College of Liberal Arts Designs an Innovative First Year Experience

On the left is INDS 101 Professor Michael Sonksen.

The First Year Experience (FYE) program intends to provide Woodbury students with a welcoming environment designed to acclimate them to college life in a comfortable atmosphere. With a curriculum uniting experiential learning, public history, critical thinking, and technological skills, the FYE promotes a pathway to academic veracity, emotional intelligence and practical knowledge leading to “21st century skills” for the long-term success of Woodbury students. Collaborations between the Interdisciplinary Studies and Professional Writing departments center around shared texts and common experiences.

The common experience is built around a four-week module, including readings and events bringing students and faculty from the different courses together. By these shared experiences, students and faculty have rich conversations, grow intellectually, and develop camaraderie. Each semester the First Year Experience will be tailored to the current moment and be made relevant to the cultural zeitgeist of those few months.

In the fall of 2021, sections of INDS 101 “Journeys” will collaborate with WRIT 113: “First Year Academic Writing” with shared curriculum centered around the United States’ current reckoning with its history of monuments. To do this, students will be looking at Native American art and cultural stereotypes while learning about how murals and public art are new monuments rooted in inclusivity that can help right the wrongs of history. The classes in the FYE will be looking at alternative local sites like the Great Wall of Los Angeles, the Armenian Genocide Memorial, the Sankofa Passage in Leimert Park, and the Jackie Robinson sculpture in Pasadena as examples of public sites that present an alternative urban history.

The First Year Experience program intends to integrate students’ academic, professional, and personal experiences holistically to help them flourish as individuals at Woodbury, in Southern California, and in the world at large. Simultaneously, the FYE prioritizes students’ academic success and individual identity to cultivate their worldview and emotional intelligence for lifelong success and stability in their academic, professional, and personal identities. Exciting plans are in the works for the coming semesters. Stay tuned!


Last Updated on October 11, 2021. 

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