First-Year Experience


FYE logo

The First-Year Experience (FYE) at Guttman Community College is a comprehensive model for academic access and future success fully aligned with the inclusive, equitable mission of the College. In their courses, students examine current world issues and use New York City as a living text and laboratory, thus connecting information and concepts across multiple disciplines, contexts, and perspectives. This immersive approach equips Guttman scholars with the foundation of knowledge and skills essential to their intellectual, social, civic, and professional endeavors in and beyond the classroom. Coursework is integrated with academic advising and an array of support services. In addition, students develop constructive, self-directed academic and social relationships by participating in a diverse learning community of faculty, advisors, and peers.

FYE Philosophy

The First-Year Experience (FYE) at Guttman Community College is the springboard for our students’ future success in higher education and the professions, leveraging the social, emotional, and cognitive dimensions of learning to promote the development of the whole student. Embracing cutting-edge best practices and a robust, integrative curriculum, the FYE program establishes an inclusive, rigorous model for Guttman students to become confident owners and authors of their educational, professional, and life paths.

To promote career readiness within the curriculum, the FYE implements course design and experiences that promote and incorporate the National Association of College and Employers (NACE) Career Competencies:

  • Critical Thinking/Problem Solving
  • Oral/Written Communication
  • Teamwork/Collaboration
  • Digital Technology
  • Leadership
  • Professionalism/Work Ethic
  • Career Management
  • Global/Intercultural Fluency

FYE Goals

Upon completion of all FYE requirements, students will:

  • Engage in critical thinking and reflective learning, showing the ability to make informed choices and persist academically
  • Develop and demonstrate responsibility for independent and collaborative learning
  • Approach personal development as a lifelong, self-directed process, involving goal-setting, planning, time management, and self-motivation
  • Gain proficiency in the practices of information literacy – to locate, evaluate, and use relevant and needed information effectively
  • Construct new knowledge in various capacities, including numerical, verbal, technological, digital, and creative
  • Integrate and apply knowledge and skills from different disciplines and multiple, diverse perspectives in intentional and deliberate ways
  • Identify and use specific skills, resources, and strategies proactively and purposefully
  • Communicate clearly and effectively in written and oral forms, in person and digitally, including to articulate personal and social values
  • Explore how social identities (e.g., race, ethnicity, gender, class) intersect with identity as a student at Guttman

FYE Core Values

Self-Directed Learning
Co-Curricular Support
Fundamental Skills and Knowledge
Commitment to Equity & Inclusion

Promising Practices

Education should hold a holistic view of the self, providing means and opportunities for students to learn and appreciate themselves as whole, complex persons:

  • Create an empathetic and supportive environment for personal development and growth, including learning and academic performance
  • Engage the inner lives and lived experiences of students outside of the classroom through personal reflection
  • Explicitly connect course content to students’ personal experiences and lives
  • Give constructive, timely feedback beyond grades

Education should focus on student motivation, development, and well-being, facilitating positive attitudes toward self and others, in addition to the senses of belonging and of purpose:

  • Provide balanced amounts of both challenge and support to encourage student growth and readiness for ever-improved learning and performance
  • Acknowledge that fear of failure inhibits risk-taking and reduces student openness to pursuing interests and rising to challenges
  • Create opportunities for success in order to increase student confidence in their abilities, addressing the fear of failure
  • Offer choices of assignment topics and formats, helping students align choices with their personal and professional interests and values
  • Use collaborative activities, assignments, and interactions to help students find common ground and build an inclusive learning community that views diversity as a strength
  • Model practices that facilitate and nurture productive relationships in the classroom
  • Enable the production of new knowledge in the particular ways students comprehend and make use of course content (i.e. make meaning)

Education should emphasize a mastery-orientation toward learning:

  • Emphasize improvement, offering time in class for guided practice and skill-building
  • Explicitly communicate learning objectives for the course and each assignment
  • Provide information necessary for making decisions, performing the target tasks, and meeting desired performance goals
  • Provide low-stakes opportunities for taking intellectual risks
  • Create learning objectives and/or assignments with students, helping them identify internal motivations for doing the work and articulate what they are learning
  • Offer opportunities to submit drafts, with deadlines that do not significantly impact the corresponding assignment’s final grade
  • Have students reflect on course experiences to document challenges and risk-taking, using the reflections to focus on student development
  • Support students in articulating and embracing mastery goals (to improve or learn something important to them} in addition to performance goals (pass a class, get a certain grade, etc.)

