first year odyssey

FYO 100
Section A02 - M 1-1:50pm
Section C04 - W 1-1:50pm
Wister 202

Fall 2004

Welcome to the "First Year Odyssey."

course description:

An "odyssey" is, by definition, a journey and a quest, often with various twists and turns. The "First Year Odyssey" at La Salle is designed to help you as you embark on your college experience at La Salle University as a first year student. As such, it is a journey on several levels and a quest seeking particular goals.

It is both an odyssey through La Salle as an institution, entering into its heritage, academic expectations, setting, and values, as well as an odyssey within yourselves, seeking to understand better who you are going to be, what your role is here at La Salle, and how you will take on responsibilities as a college student. Moreover, it is an odyssey upon which you set out together as a community of learners, forming bonds with one another, your professors, the wider community, and campus staff.

There are four basic areas that the "First Year Odyssey" will focus upon: The academic values and requirements of La Salle University with a focus upon the Core Curriculum and La Salle as a liberal arts university in the Catholic and Lasallian tradition.

The services, guidance, and assistance available to you as part of the university community including academic support, counseling, health, and so on.

The commitment of La Salle to community involvement and service, stressing that we are not passive learners, but also actively seek to give back to one another, to the university, and to the wider community.

The setting of the University both in terms of its more immediate neighborhoods and in terms of the larger benefits, institutions, and sites of the greater Philadelphia region.
Most colleges in the United States offer some kind of course that is similar to this "First Year Odyssey since research shows that there is a high correlation between this kind of introduction to the university experience and the student's successful completion of his or her degree program. Thus, the FYO is really designed for your benefit.


This course is for credit (though only 1.0 credits) and receives a grade, which will be counted towards your overall GPA. Thus there are requirement that must be met in order to pass the FYO successfully. These include: Attendance: Each class is worth 3 points (the point system is discussed further below). We will only be meeting formally 8 times during the semester (8 x 3 = 24 points). If you miss more than two classes, you will automatically fail the course. The only exceptions are for illness or a family emergency. Sorry to be so hard-assed about this, but experience shows that such a policy is unfortunately necessary.

Lateness: Please be on time for class. I know the class meets during what would normally be your lunch hour. You are free to bring food to class and to eat it while we are meeting, but do not be more than 5 minutes late. Plan ahead.

Course Content: The work and homework for this course will be focused in the following ways:

Written Homework: On several occasions you will be asked to give a written reflection on a campus event, a guest speaker, or a class activity. These will add up to 12 points of your final grade.

Explorations in General: In pairs or small groups you will have to explore the campus and the city of Philadelphia. On-campus explorations are worth 15 points, off-campus explorations are worth 20 points, and a service project is worth 30 points. In order to get an A for this class, you will need to accrue at least 60 points of explorations. All proposed explorations must receive prior approval from the instructor in order to receive credit. At least one exploration must be off-campus and at least one exploration must involve looking into some office or service of the University.

On-Campus Explorations: University Services: The university has services and opportunities that go well beyond merely the classes you attend. While we will have several speakers in class describing some of those services, it is up to you to explore further. Various options to look into include the Multi-cultural Center, University Ministry and Service, the library, Career Planning, the Counseling Center, and so on. If you wish to find out more about one of these, you will need to gather a group to students in your section with similar interests and make an appointment with the appropriate office.

On-Campus Explorations: University Events: The university also provides a variety of events and venues to enhance campus living: concerts, films, theater, an art museum, and so on. Keep your eyes open for advertisements on campus and plan to attend or participate in some upcoming event.

Off-Campus Explorations: As a major urban center, Philadelphia has arts, music, commerce, and history, including various places and events that even native Philadelphians may not be familiar with. For off-campus opportunties, Philadelphians are encouraged to form groups with out-of-towners to visit places and events for which the city is well-known. These can include concerts, museums, churches, and so on.

Service Projects: You can find out about some kind of service opportunity either through University Ministry and Service or on your own. It can be a one-time event or some kind of on-going service.

Reporting on Explorations: Each exploration must be followed up with a short paper. The quality of the paper will determine whether or not you get the full number of points for what you did. They must be typed and well-written. One paper will be handed in for the entire group. Make sure the heading for the paper include the name of the location, event, or office, the date you went, and the names of the people in the group. Include any supporting material that will function as "proof" of the exploration (brochures, receipts, photographs, etc.). Papers must be handed in within two weeks of the exploration. More information on reporting guidelines will be prodived shortly.

Participation: In addition to attendance, I ask that you all participate in class. This means listening attentively to speakers, asking questions, and sharing about your explorations.

Class Schedule: We meet during the free period on Mondays (section A02) or Wednesdays (section C04). On some occasions our philosophy class and FYO might switch time slots or we might meet during another free period than the scheduled one. I will give advance notice of any such changes. At the present moment it looks as if we will be meeting the weeks of August 30, September 6 and 20, October 4 and 18, and November 1, 15, and 22. The class will not meet after Thanksgiving.