FIS Academic Program

The Freshman Intensive Studies (FIS) program includes the following distinguishing features:

A reduced credit load in the first semester

Most students in the FIS program carry a reduced 13-credit load during their first semester. On a case-by-case basis, students may be allowed to take 16 credits in the first semester. These decisions are made solely by the Director of FIS. Based upon satisfactory academic performance following the first semester, all students are permitted by FIS staff to increase to a 15-16 credit load.

The initial lighter load allows students to dedicate additional hours of study to their classes and permits more time for tutoring, learning assistance and other academic support in order to ensure success.

Class attendance is mandatory, monitored and will affect students’ academic standing.

Pre-selected courses in English, math, and the social sciences

In the first semester, all classes are chosen for FIS students, largely based on their academic record and performance on placement testing taken as part of the admissions process. Two or three of the four academic classes will be “FIS-supported.”

During the summer, students complete a Registration Questionnaire that allows an FIS advisor to select the fourth non-FIS course based upon students’ academic interests and intended academic major.

While all FIS students enter the university as “Undeclared Liberal Arts” majors and therefore follow a basic liberal arts curriculum, students interested in a business-related major or Hotel/Restaurant major are placed into courses that align closely with that curriculum.

Additional hour of class time for FIS-supported classes

In each of the FIS-supported three-credit classes, students are required to attend one additional hour per class each week. The additional instructional hour may include close reading activities, special study sessions or discussion groups conducted to reinforce the concepts learned in each class. Some instructors use the time to help identify any problems which might require tutoring or learning assistance, while others use the time to provide additional practice of skills discussed on other days.

Faculty teaching in FIS are selected based on their interest in teaching freshmen and are “master instructors” in their field.

NOTE: Even though students are required to attend an additional hour of class, no additional credit is awarded in these courses.

FREE individual learning assistance, group academic skills workshops, and FIS tutoring

The FIS program provides assistance in developing learning strategies and academic skills for success in courses. Topics such as time management, text reading, note-taking skills, and strategies for dealing with test taking and test anxiety are personalized based upon a student’s needs.

Also, each semester a variety of academic workshops are offered to allow students to interact with each other and the FIS staff in a group setting. Recent topics include: “Classroom Etiquette: It Takes Class to Succeed in Class” and “Note-taking Techniques”.

In addition, free tutoring services are provided by the Academic Support Center, located in Twombly Hall.

Frequent testing and grade reporting

While most college classes involve two major exams — the midterm and final — students are given frequent quizzes, tests, and other graded assignments in their FIS courses to help them evaluate and monitor academic progress. Regular testing also helps lower test anxiety and promotes better study skills.

Students’ academic progress is monitored throughout the semester and by a midterm grade report that is derived by grades submitted by FIS faculty. Students who are not making satisfactory academic progress at midterms will be restricted from participating in co-curricular activities until satisfactory performance is achieved.