Penn State Schreyer Enhances First-Year Experience

Penn State’s Schreyer Honors College will implement next Fall a new program that provides more community and continuity for entering freshmen. The First-Year Experience will also increase the honors credit hour requirement for the freshman year. The interesting story by Daily Collegian writer Aria Moyer is below.

By Aria Moyer
Collegian Staff Writer

Incoming Schreyer freshmen will see familiar faces throughout their first academic year.

Beginning next fall, incoming Schreyer Honors College freshmen will be required to participate in the First-Year Experience — a sequence of general educational writing and speaking classes with the same professors and classmates during both the fall and spring semesters.

The program intends to prevent incoming Schreyer freshman from feeling lost and overwhelmed in different required Writing/Speaking classes, Schreyer Honors College Associate Dean Arun Upneja said.

Upneja said he’s “very excited” to offer this new and inventive format in a course.

Students will be required to take English/Communications Arts and Sciences 137H (Rhetoric and Civil Life I) in the fall followed by English/Communications Arts and Sciences 138T (Rhetoric and Civil Life II) in the spring, which also satisfies the first-year seminar requirement — 137H is the prerequisite for 138T.

Upneja said these plans have been discussed for a year now through wide consultation with both students and faculty of Schreyer Honors College and the College of Liberal Arts, and feels glad to finally see it all come together.

In the past the only similar combination of classes offered at Penn State has been Liberal Arts 101H (Honors Rhetoric and Civic Life).

Upneja said this was a great class for a single semester, but it lacked the combination of credits and community setting.

“This is where the first-year experience would pick up as both an enjoyment for students and sufficient credits,” he said.

The First-Year Experience also ups the number of credits required for a scholar’s freshman and sophomore year from 18 to 21.

With the inspiration from this course, the honors college implemented the First-Year Experience, which allows for a combination of both first year writing and public speaking for a total of six honors credits, rather than four.

Upneja said that he doesn’t view this idea as an increase in credit or requirement but more as a “sequence of courses. ”

The goal of the combination class, he said is to simply keep the same group of students with the same professors — and it will be up to students to make sure they follow the requirement.

Upneja said he understands it will be difficult to maintain the same scheduled class with the same group of people for both fall and spring semester, but he encourages students to do so.

Schreyer’s Honors College Dean Christian Brady said that he feels this “coherent systematic offering” shows the flexibility of the honors college in a more modern setting.

He added that this is a great opportunity to develop students of integrity through a sense of community and ethics. Brady also mentioned that these classes will only be offered to honors college freshmen and aspiring Paterno Fellows.

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