THE HISTORY OF FYE COURSES
AND THE SLS 1503 COURSE ON THE FAU CAMPUS
The freshman year has historically been considered a unique time in students’ lives.
There are many challenges and opportunities for learning both inside and outside of the classroom.
One way educators have responded to the need of first-year students during this critical time of adjustment and transition has been to provide them with classes directly aimed at orienting them to the new culture.
Freshmen seminars have existed on campuses in America for over 100 years. The earliest were offered at Lee College in Kentucky in 1882 and at Boston College in 1888.
The first credit-bearing course was offered at Reed College in 1911.
Even though these early seminars were designed to fit the characteristics of the individual institutions and their students, most had in common the goal of informing the students about the university and about college life in general.
Over the years, the freshman seminar has seen some fluctuation in its popularity. This type of course almost disappeared in the 1960's but saw rebirth and steady growth during the 1970's.
The rebirth was spurred by the work of Dr. John N. Gardner of the University of South Carolina. Dr. Gardner developed a new freshman experience course in 1972 at the request of the President of U.S.C.-Thomas Jones. It was part of Dr. Jones’ response to civil unrest on the USC campus.
Today, freshman courses are on more campuses than ever before. They are a highly recognized means of addressing the issues and problems of contemporary college life.
A first-year course was originally developed for the S.O.A.R. summer bridge program.
It began its growth spurt in 1998 when a new philosophy and structure were adopted for the class. At about that time, the class opened its doors to students entering the University with conditional admissions in the fall and the spring semesters.
2000: SLS classes were first offered to athletes who are required by the NCAA to take a study-skills
2001: the first SLS class was offered as a part of a Learning Community for undecided students
2002: college sponsored Freshman Learning Communities were developed and sections of SLS were added to them
2003: Athlete specific sections were created to better address the unique needs of recruited athletes
2005: It became a part of Freshman Living Learning Communities
2007: SLS became required for those living in the First Year Experience residence hall
2011: SLS 1503 became 2 credit course
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