First Year Learning Communities
Explore a thought-provoking topic, bond with your peers in small groups, and build your confidence.
Choose Your First-Year Experience
We provide a solid footing at the starting line for all. College Writing and a choice of First-Year Seminar options are required. Choose from either a First-Year Seminar OR a First-Year Learning Community Seminar. Both bring together BA and BS students in the liberal arts and sciences in small group discussions. (Students in the arts earning BFAs and MusBs have first-year programs built into their curriculum.)
First-Year Learning Community Seminar
Taught by faculty, First-Year Learning Community Seminars (FYLC) are small, innovative classes with topics that reflect the instructor’s intellectual interests.
Limited to 20 students each, FYLC Seminars provide students an opportunity to engage with faculty and peers on topics of intellectual and social significance in a small class environment. The FYLC seminar reflects the faculty member’s unique area of study and interests. The FYLC Seminar promotes exploration of higher education, intellectual exchange, critical thinking, and community.
FYLC Seminar Details
- Three credits.
- Open to first-year students (and new transfers with less than 30 credits) in BA and BS degree programs in the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences as well as students in the BA Theatre and Performance program.
- Open to both residential and commuter students.
- Includes placement in a companion course, generally College writing or another general education course.
- Taught by faculty or faculty-in-residence, who also serve as students’ academic advisors.
- Each FYLC seminar has an assigned peer mentor.
- Includes an invitation to the FLYC Fellows extended orientation program.
FYLC Summer Fellows Program
Those who opt to enroll in the FYLC Seminar are encouraged, but not required, to attend an extended overnight orientation program. The two and a half day program allows a deeper dive into the college life transition and a connection with peers in the seminar.
The program will run from August 23 to August 25 (just prior to the start of the semester).
Watch for more information on how to apply to a FYLC Summer Fellows program in the coming weeks.
FYLC Seminar Learning Outcomes
- Foster academic success
- Discover and connect with Purchase College
- Promote personal development, wellbeing, and social responsibility
- Develop critical thinking and reasoning skills
How to Apply
Students can choose a First-Year Learning Community Seminar of their choice (up to three options) during the registration process. Students are placed in Seminars on a first-come, first-served basis. If a student’s first choice is full, they will be assigned to the second or third choice based on availability.
Seminar Topics and Faculty
Assistant Professor of Political Science
This course looks at the politics of media ecologies. Learn media literacy, the ways political institutions and actors interface with media, and how to be a socially responsible media consumer and sharer.
Professor of Media Studies
Black Futures explores pasts, presents, and futures of Black Life, emphasizing the creativity, endurance, and resilience of Black peoples. Incorporating an eclectic array of source materials from ancient art and slave narratives, to music and blockbuster media, the course will cultivate global historical perspectives and critical thinking and reasoning skills, grounded in the present, in the Movement for Black Lives in particular, as well as the ways ordinary people (including students) are creating the conditions for Black futures to emerge and thrive around the world.
Visiting Assistant Professor of Cinema Studies and Film
This course explores heterogeneous genres of personal documentary, essay film, and autobiographical or first-person media from film and video to photography. Drawing on traditions in literature, anthropology, commercial and independent filmmaking, and social justice activism and organizing, these works are opened up through texts from the disciplines of gender studies, cultural studies, disability studies, cinema and media theory, history, and critical ethnic studies.
Projects include both writing assignments, and creative exercises utilizing “personal media” such as simple voice recording software and digital photo capture and video recording via phones and laptops, in conversation with the works addressed.
This course is accessible and applicable across students’ majors, and is particularly useful for those who are undeclared.
Visiting Assistant Professor of Literature
In this course, students will explore the many community resources that support and affirm LGBTQIA+ students and allies on our Purchase campus, including academic, health and wellness, and social advocacy resources. Hear guest lectures and panels from LGBTQIA+ community leaders beyond our campus borders, including those near home in Westchester and NYC and those working further afield in embattled states like Texas. Engage with the campus and local community through planning and hosting an event.
Engage in volunteer work at Westchester’s LOFT LGBT Center and take a Purchase in the City trip to visit the Ali Forney Center for Homeless LGBTQIA+ youth or The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, & Transgender Community Center of New York City.