Education should acknowledge emotions as part of the student and their learning experiences:

  • Express care for students, including acknowledging emotions in the classroom and/or in one-on-one conversations
  • Recognize students for their efforts and accomplishments in opening up, facing feelings or fears, and getting additional help
  • Encourage and model self-care
  • Consider the emotional processes underlying student behavior and resist labeling
  • Incorporate mindfulness practices focused on how to be present; to be aware of thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment; to reduce stress; and to acknowledge situations without judgment
  • Practice engaged pedagogy to promote dialogue, building trust and shared understanding in the classroom

FYE News

August 3, 2020

Guttman’s Exceptional First-Year Experience (FYE) Holds Annual Summer Institute for Integrative Learning

The Guttman Community College First-Year Experience (FYE) hosted its annual Summer Institute for Integrative Learning, held virtually June 22-26, 2020. Organized by Professor of English and FYE Program Coordinator Dr. Daniel Collins and Dean of Academic and Faculty Affairs Dr. Nicola Blake and supported by Assistant Dean Lavita McMath, the Institute focused on the cornerstones of the FYE: inclusion, integration, and community. The Institute prepares faculty and staff to work in the FYE and promotes excellence in teaching and student support, with the ultimate goal of increasing student retention and success in higher education. As the Guttman community grapples with the persistent social inequalities that put our Black, Latinx, and immigrant students at risk, made starkly clear by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Promising Practices that the FYE espouses have become especially relevant.

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June 24, 2020

Guttman Faculty Shows in International Print Center New York’s New Prints 2020/Summer Exhibition

The International Print Center New York (IPCNY) New Prints 2020/Summer show, titled Give Me Space, includes two prints by Adjunct Lecturer Kathryn Larkins. This cycle of the biannual open-call exhibition focuses on spaces for political dissent and the body. It features new works by 41 artists working in the medium of print, selected by Brooklyn-based visual and multimedia artist Chitra Ganesh. The show can be viewed remotely from June 25 to September 19, 2020.

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June 1, 2020

Dr. Marla Sole, Assistant Professor of Mathematics

“In all of my classes, my biggest focus is building up students’ confidence so that they can persist and overcome obstacles.”

“When I first came to Guttman” in 2014, remembers Assistant Professor of Mathematics Dr. Marla Sole, “I designed a signature assignment for my Statistics class.” Working as “empirical researchers to collect data and analyze it,” students compared the prices of iced and hot coffee. Dr. Sole also arranged a visit to a local café, where the coffee buyer spoke to the class and provided the essential context that makes coursework come alive. “When I think about that research,” published in 2017 in the Journal of Statistics Education, “I always remember my first group of students” at the College, the first of many Dr. Sole has taught in courses ranging from the Quantitative Reasoning component of City Seminar to Calculus.

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April 6, 2020

Dr. Alia Tyner-Mullings, Associate Professor of Sociology

“The thing that you always want as a professor is that moment when the students get what you’re talking about… see something and connect it to their lives, or see [something] in their lives and connect it to [what’s] happening in the classroom… When you do something in a class and the students say it was the first time they did that, or the first time they saw the point of something.”

There is little that Associate Professor of Sociology Dr. Alia Tyner-Mullings has not done as a Guttman Founding Faculty, joining in 2011, a year before the College’s doors opened to students. Colleagues assume, she laughs, “that any committee that exists, I’m on it, which obviously is not true.” Dr. Tyner-Mullings has chaired Guttman’s chapter of the Professional Staff Congress since its inception, a position she has held through several election cycles and crucial contract negotiations. A vocal advocate for establishing the Academic Senate, she presently serves as its Vice Chair. Dr. Tyner-Mullings has collaborated to revise Guttman’s unique two-semester Ethnographies of Work (EoW) sequence and, subsequently, to create an Open Educational Resource (OER) for these courses. In addition, the acronym she coined for the Guttman Learning Outcomes that articulate educational goals and reflect the institution’s vision for our students – GLOs – has been heartily adopted.

