Foundation Course Criteria

FYS 101: Explorations of Academic Writing – Special Topics

The Canisius College Core Curriculum has a foundation of four complementary courses: First Year Seminar 101, English 101, Philosophy 101, and Religious Studies 101. FYS 101 emphasizes the production of academic writing through critical analysis of challenging texts on topics drawn from a wide variety of academic disciplines. The general Core Curriculum goal of this course is to cultivate the abilities of students to write well in order to enhance their learning, to equip their critical faculties, and to empower them as independent thinkers for responsible citizenship.

The writing and information literacy components of this course are consonant with Canisius College Institutional Learning Goals that students come to evaluate information and to communicate effectively with integrity and concern for others. All sections of FYS 101 emphasize these components.

In FYS 101 students read a variety of texts that are appropriately challenging for first-year college students. In addition to reading these texts, students are expected:

  • to engage in appropriate research activities;
  • to devote special efforts to drafting and revising significant writing exercises;
  • to write at least 15 pages of polished prose; and
  • to compose an annotated bibliography that incorporates the principles of information literacy.

The specific learning goals and objectives for FYS 101 are identified below. Sections of FYS 101 may have additional objectives beyond those directly associated with the Core Curriculum.

Student Learning Goals and Objectives of FYS 101

At the conclusion of this course, successful students will be able to:

1. Read and critically analyze college-level texts

Students achieve this goal when they can:

  • Summarize what they have read
  • Paraphrase what they have read
  • Understand the audience and purpose of what they have read
  • Synthesize what they have read
  • State a reasoned judgment about what they have read 

2. Construct a coherent, thesis-driven project

Students achieve this goal when they can:

  • Develop a specific research question
  • Understand the audience and purpose of the argument they will be constructing
  • Identify and analyze primary and secondary sources appropriate to support the thesis
  • Organize and synthesize information
  • Reach a conclusion that synthesizes and builds upon the argument

This project could be a paper, an essay, an oral presentation, or a Web page or other multimedia work. Presumably, whatever specific form the project takes, writing is at the heart of it.

3. Present ideas clearly in writing

Students achieve this goal when they can:

  • Use vocabulary appropriate to the audience/field
  • Use vocabulary appropriate to the purpose
    • Exhibit writing characterized by a variety of sentence structures with appropriate transitional elements

4. Revise ("re-see") their own written work to improve it in ways that go beyond the mere correction of surface errors

Students achieve this goal when they can:

  • Evaluate key rhetorical elements in their own writing
  1. When prompted
  2. On their own initiative
  • Explain changes made in the revision process
  • Ask critical questions on peers’ papers

5. Demonstrate Information Literacy

Students achieve this goal when they can:

  • Find and evaluate print and electronic sources appropriate for answering a particular research question
  • Incorporate material from sources into their own writing logically and smoothly
  • Cite sources
  1. According to a conventional documentation style (for example, MLA, APA, Chicago) and
  2. With academic integrity. Doing so involves understanding what plagiarism is, with regard to both print and electronic sources

6. Demonstrate knowledge of course content

This goal, and the ways in which its achievement is demonstrated, will vary from section to section.