- Teaching an FSP has given me an opportunity to design and teach a class on a focused topic that exposes students to ideas and information from multiple disciplinary perspectives that they likely will not encounter in their major curriculum, and introduces them to scholarly approaches to important questions that they likely have not considered before and may not encounter again. Complementing the course with a CEL component has demonstrated to students the out-of-classroom, off-campus relevance of what we’re discussing in class, and has produced some of the most insightful writings from the class. Working with a colleague and the Liberal Learning office, I was able to arrange a field trip to Newark and the Passaic River that illustrated the relevance of our topic–environmental justice–to people’s everyday lives in communities with which most of our students are not familiar. Overall, the FSP teaching experience has been a rewarding chance to get unreformed high school students excited about and engaged in the life of the mind, and hopefully prepare them for the rest of their time at TCNJ.
- Teaching an FSP was a wonderful experience, a great opportunity to engage in something unique and different from my usual teaching responsibilities. I got to introduce first year students to a lesser-known area of study and explore the topic in depth along with them. The small group size and heavily discussion-oriented nature of the seminar fostered critical thinking skills in students and facilitated some excellent discussions.
- FSP students never go away. As they continue their studies at TCNJ and beyond in graduate school or pursue careers in their chosen fields, they continue to stay in touch. I can see what a profound effect the course has had on their lives and their intellectual development, and I take great pride in their accomplishments.
- I’ve been excited about the FSP program ever since it was announced; after years of Rhetoric and/or Athens to New York, finally the College was willing to create an introductory course the right way: pairing a small number of students interested in a topic with an instructor who is passionate or at least also very interested in the topic. By teaching the FSP the very first semester, we get the students before they have the chance to become jaded, which has given me to the chance to inspire them about learning, improving their skills, and the topic. Thus, I have taught one or two sections of FSP every year since it began. I’ve taught my FSP on three different topics, and I have 3 or 4 more I would like to try out in the years to come. Some of these topics I cannot teach in my regular department courses, so the FSP allows me to learn more about the topic myself, to teach a different cohort of students, and to come up with solutions to new pedagogical problems. As long as there is an FSP program, I will be one of the instructors and its biggest supporters.