First Year Learning Communities
Explore a thought-provoking topic, bond with your peers in small groups, and build your confidence.
First Year Learning Community Details
- Four credits.
- Open to first-year students 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. Note: Arts Management and Legal Studies First -Years will have their own First-Year Seminar: Connecting Arts and Community at Purchase and will not choose a Learning Community. Global Scholars will be placed into EDG2010 Global Scholars Seminar.
- Open to both residential and commuter students.
- Taught by full-time faculty or faculty-in-residence.
- Each FYLC has assigned peer mentors who support first-year students’ transition to the college experience.
- Foster academic success
- Discover and connect with Purchase College
- Promote personal development, wellbeing, and social responsibility
- Develop critical thinking and reasoning skills
Topics and Faculty
Students can choose a First-Year Learning Community of their choice (up to three options) during the registration process. You will be placed in a FYLC on a first-come, first-served basis. If your first choice is full, you will be assigned to the second or third choice based on availability.
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.
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.
Associate Professor of Biology
What makes us human? Why do we have sex? Why do we smile? How do pandemics emerge? Why should we care about climate change? Through a mix of in-class activities and hands-on projects, this seminar will explore the causes and consequences of biodiversity and evolutionary ecology. The seminar will also offer opportunities for students to explore the beauty of Purchase Campus and the various student services offered by the College.
Assistant Professor of Psychology
This course will explore Latinx/a/o/e identity in the United States using a social
psychological approach. We will explore how Latinx identity has developed and evolved throughout history. Various topics will be examined including the development of ethnic identity, Latinx history and culture, social justice, activism, and the psychological processes associated with Latinx identity, among other topics. The course will incorporate a variety of learning materials including books, podcasts, videos, documentaries, social media, and guest lectures. Students will explore how Latinx culture has influenced New York City and its surrounding communities through trips, local events, and projects. Importantly, students will examine what it means to be Latinx
at Purchase College—a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI).
This course is suitable for all students, whether or not they identify as Latinx
Assistant Professor of Journalism
This course will empower students to acclimate to their freshman year by taking an active role in the basic skills of reporting. Students will be introduced to the foundational elements of reporting, researching, interviewing and writing, and become active consumers of news from a variety of outlets, from The New York Times to Twitter to TikTok. Students will immerse themselves as reporters into the various areas of the college by interviewing members of administration, faculty, staff and other students to report on and explore issues related to all aspects of campus life. Students will learn how to approach subjects for interviews, conduct interviews and write articles that will be published in the student-run campus publication The Phoenix.
No previous journalism experience is required; a curiosity and openness to stretch oneself is encouraged.
Associate Professor of Philosophy
This course will help students navigate college and the liberal arts by looking carefully at truth – at whether and when it exists, how we access it, whether different people access it differently, whether it changes or is relative, and at competing truths, denial, and willful ignorance. We will explore truth via texts, methods, and the kind of intellectual community central to philosophy and the humanities overall. Readings from Descartes, Hegel, Nietzsche, and Freud will be supplemented by more recent work in the philosophy of science, hermeneutics (the study of interpretation), critical race and feminist theories, and moral and political philosophy. Our aim will be to articulate workable conceptions of truth, steering between the twin rocks of naïve insistence and despairing cynicism. Truth may be tricky and complicated, at least at times, but it is not something to give up on!
Assistant Professor of Practice in Entrepreneurship in the Arts
Using classroom discussion and interactive learning activities, this seminar explores the role of art in society through the lens of prominent themes that have influenced United States history. After reviewing the government and institutional support for arts that emerged in the 1940s and 1950s (i.e., Works Progress Administration, National Endowment for the Arts), students engage with contemporary questions related to art as a catalyst for change (e.g., social justice, community engagement, democratization of culture, free speech, etc.). The seminar ends with forward looking vision of what the arts and creative industries hold in store for the future.
Assistant Professor of History
This First-Year Learning Community Seminar, on Inequality and the Post-Industrial City and taught by history professor Jessica Levy, focuses on navigating two key spaces: Purchase College and the ‘post-industrial’ city. The seminar pays particular attention to questions of inequality and access, exploring how recent shifts in the economy—the decline in manufacturing and the rise of the service sector—have affected residential segregation, employment opportunities for immigrants, the recreational habits of urban professionals, and where, and if, people choose to attend college, just to name a few examples. In addition to weekly readings, students will complete a series of assignments to familiarize them with different campus resources and increase access to Purchase College and beyond.
The language you speak is an integral part of your identity. Like nationality, religion, and membership in a community (such as
Purchase College!), your native language and the language(s) you use in your daily life are part of who you are. For people who speak a language other than the dominant language of the country in which they live, issues of identity and belonging become critical. In this seminar, we will explore the complex issues related to language and identity, with a specific focus on non-native speakers of English.
We will discuss the meaning of various terms, including native speaker, bilingual, code-switching, pidgin, and creole to understand the ways language shapes a person’s sense of self.
Assistant Professor of Philosophy
In this class, we will explore philosophical approaches to questions of knowledge, existence, the good life, and moral action. Though there is a great deal of work in the history of philosophy to draw upon in treating these themes, we will focus on contemporary works written for a broad audience. Mainly, these works will provide tools for thinking about and discussing important questions as a class. Issues that are particularly relevant in our current age, issues involving misinformation, identity, rights, and equity, will be our focus. The aim is not to answer every question we ask, but to begin developing and cultivating the art of asking a question and the practice of rigorously interrogating the answers we give as a way of opening up new avenues of thought, avenues that can be transformative. The aim, then, is to begin something here that will continue in your other classes and throughout your college career.
Assistant Professor of Practice, Sociology
We scroll, we zombie scroll, we doomscroll. Sometimes we think we spend too much time scrolling social media, but we don’t want FOMO to seep in, so we keep going. When we apply sociology to this habit, we can understand so much about ourselves. Your whole lives since you were given your first phones, have revolved around it. Why? Because part of our everyday lives now requires participation in various aspects of social media. In this course, students explore interdisciplinary research that reveals the ways social media functions as an institution in their lives, shaping systems that establish relationships, behavior, belief, rules and norms that arrange their Purchase college society and influence their experiences. We’ll also examine how identities and expectations are transforming in the realm of social media and, as a result, in our society as a whole. We will focus on friendships, dating, sex, health, jobs/professions, music, gaming, fashion and more, all while applying this to your new home, Purchase College. Experiential activities may include creating as a class a “how to” social media instruction book aimed at older adults, and a visit to the Spy Museum in NYC, and various guest lecturers from Purchase faculty in other disciplines.
Associate Professor of Literature
This First-year Seminar will empower students to acclimate to their freshman year via literary study. In this introductory course we will examine a variety of literary texts from various thematic perspectives such as love, gender, family, loss, and social critique. We will read both short works and selections from longer works in the hope that students will feel encouraged to read and examine the longer work on their own. No prior knowledge of literature is required. Bring your love of reading and your interest in discussion. Any student who wishes to introduce a text or texts that are outside the selection offered in this course is welcome to do so. We will also discuss and include topics such as time management, using the library, plagiarism etc. with help from our peer mentors
Assistant Professor of Literature
This course explores world-building—the art of immersing audiences in imaginary universes populated by wizards, heroes, monsters, and other varieties of fantastic beasts. Students will immerse themselves in a variety of fantastic worlds—from J. R. R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth, to Ursula K. Le Guin’s Earthsea, to N. K. Jemison’s Floating City of Sky—paying close attention to the various techniques through which authors build worlds with words. In addition to learning to think and write critically about fantasy literature, students will experiment with building their own fantastic worlds through mapping, character development, and fictional ethnography.