Fall semester began last week and thousands of students attended their first class.
“There’s always a sense of energy and excitement that comes with the first week of class,” said Nancy E. Hill, Charles Bigelow Professor of Education. “There’s so much enthusiasm about what the year ahead holds, hopes and dreams that students have about their new year. As a faculty member I think about it as well — what do I hope to accomplish in the year ahead?”
Hill is teaching “#Adulting: Social Science Perspectives on the Transition to Adulthood,” a first-year seminar about what it means to be an adult, how society defines adulthood, and how those markers may look different for different adolescents.
“It’s a fun class to teach because the students are in the middle of it,” Hill said. “It’s just a fun way to think about that first year in College and it gives them an opportunity to learn about theories and research, but also do self-reflection.”
In Miaki Ishii’s first-year seminar, “Earth Science Goes to the Movies,” students will watch natural-disaster movies, learn the science behind the disasters portrayed, and use math and physics concepts to calculate how realistic the portrayal is.
Ishii, a professor of earth and planetary sciences, started with a brain-teasing icebreaker to get the students collaborating. She wrote the students’ names on the board in a nonalphabetic but nonrandom order, and had students do a scientific investigation using the info that they wrote on their own seminar application forms to figure out how they were categorized.
“They have to communicate with one another, get data, and try to recreate the order,” Ishii said. “The first class is really geared toward how to get students comfortable with one another so that we can talk.”