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From the Vice Chancellor: First Year Discovery class development opportunities

As part of our experimental efforts to improve the first-year undergraduate experience, we have introduced a new category of subjects starting in Fall 2019: First-Year Discovery Subjects (FYDs).

We are writing to ask for your help in developing FYDs that highlight opportunities such as experiential learning, resources for specific groups of students, extracurricular options on and near campus, and much more.

While we initially targeted academic departments to build up a selection of FYDs that expose students to majors, there is more than enough room in the FYD landscape for OVC and DSL offices to engage. For example, PKG is considering offering a subject that highlights case studies of ethical conundrums in community partnerships.

FYD subjects are 1-3 units, designed to help students discover interests and opportunities, and they are allowed to count towards a 9-unit limit beyond the regular first-year credit limit. In short, they are a low-pressure, high-impact way to learn about departments, labs, centers, initiatives, programs, and fields that students may later wish to explore more deeply.

DSL offices interested in creating FYDs could design a subject from scratch or collaborate with departments or existing FYD instructors.

You can read descriptions of Fall 2019 FYDs on the OFY website and find out more about how to create a new FYD here. Fall subjects can be proposed until August 26th (though sooner is better), and there is even a new subject number range (SP.2xx) to house subjects not tied to a traditional department.

Kate Weishaar ( is happy to meet to discuss ideas and logistics and provide support as you develop and run the class.


– Ian