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FYS Winter 2015 // Wright

FYS 1004: First Year Seminar
Professor and Contact Information:
James Wright: 110 Old Morrison //
Office hours: Hours listed below and by appointment




and by appointment

Course Description: Many of you are entering First Year Seminar having completed First Year
Seminar in Expository Writing (FYSE). Others of you are taking the course as transfer students.
For whatever reason you may be taking FYS this term, make sure to speak with Mr. Wright,
your course instructor, and Dean Martha Billips, coordinator of the First-Year Program, to learn
more about the sequence of courses of which FYS is a part.
In this section of FYS, we will pose a few questions of concern throughout all cultures: What are
health and wellbeing? What does it mean to be healthy and well? How does our sense of
wellbeing depend upon culture? In this FYS course, we will examine the influences of culture on
the definition and practice of human health. We will critically read, talk, and write about the
values, beliefs, and behaviors that inform interpretations of wellbeing across communities,
cultures, and subcultures—both in the United States and abroad. In particular, we will grapple
with the challenging and frequently volatile intersections of these interpretations in intercultural
societies that continue to negotiate different modes of knowing, being, and healing.
The major focus of our study depends is on the connection between reading and writing. You
will learn to clearly, concisely write about what you read. Through essay assignments and
shorter writing assignments (SWAs), you will develop your ability to analyze and argue as part
of the academic community.
Equally important is the opportunity to cultivate cross-cultural understanding and
responsiveness. We will “read” texts as cultures and cultures as texts, considering values and
viewpoints, question differences, and grapple with assumptions. These texts will include essays,
films, professional blogs, art exhibitions, community engagement events, and more. Ultimately,
we will work toward confident, clear, and convincing expression of our own thinking on matters
of global importance.
Required Texts

Fadiman, Anne. The Spirit Catches You
and You Fall Down. New York: FSG,

Graff, Gerald and Cathy Birkenstein.
They Say, I Say. New York: Norton,

FYS 1004 // Winter/Spring 2016

Course Policies and Expectations
FYS is one (1) of three (3) First-Year Seminars. The policies that govern it are the same as
those that govern the other two Seminars. Students enrolled in FYS will eventually enroll in
FYRS in Fall Term 2015 or Winter Term 2016.
Expectations to help create a productive environment where we all learn from/with each other:

Attend and participate in every class session. Missing class, arriving unprepared, or
engaging in non-class related activities during class time may lower your final grade. Of
course, illness or other unpredicted emergencies will occur—and one or two emergency
absences will not hurt your grade, but more than two will take a toll. Keep in mind that there
are no “excused” absences and all absences will be recorded. If you are late for or absent
from a scheduled and required individual or group activity, you will not receive credit for that
activity. If you miss class, you are responsible for learning what you missed (find at least one
classmate to swap phone numbers and/or email addresses with).

Come to class prepared. We will consider our time together in class to be a time devoted to
conversation. You need to come to class prepared to discuss what you have been assigned
for that class period, to reflect upon and express your interpretation of assigned reading,
and to test your interpretation of the text in light of what others have to say. Please complete
all assigned reading and writing assignments prior to class time. Take time to carefully read
assigned texts at least once fully, to look up any unfamiliar terms or references, and to
compose annotations so you are prepared to discuss the text. Then, be sure to bring
annotated copies of texts to class on days they will be discussed. If you choose to access
texts electronically (i.e., on a laptop or tablet), you are responsible for having an app or
program with which you can annotate. If you are having trouble understanding anything,
communicate with classmates, writing center consultants, ACE peer mentors, and Mr.
Wright. We’re all here to help you, but we cannot read minds.

Complete all assigned prewriting (e.g., proposals, outlines) and revision work (e.g., revision
plans) for essays, including all small writing group review sessions and voluntary one-to-one
conferences with Mr. Wright.

When given the opportunity, always revise your work substantially, according to suggestions
provided to you in course texts and feedback from peers (including Writing Center
consultants) and Mr. Wright.

Take yourself seriously as a student writer, but remember this also means allowing yourself
time and permission to make mistakes and learn from them.

Be respectful. This includes paying attention when others are speaking, reading others’ work
carefully and thoughtfully, being considerate of other students’ feelings, using appropriate
language, not monopolizing class conversations, and making your points without being
combative or confrontational. Disagreement with others’ ideas or statements is perfectly
acceptable, even encouraged; that’s part of learning to think about and engage with the
different ideas and worldviews around you. However, if you disagree with someone, explain
why you disagree without attacking the person. Ask questions that will help you understand
what a person means before you decide to counter what they are saying. Hateful,
discriminatory language will not be tolerated in the classroom, in your writing, or in any
space related to coursework.

FYS 1004 // Winter/Spring 2016

►Diversity and Inclusion and Title IX Commitment: In our Transylvania community and in this
course, we celebrate the richness that comes from a range of all our individual differences,
including dimensions of age, culture, education, ethnicity, exceptionalities, gender, geographical
origin, language, politics, race, religion, sexual orientation and socioeconomic status. Carefully
note that your participation grade—and all other grades—depend on your reasonable, fair, and
authentic commitment to these values through demonstration of engaged cultural
responsiveness and respect—including observance of all Title IX principles and procedures.
Click here for more on Diversity and Inclusion and here for more on Title IX.
Assignments and Assessment
 Participation and Attendance (20%)
A Rubric for Participation and Attendance Grade
An “A” grade:
 Actively engages and listens to professor and peers, including careful note-taking
 Arrives fully prepared to every class session
 Completes all writing and presentation assignments
 Attends and contributes fully to all (4) required ACE/FYSE Academic Peer Mentor sessions
 Always reflects regularly on classmates’ blog posts
 Plays an active role in full-class and/or group discussions
 Class comments advance the level and depth of discussion
 Level of class/group discussion is always better because of student’s presence
 Attends and reflects on/responds to all required events out-of-class, including community engagement
and campus corner events

