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FYPDS Becoming ERA

Lynch School Freshman Seminar Will Undergo Numerous Changes To Emphasize Ignatian Values

Heights Staff

Published: Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01

The Lynch School of Education’s (LSOE) freshman seminar class is anticipating changes to improve its structure and effectiveness. The current class, First Year Professional Development Seminar (FYPDS), is a required, year-long class for all freshmen entering LSOE. It provides an outlook on college life and what experiences students may encounter during their first year, spanning anywhere from academic to social issues. The course is in a developmental stage of changing not only the name, however, but also adopting a focus on the Ignatian value asking, “What does it mean to be well educated?”

“The program has been in place for a couple of years … [and] we’ve been trying this semester to make it a little more cohesive,” said Sara Rosen, co-coordinator of FYPDS and LGSOE ’13. “We’ve looked at different things like the Ignatian pedagogy, the Jesuit ideal of teaching, and how that is or isn’t infused in the different Boston College experiences that freshmen and all students come in contact with.”
The reformed class, titled Freshmen ERA (Experience, Reflection, Action), will commence in the fall of 2012, and will also be run differently in terms of logistics. The current class is a full-year course, requiring one credit in the fall and two in the spring. In contrast, the new class will be a full-year, two-credit class supported by the Ignatian pedagogy that inspires thoughtful thinking, and is intended to encourage good decision-making for college and the future. The class will require a once-a-week classroom session with about 17 students, and then a full- program meeting once a week as well.

“We wanted to change the name because it didn’t make sense for what was going on in the class,” Rosen said. “[ERA] ties into the readings that we discuss and has more to do with what we want the freshmen to get out of the course.”
BC’s university-wide switch to a credit-based system also influenced changes to the program. “FYPDS, prior to this year, was only a one-credit class,” Rosen explained. “The credits being taken through ERA are going to count towards the total number of credits you need to take.” Rosen added at the end, “The shift is toward something more academic, not just something to help with adjusting to college.”

Megan Tincher, lead coordinator of FYPDS and LGSOE ’12, and Lindsey Weber, co-coordinator of FYPDS and LGSOE ’12, offered insight on what the reforms will do for the freshmen enrolled in the class. “Basically, we hope to continue to build off of the course already in place by bolstering the readings, incorporating Blackboard Vista to improve student access to and participation with the material, and emphasizing collaboration between group facilitators and peer advisors.”

The changes are still in their developmental stages, but Tincher included that, “[The coordinators] are passionate about adapting our curriculum to continue producing confident, independent adults and learners who act and teach for social justice.”

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