FYI Communities

The Freshman Year Initiative

The Freshman Year Initiative is a unique program that brings entering students together in two paired courses, often on a related topic, for their first semester at Queens College. Most students begin their freshman year with FYI.

There are two courses in every FYI Community:

  1. A General Education course that fulfills a CUNY-Pathways requirement.
  2. English 110: College Writing. (This is a college-wide requirement.) Instructors select topics as a thematic focus for the course. These topics are often aligned with the general education courses with which they're paired.

FYI Learning Communities for Fall 2015

Anthopology 101 + English 110 Topic: Cultural Identity

Art History 110 + English 110 Topic: The Visual World

Astronomy 1 + English 110 Topics: The Planet & Food

Biology 11 + English 110 Topic: Mobility

Chemistry 113 + English 110 Topic: Literacy & Languages

Computer Science 100 + English 110 Topic: The Digital Revolution

Drama 1 + English 110 Topic: The American Dreams

Drama 100 + English 110 Topic: TBA

Economics 101 + English 110 Topic: Celebrity Culture

Education 105 + English 110 Topic: Cultural Identity

FNES 163 + English 110 Topics: Food & Writing Religion

History 101 + English 110 Topic: Writing Religion

History 104 + English 110 Topic: TBA

LCD 101 + English 110 Topic: American Dreams

Music 1 + English 110 Topic: Creativity

Philosophy 104 + English 110 Topic: Memory

Psychology 101 + English 110 Topics: Celebrity Culture, Comedy & Satire, & American Dreams

Sociology 101 + English 110 Topics: Language & Literacy, Comedy & Satire

Urban Studies 101 + English 110 Topic: Reading Film

Urban Studies 103 + English 110 Topic: Reading Film

Sample* English 110 Topics
American Dreams
Where did the term “American Dream” originate? Is there more than one “American Dream”? How has the meaning of this concept changed over time? Who were the first American dreamers? Do certain groups have more trouble attaining the dream than others?

In this course, we will explore the ways that writing shapes and expresses our conceptions of beauty. How have ideas about beauty been “constructed,” and how defines our perceptions of ourselves, others, and the world? How can we refine our definitions of beauty?

Celebrity Culture
We read about celebrities, peruse their blogs, follow them on Twitter and watch avidly as they rise and fall and rise again. Yet what does it mean to be a celebrity in America? Why do we elevate certain people to prominence and give them a national narrative? What do our views on celebrity reveal about our world and ourselves?

How does the creative process work, and where do our ideas and inspirations come from? Which creative strategies that we see in the arts can we apply and use in our writing?

Cultural Identity
How do you identify yourself culturally?  How is cultural identity important to you (or not) and to your peers and family? How do cultural forces shape our beliefs and habits? How do people in different cultures make sense of themselves and their worlds?

How are dreams analyzed? What can we learn about ourselves and our culture by exploring dreams?

What happens inside you when you eat a hamburger, a carrot, a cookie, or a dumpling? What happens among us when we share those foods across cultures and in families? How do we build social worlds around food?

How do our memories of events shape our understanding of ourselves and our world, and what can scholars tell us about the ways that those memories are created, stored, and recalled?  How do our memories work and fail?

New York City
New York City exerts a powerful international influence in the areas of commerce, finance, architecture, culture, art, and politics. A big city of small neighborhoods, its many cultures are shaped by centuries of immigration. What can we discover about our city and ourselves through reading, writing, and viewing films set in NYC?

Page to Stage
How do actors become the people that they portray?  They don’t, of course, but they convince us that they do temporarily by turning the words of a script into the thoughts and feelings that they make visible to us.  How does that transformation happen?

How have different religions been defined and spread through writing? What does an analysis of religious texts add to our understanding of the role that religions play in our diverse world?

Reading Film
How can you “read” a film? Students in this community will learn a variety of ways to answer that question and practice writing about visual media.

The Planet
What does it mean for the earth to be irreversibly changed by human activities? How are humans vulnerable to out-of-control ecosystems? Ecological movements have historically relied on the rhetoric of a vulnerable earth and, to a lesser but increasing extent, of vulnerable human societies, in making their claims. We all know basic facts about the environment—that pollution is bad, for example, and recycling is good—but scientists tell us that we need to learn much more, and we need to learn it quickly for the sake of the planet. How can we analyze the arguments that prove most convincing to the leading scientists of our time?

The Visual World
Most of us are skilled visual observers of a modern world in which films and advertisements employ advanced and expensive technologies to show us images unlike any that we have seen before. How can we become more sophisticated “readers” of visual images?

Literacy and Language
Our minds make meaning out of language as we analyze the ways that we learned to read, speak, and write.  What are the processes that enable the English language to change over time, to enable human beings to share their thoughts with words?

Writing Biology
Our knowledge of biology depends on what we read and write about science. Writers create images of biological “reality” that pass as pure “fact.” How does the language that a writer chooses when writing about biology shape what readers understand?

*Many English instructors choose a thematic focus for their readings and writings.

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