First Year Seminar-Experiential

The First Year Seminar — Experiential (FYS-X) located at the Interdisciplinary Studies in Grover Hall at Mercer has been a national leader in service-learning by combining service to others with high quality academic learning. All students in the program spend a year tutoring at Title I schools in neighborhoods surrounding Mercer. The faculty that teach FYS-X courses also choose readings and assignments that help students think through the complex nature of issues affecting our society, such as poverty. Additionally, students undertake special projects such as Empty Bowls (raising awareness of hunger in America), neighborhood clean-ups, oral histories and special projects with the school system. The end result is that students bring real experiences to class discussions and are more aware of the conditions of the world around them.


FYS-X offers community engagement opportunities for students including:

  • Community Awareness
  • Understanding Poverty
  • Developing Solutions to Community Problems
  • Direct Interaction with Diverse Situations

How Does a Student Become Involved?

Incoming students should ask to be enrolled in FYS—X classes. These are five-credit hour courses in the first semester and four-credit hour in the second. Each class is defined by an overarching theme and in the Fall students have the extra advantage of a three-day camping trip known as “Wilderness Weekend.” The fall course, is called FYS-X 101 “Composing the Self” and the second, in the spring, is FYS-X 102 “Engaging the World.”

Faculty and Staff Contacts

Dr. Doug Thompson
Assistant Professor and FYS-X Program Director
(478) 301-2017

Bobbie Shipley
Administrative Assistant
(478) 301-2357