Faculty Approves Enhanced First-Year Program
In a move designed to
enhance an already successful program, the faculty in April approved
an expanded First-Year Program to begin in the fall of 2005. The new
program will include both fall and spring term seminars that will be
tailored to first-year students and that are linked together in
“thematic clusters.” According to Katharine Power, dean of the
First-Year Program, the changes will give students an even more solid
foundation upon which to build their academic careers. “What we’re
doing is offering first-year students an opportunity to become more
involved intellectually,” she says. “The spring term seminars will
allow students to delve more deeply into a particular area of study as
part of a larger group of first-year students. We’re very excited
about the possibilities this will offer to our students as well as our
faculty.” Power, who is also associate professor of theater and dance
as well as an associate academic dean, points out that while the pilot
program is currently being referred to as the “enhanced” First-Year
Program, it will, in fact, have its own name.
The formation of thematic clusters will provide students with a wide
range of learning opportunities within a particular academic
framework. Three or more seminars, linked by subject matter, will form
each cluster. Faculty members who participate will design their
seminars in cooperation with at least of two of their colleagues to
form a cluster. Each thematic category will focus on one or more broad
questions, problems, or ideas that lend themselves to debate, to
multi-disciplinary study, and to clearly defined methods of inquiry.
In order to expose students to the wider intellectual community at
Trinity, clusters will be designed to engage in common and
co-curricular activities that might include common lectures and
reading materials, community activities and field trips, or
collaborative projects and presentations.
The other significant change to the program is the creation of
specific learning goals for first-year students. A faculty group, a
sub-committee of the Enhanced First-Year Planning Committee, worked
over the summer to clarify those goals. The enhanced program, which
will be voluntary, will encourage students to develop competent skills
in the areas of critical reading and thinking, writing, oral
presentation, information literacy, and research methods.
Faculty members interested in participating in the enhanced First-Year
Program should contact Power.
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