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February 27, 2020

Dr. Vivian Lim, Assistant Professor of Mathematics

“I always say [to my students], I want you to be the master of mathematics rather than mathematics being the master of you.”

Assistant Professor of Mathematics Dr. Vivian Lim finds Guttman “the perfect setting for being able to teach math in a way that is meaningful, that engages students critically about the world.” Teaching the Quantitative Reasoning (QR) component of City Seminar in the First-Year Experience since Fall 2017 has been ideal as “one of the fundamental learning outcomes is students being critical and using math in an interdisciplinary way.” Dr. Lim freely admits that “this is my dream job,” an opportunity to connect math directly to her students’ lives and empower them as civic agents.

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January 6, 2020

Dr. Tashana Samuel, Assistant Professor of Psychology

“My students are deserving of the wonderful opportunities that life has to offer, even if they have to demand a seat at the table.”

“Lean into the present and don’t waste time” are tenets of Dr. Tashana Samuel’s proactive philosophy, words by which she lives. A child psychologist specializing in cognitive development, Dr. Samuel holds a Ph.D. from the CUNY Graduate Center, with research experience including a longitudinal study at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital Center under Drs. Catherine Monk and Laraine McDonough. Since becoming Assistant Professor of Psychology at Guttman in 2015, Dr. Samuel is simultaneously teaching Statistics in the First-Year Experience and Introduction to Psychology in the Liberal Arts and Sciences – Humanities and Social Sciences Program of Study; conducting research on “techniques to alleviate academic anxiety in community college students”; publishing the promising findings in an article co-authored with fellow Guttman faculty Dr. Jared Warner; and sharing their pedagogical impact in service of our students. Also involved in expanding psychology course offerings at the College, she is excited to teach Guttman’s upcoming first iteration of Child Psychology.

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November 19, 2019

UMOC Scholars Present at Interdisciplinary Conference on Race

Seven first-year United Men of Color (UMOC) student scholars, accompanied by Professors Mary Gatta and Marcus Allen, presented at the Monmouth University Interdisciplinary Conference on Race on November 16th at Monmouth University’s campus in West Long Branch, NJ.

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November 15, 2019

Prof. Keino Brown, Lecturer of Mathematics

“You will not have learned everything possible at any point in your life. The learning process is a lifelong endeavor. It is never over.”

Defying deep-seated expectations, Lecturer of Mathematics Keino Brown reveals that he was once “hellbent on becoming an English professor. Then, math happened.” He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Mathematics at the CUNY Graduate Center, “securing the requisite firm footing in the breadth of my discipline’s concerns.” Though “not yet settled on any particular interest,” Prof. Brown will likely select his research focus from one of the “pillars” of mathematical physics: topology, differential geometry, or complex analysis. Since Spring I 2014, Guttman has counted him among the pure mathematicians at the College, where he has taught every mathematics course offered at least once, aiming “to make the classroom feel like a shared space for learning how to think about abstractions logically.”

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November 1, 2019

Prof. James Rodriguez Published in Racial Inequality in New York City Since 1965 Anthology

Assistant Professor of History Dr. James Rodriguez has been published as a contributor to Racial Inequality in New York City since 1965, recently released by SUNY Press.

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June 19, 2019

Dr. Rodrigo Lobo, Assistant Professor of Business

“Life is good, life is beautiful. Enjoy it. Use it to the full extent. Don’t waste your moments. Create an objective for you and go for it!”

Assistant Professor of Business Dr. Rodrigo Lobo has been all about business for over 30 years. Before taking the daring “180 degrees toward full-time work in academia,” his career spanned the breadth of “corporate life.” For nearly a decade, Dr. Lobo contributed his analytical expertise to a unique public project: the Itaipu Binacional Company, an initiative of the Brazilian and Paraguayan governments that jointly runs one of the most productive hydroelectric power plants in the world.

