs to complete their general education. For students in the Stetson School of Business, the Tift College of Education and the School of Engineering, First Year Seminar serves as part of the required foundational coursework on which later professional education is built.
A student may repeat FYS 101 or FYS 102 only in order to remove a failing grade in that course. Repeats of any FYS course must be completed by the end of the student's second year of study. Students failing to complete this requirement are obliged to successfully complete ENG 108, plus one additional 200-level English course for each of the two FYS courses not completed. Any 200-level English course taken to fulfill the FYS requirement cannot be used to fulfill the Humanities and Fine Arts requirement (Block 3) of the General Education Distributional Program.
First Year Seminar Experiential (FYS/X)
Experiential sections of the First Year Seminar, designated "X," extend the purposes of the program by requiring community service, such as weekly tutoring of elementary school students and participation in neighborhood-building activities.
In the Fall Semester, a weekend camping trip that typically involves ropes-course exercises is also required. Sections which are not designated "X" may require similar activities, at the discretion of the teacher.
In the Fall Semester, the sections designated "X" offer five hours credit. In the Spring Semester, all sections carry four hours credit.
FYS 101. Composing the Self - Fall (4-5 hours)
An exploration of individual identity. What are the sources of identity? Are we free to compose ourselves? What constitutes a worthy individual? What impact does historical circumstance or the circumstance of birth have on individual identity?
FYS 102. Engaging the World - Spring (4 hours)
Prerequisite: successful completion of FYS 101 or consent of the director.
An exploration of life in the world. How do we balance the competing claims of civic duty and individual conscience? What are the meanings and natures of citizenship in a democracy? What constitutes social justice? What is the nature of cross-cultural interaction?
FYS 301. FYS Preceptorship (2-3 hours)
Selected upperclass students serve as teaching facilitators in FYS 101. Preceptors attend all classes, read the assigned work and participate in class discussions. The main duties of the preceptors are to facilitate class discussion and to give constructive feedback on writing assignments. Other duties will be determined by the FYS teacher in consultation with the preceptor. In addition, the preceptor will be required to reflect in writing on the experience. This class will be graded on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis and can be taken only once. (2 hours credit for FYS, 3 hours credit for FYS/X)
FYS 302. FYS Preceptorship (2 hours)
Selected upperclass students serve as teaching facilitators in FYS 102. Preceptors attend all classes, read the assigned work and participate in class discussions. The main duties of the preceptor are to facilitate class discussion and to give constructive feedback on writing assignments. Other duties will be determined by the FYS teacher in consultation with the preceptor. In addition, the preceptor will be required to reflect in writing on the experience. This class will be graded on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis and can be taken only once.