This course is suitable for all students, whether or not they identify within the LGBTQIA+ community, including for those pursuing careers in public service fields.
Associate Professor of Creative Writing
At the heart of transformation is the contemplative practice of learning how to see. By perceiving our ego and unconscious biases, we better see our world in order to transform it, whether through the power of art, social justice, science, or one’s more personal spiritual journey. Through a variety of resources (readings, discussions, multimedia, events, etc.) students will learn what it means to see for themselves.
Lecturer of Screenwriting and Film
This seminar will focus on students’ personal development by engaging their creativity through filmmaking. We will begin with a personal piece of writing in the form of a poem or short essay that reflects on who they are today, and explores who they imagine they will become by the end of college.
Instruction will cover creative writing methods, a variety of photographic and film styles, editing techniques and even sound design, guiding students to a fully realized short film. Throughout this process students will advance their literacy in the most influential language of our era, video.
Finally, when students reach graduation, they will be encouraged to look back on the film they created and consider who they were during their beginnings at Purchase College.
Assistant Professor of Playwriting
Writing well can offer many ways to make a living, not only while students find their path to their professional lives, but also once they’ve found it.
Journey into different genres of writing from academic papers and journalistic pieces, to character profiles, marketing and advertising materials, grant writing, and even cooking recipes.
Explore Purchase history, including the cemeteries in and around the college, the immigration inflow from Central America to Port Chester and surrounding villages (and the amazing food they’ve brought with them), and on the way new media shapes the stories we hear and live every day.
Visiting Assistant Professor of Cinema Studies
Explore the global development of film and media festivals and discover the complex ways in which they shape cultural valuation and political engagement with the arts.
Festivals have themselves frequently served as media spectacles, and in this seminar students will engage with the political contexts and media ethics debates that informed the post-WWII growth of festival cultures.
Formats discussed include “legacy” festivals (such as the Venice and Cannes Film Festivals), events drawing on international networks (FESPACO), locally-produced independent festivals, and festivals focused on specific social justice issues or themes like human rights campaigns and LGBTQ, feminist, and antiracist activism.
Learn to analyze film and media festivals as institutions and cultural forms that continue to inform how media circulate globally today.
Students will have the opportunity to develop their own media festival proposals on a theme of their choosing, in which they will pitch a program of film and media works and assemble a schedule of events. Experience a film and media festival through field trips and workshops.
Associate Professor of Biology
What do medicine, biotechnology, and climate science have in common? Basic research in each of these fields promises to improve human health, mitigate existential risks, and address social justice issues we are facing today.
Advances in these fields, such as the use of stems cells, in vitro fertilization, human genome editing, genetically modified crops, and green energy, have been the focus of public controversies, political talking points, and bioethical debates.
And some of the most important bioethical questions fall at the intersection of these three fields. As a consequence, conflicts of interest can arise.
How do we balance public demand for rapid progress in biomedical research with our shared need to uphold social, environmental, and health justice values?
Explore the benefits and risks of biomedical, biotech, and climate science research and learn about recent discoveries and research methods to understand scientific claims and their bioethical and social justice issues surrounding them.
Experiential activities include a tree diversity project, a field trip to New York City trip to a museum, and guest lectures.
Guadalupe (Lupita) Gonzalez
Assistant Professor of Psychology
This course explores the historical and contemporary use of Latin American music in social movements. We will explore how artists have used music as a form of resistance and protest throughout Latin America. Various genres will be examined including Corridos, Hip-Hop, Reggaetón, Salsa, Rock, Pop, among others. Artists that will be discussed include Los Tigres del Norte, Residente, Bad Bunny, Ivy Queen, Mana, ChocQuibTown, among others.
The course will incorporate a variety of learning materials including songs, videos, documentaries, scholarly literature, social media, and guest lectures. In addition, students will explore how Latin American music has influenced New York City and its surrounding communities through trips, local events, and projects. Overall, this course will help students understand how Latin American music has been used to support intersectional feminist movements, Indigenous and Afro-Latinx movements, immigration movements, among others.
This course is suitable for all students, whether or not they speak Spanish or identify as Latinx.