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April 30, 2019

Dr. April Burns, Assistant Professor of Psychology

“After my experience [as a student] at CUNY, my own working-class background, and my experience as a first-generation graduate, I really saw my place in a community college.”

Further affirming “solidarity” with her students, Dr. April Burns calls her trajectory to becoming Assistant Professor of Psychology at the College in 2016, “a winding path.” Her doctoral research in social psychology, completed at the CUNY Graduate Center under advisor and mentor Dr. Michelle Fine, focused on “the experience of upward mobility through education” and the impact of this experience on “first-generation graduates[,] their beliefs about justice and equity, education, merit, and… their interpersonal and family relationships.”

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April 4, 2019

Prof. Marcia Edwards, Clinical Professor and Program Coordinator of Human Services

“I really want [my students] to be insightful, self-reflective, and mindful of the human condition.”

Initially piqued by the New Community College Concept Paper, Prof. Marcia Edwards, Clinical Professor and Program Coordinator of Human Services, was recruited to Guttman faculty for Fall 2013 to “develop the fieldwork component of the Human Services major.” Bringing her 30 years of social work practice and teaching to bear, Prof. Edwards has worked to align the required internship with the expectations of social work programs while teaching every Human Services course in the Catalog, along with Ethnographies of Work and several special courses; leading a Global Guttman group to Jamaica; and becoming Program Coordinator.

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March 11, 2019

Faculty Scholarship – Scholarly Publications, Research Grants, and Presentations

During the fall of 2018, Guttman Community College faculty have continued to expand their published scholarship, earn distinguished awards and grants, and present their estimable research.

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February 28, 2019

Dr. Shadisadat Ghaderi, Assistant Professor of Mathematics

“My first hope is that [my students] do not leave [my class] with math anxiety… that they see the application of what they learned in society, in practice.”

Assistant Professor of Mathematics Dr. Shadisadat Ghaderi seamlessly combines the scholarly and abstract with the pedagogical and practical. With her Ph.D. in the combinatorics branch of pure mathematics, Dr. Ghaderi is working on what she calls “the most important open problem” in her field, the matroid intersection conjecture proposed in 1990.

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January 2, 2019

Dr. Laura Clarke, Assistant Professor of English

“My favorite historical couple is Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Robert Browning and I plan on retracing their steps through Italy one day.”

It is perhaps no surprise that Victorian scholar and Guttman Assistant Professor of English Dr. Laura Clarke named both of her children after literary figures. “I love books!” she exclaims with pride. Her own research focuses on the intersections between literature, philosophy, and the visual arts during the Victorian period. She is currently writing a book on the Victorian photographer Julia Margaret Cameron, who “took up photography when it was a relatively new medium and engaged in epistemological debates about what constituted art.” Dr. Clarke’s work in progress explores how Cameron’s “illustrations embody conversations with other literary works and how they represent her wider photographic theory.” More broadly, she has contributed articles to Victorian Poetry, Religion and Literature and Cleo: A Journal of Literature, History, and the Philosophy of History, as well as a book chapter to the edited collection Carlyle and the Idea.

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November 5, 2018

Dr. Angelina Tallaj, Assistant Professor of Arts and Humanities

Dr. Angelina Tallaj, Assistant Professor of Arts and Humanities and FYE Course Coordinator for Arts in New York City, dances in the classroom. A required first year course, Arts in NYC exposes students to the creative movements, artistic genres, and cultural institutions of the city. Anchored in Guttman’s unique  , this course includes and emphasizes the students’ own experiences. Their eyes light up, says Dr. Tallaj, “when I dance bachata and then teach how the steps reflect gender history. I love having my students dance because I want them to know that their bodies have histories and that those histories are legitimate.”

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September 27, 2018

Guttman Faculty Scholarship-Spring 2018-Scholarly Publications, Research Grants, and Presentations

In spring 2018, Guttman Community College faculty have published an impressive array of articles, books, and reports, received prestigious grants for their research and scholarship, and delivered important presentations at a variety of local, national, and international academic conferences and scholarly events. PUBLICATIONS Ryan W. Coughlan, Assistant Professor of Sociology, is the co-author of “Progressive […]

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