First Year Experience (FYE)

The First Year Experience is a unique curriculum that all freshmen in CEHD are a part of, designed to build community and help you transition from high school into college. FYE’s rigorous and innovative curriculum includes two semesters: EDHD 1525W: CEHD First Year Experience course in the fall and Learning Communities in the spring. FYE courses help you reach your four-year graduation goals, support the completion of U of M’s liberal education requirements, and meet prerequisites for the majors in CEHD. CEHD students in the President's Emerging Scholars program, including students selected for the TRIO Student Support Services program, participate in CEHD's first-year curriculum.


  • Small group discussions, encouraging you to get to know your peers and instructors
  • Curriculum focused on debating our most pressing social-justice issues
  • Collaborative projects with peers
  • Service learning and community engagement
  • Faculty who research the best practices in teaching and learning
FYE students in class
Students in the FYE course, Presentations at Work: Families, Communities, Nonprofits, and Schools. Photo by Erica Loeks
Did you know facts Did you know Did you know 89% of 2019 first-year studentsplan to participate to some degreein volunteer or community service work.

Fall semester

First Year Experience course

In the fall semester, you’ll enroll in the EDHD 1525W: CEHD First Year Experience, a discussion-based class with a seminar atmosphere focused on developing your reading, critical thinking, and academic writing skills.

The FYI course addresses the shared inquiry: “How can one person make a difference?” by discussing a common book. The Fall Semester 2021 book is Disability Visibility edited by Alice Wong, and you will examine the book through additional readings, writings, and a collaborative iPad project. Find out more on the CEHD Reads website.

Fall 2021 First Year Experience instructors

Spring semester

In the spring semester, you have three course options: learning communities, community-engaged service learning courses, or freshman seminars.

Learning Communities

Learning communities are two separate classes that are linked by shared themes. You will create connections in your academics and work closely with fellow students and faculty. Learning communities include introductory courses in your major to help you transition into your second year.

Community-engaged Service Learning courses

These classes require real-world experience with community partners where course material is applied. Community experiences are then integrated into the classroom and curriculum.

Freshman Seminars

Freshman Seminars are designed for first-year students to interact in a smaller setting, connect with a faculty member, and explore particular interests.