Interim Report on the HASS First-Year Focus Pilot Program

Published in MIT Faculty Newsletter May/June 2011 - By Jeffrey Ravel

Over the past several years, MIT faculty members have created classes in the humanities, arts, and social sciences geared specifically towards first-year students and focused on “big ideas.” Funding from the d’Arbeloff Funds for Excellence in Education and the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (SHASS) Dean’s Funds has supported these pilot subjects. In May 2009, the faculty voted “…to continue experimenting with creating a special program within the HASS Requirement, addressed particularly to first-year undergraduates, termed the ‘First Year Focus (FYF) Program,’ that would provide opportunities and materials for a shared conversation among undergraduates, particularly first-year students.” The Committee on the Undergraduate Program (CUP) Subcommittee on the HASS Requirement (SHR) was asked to oversee this pilot program and recommend no later than fall term AY2014 whether it should become part of the HASS General Institute Requirements (GIRs).

During the past year-and-a-half, SHR members have undertaken a review of the FYF experiment thus far.

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