Dear First-Year Student,
I am happy to have the opportunity to welcome you to Mercer, and to tell you about the First Year Seminar course that you will be taking this year. This course means a lot to me and I am passionate about its importance to you. I am the Director of the FYS program, and I have been involved with it not only from the first semester Mercer taught it, in the Fall of 1997, but even since the initial discussions in 1995 which led to its inception.
From the very beginning, FYS was conceived as a course that would train Mercer's new students in the crucial skills of thinking, reading and writing critically—skills that we believe are essential to a liberal education and to an active and aware life. The many sections of FYS use a diverse multitude of texts and methods, but these sections are united by their focus on helping you acquire the habits of analytic thought and the ability to communicate your thoughts to others. This semester your FYS professor will help you to learn these new skills, to give up the comfortable habits of fuzzy thinking, simplistic answers and imprecise generalizations, and to emerge into a more vitally engaged awareness of yourself and your world. FYS truly is, as our catalog claims, “the essential Mercer course.”
FYS will challenge you and change you, and prepare you to succeed in and get the most out of your subsequent education here. You will encounter ideas, questions and habits of thought that, we hope, will stick with you to deepen and enrich the rest of your life. We welcome you as you embark on this journey.
Jonathan C. GlanceDirector, First Year Seminar