A “B” grade:
 Makes a sincere effort to engage professor and peers
 Arrives mostly prepared to nearly every class session
 Completes all writing and presentation assignments
 Attends and contributes fully to most (3) ACE/FYSE Academic Peer Mentor sessions
 Reflects regularly on classmates’ blog posts
 Participates fully in full-class and/or group discussions
 Makes relevant class comments
 Level of class/group discussion is occasionally better because of student’s presence
 Attends and reflects on/responds to all required events out-of-class, including community engagement
and campus corner events

A “C” grade:
 Limited interaction with professor and peers
 Preparation, and therefore level of participation, are both inconsistent
 Completes most writing and presentation assignments
 Attends and contributes fully to some (2) ACE/FYSE Academic Peer Mentor sessions
 Reflects occasionally on classmates’ blog posts
 When prepared, participates in full-class and/or group discussions.
 Rarely makes relevant class comments
 Level of class or group discussion is not affected by the student’s presence
 Attends some and reflects on/responds to required events out-of-class, including community
engagement and campus corner events

A “D” grade:
 Almost no interaction with professor and peers

FYS 1004 // Winter/Spring 2016

Rarely participates in full-class or and/or small group discussion
Completes few writing and presentation assignments
Attends few of the ACE/FYSE Academic Peer Mentor sessions
Rarely reflects on classmates’ blog posts
Never makes relevant class comments
Level of class or group discussion is not affected by the student’s presence
Attends few of required events out-of-class, including community engagement and campus corner

An “F” grade:
 No interaction with professor or peers
 Rarely prepared
 Multiple absences
 Completes nearly none or none of the writing and presentation assignments
 Demonstrates a noticeable lack of interest in the material
 Level of class or group discussion is harmed by the student’s presence

Keep these key participation requirements in mind:
 Blog post deadlines: post your assigned blog work at 8am on the morning of
each due date.
 Responding to classmates’ blog posts: part of your participation grade
depends on how fully and how often you comment on your classmates’ blog
posts. Spend some time every week responding to what they write.
Technology note: make sure to allow permission if prompted via email.
 Attend three (3) community engagement events:
Required: Campus Community Corner (Monday, February 15 or
Thursday, March 31)
Required: MLK Day Events (one event: either the MLK march or the MLK
afternoon discussion)
Required: Cornbread Supper Community Discussion (attend one supper
on one Monday night at any point during the term)
Optional: Volunteer via Natasha Begin @ Community Service and Civic
Engagement (
 Attend four (4) ACE/FYS Academic Peer Mentor (PM) sessions: meet with a
PM either one-on-one or in a small group of no more than four participants. I’ll
post the sign-up sheets on Google Docs. One PM session on April 6-8 is
required (along with a Writing Center appointment and a library session).
 Shorter Writing Assignments (20%)
You will write a minimum of eighteen (18) shorter writing assignments (referred to as SWA in
the schedule). Each of these will be responded to and evaluated using the rubric below. The
purpose of these assignments is to get you to question and respond to class readings,

FYS 1004 // Winter/Spring 2016

events, and classmates’ views and to ask (and possibly answer) complex questions. SWAs
also help you work toward your three (3) longer essays. SWAs, as you will see, are less
formal than your essays, so you should relax and enjoy them. However, you should still take
them seriously and allow time to address them with respect and attention, which includes
using the best grammar, spelling, and mechanics you can. Lastly, make sure to remember
that whatever you compose and post is visible publically—to everyone and anyone.

√- (1 point)

√ (2 points)

Not submitted
or late

Submitted on time,
Submitted on time,
but not on topic or is on topic, sufficient

√+ (3 points)
Submitted on time, on
topic, strong

 Essays (60%), which includes:
o Summary-Analysis Essay (15%)
o Argument Critique/Response Essay (20%)
o Argument Essay (25%)
You will receive detailed assignment sheets about each essay closer to its due date.
Academic Honesty: All students at Transylvania University are expected to adhere to the
highest standards of academic integrity. Students who are found guilty of academic dishonesty
will be sanctioned in a manner that is appropriate to the infraction. Sanctions may include
receiving a failing grade on the assignment or being assigned a failing grade in the course. For
more information, see the undergraduate
Disability Services: We all have different learning preferences, styles, and abilities. If you are
having any trouble with course delivery methods or expectations, talk with Mr. Wright to
determine how to best address the situation. Additionally, Transylvania University adheres to
the Americans with Disabilities Act. Qualified students with disabilities needing appropriate
academic adjustments should contact Mr. Wright as soon as possible to ensure that their needs
are met in a timely manner. To request accommodations or discuss accessibility at
Transylvania, please contact Brenda Dennis, disability services coordinator, at (859) 281-3682
Writing Center Services: For personal, one-on-one assistance with writing assignments, visit
the Writing Center located in Haupt Humanities 12 and 15. Schedule an appointment by using
the online appointment scheduler at or by contacting Becky Mills
by email at You may also visit her at the Center to schedule your
appointment. For more information about Writing Center services, visit the webpage:
Learning Skills: If you would like to sharpen your study, reading, and test-taking skills, then join
the Learning Skills Program and take Master Student classes with Greg Strouse. For more
information, visit the Learning Skills Program (LSP) webpage: You may also contact the director of the
LSP, Professor Greg Strouse, at