Finding Your Place

Why does place matter? Places speak to us through the senses and the sense of community, through the stories and the history, through the environment and the culture--but the truth is, it takes time to make a place our own. Sewanee’s Finding Your Place (FYP) first year program offers an introduction to college that focuses on intellectual, social, and community engagement during the first year experience. FYP builds skills for academic success and civic potential by bringing students and faculty together in an immersive environment, while the program's place-based approach fosters synthesis of knowledge and experience across many disciplines and prepares students for an engaged life beyond Sewanee.  The study of this place through many disciplinary lenses helps students discover their new home, build close connections and community, and recognize the complexity that adds richness to any place.


The first-year program begins approximately two weeks prior to the first day of regular classes, in mid August, when students move into residence halls. FYRP courses are conducted in two learning phases; beginning with a pre-semester nine-day intensive interdisciplinary immersion shared by all FYP courses. Students will explore concepts of place (as well as the Domain and the surrounding region) through plenary lectures, common readings, and field trips. Each course is led by one professor, who may also serve as a student’s first-year academic advisor. Once the semester begins, students continue the course as a weekly “perspective development” seminar and/or field class that focuses through a single disciplinary lens. Students will deepen their understanding of a topic through the development and presentation of a final “capstone” project. The course ends in mid-October, allowing first-year students to focus on excelling in their remaining three courses.


Courses in the Finding Your Place program provide entering students with a profound and intimate knowledge of the University and the surrounding area by closely engaging with its biology and geology, its community and history, through field trips, service, readings, reflective writing, and small-group discussions. With the guidance of professors and student mentors, first-year students in Finding Your Place will find their own at Sewanee.