Like many schools, we have a required first-year experience class. (Here’s the website for our program.) It can be satisfied in several different ways, but the most common (I think) is to take a 3-credit 100-level class plus a one-credit FYE add-on, usually taught by the same instructor. That way, the “adapting to college” bits don’t take time away from course material, yet there’s still continuity & credibility because it’s taught by content faculty.
As with any formal requirement, many students are a bit cynical about the program, deriding it as at best a waste of time, and at worst an opportunity for brainwashing of sorts. Some of that’s fading away as we do a better job of getting students an FYE course in their first semester. (Next semester, I’ll be teaching second-semester students in an FYE section of 110, which is always weird. They’ve already fallen into the bad habits that the FYE course is supposed to help inoculate them against. Plus, because they’re in their second semester, it’s too late to spring on them the strong statistical correlation between first-semester grades and time-to-degree.)
In the NY Times today, though, UCLA guard Jrue Holiday proclaims his fye-type class his favorite so far:
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CLASS AT U.C.L.A.? We have a life-skills class that teaches us about stress and stuff. I guess the stress is starting to build because of the basketball, so it really helps. They make us meditate and everything. It’s kind of cool.
That humming sound you’ll hear next semester at 1pm on Wednesdays will be my FYE students meditating so they can be cool like Jrue Holiday. (It’s far too late for me to be cool like anything, as my cyberpunk students will attest.)