December 8, 2022

River Revival

The best in general

Studying the greats in King’s Faculty Basis 12 months Program

Studying ‘Gilgamesh’ in Halifax: a pupil research amongst the 80,000 books in King’s Library ({Photograph} by Ian Selig)

The sound of 200-plus college students chatting with one another fills the tiered lecture corridor on the College of King’s Faculty in Halifax as the primary day of Basis 12 months Program (FYP) begins. Most of those college students moved into residence only some days in the past, however friendships are already forming. Laptops, refillable water bottles and copies of The Epic of Gilgamesh cowl the tabletops. The book-length poem, written in Mesopotamia circa 1800 BCE, is taken into account one of many earliest nice works of literature.

Began in 1972, the FYP (appears like “flip”) is considered considered one of Canada’s high Nice Books programs, and has a nationwide fame for excellence in its place first-year of undergraduate research. All through their first 12 months, college students at King’s make a temporal journey by the rise of civilization by way of its nice works of philosophy, literature, artwork and science.

“The entire texts we take a look at have what I name infinite interpretive potentialities,” says Neil Robertson, FYP’s director and an affiliate professor of humanities at King’s. “You by no means develop drained and there are at all times new interpretations. The scholars deliver these texts to life in new methods. Every year brings its personal questions, points and considerations.”

Key to FYP’s ethos, says Robertson, is its reliance on major texts reasonably than textbook evaluation. “We’re studying The Epic of Gilgamesh because it was recorded on clay tablets,” he says. “Not solely are they having an encounter with one other world, however we’re all on the identical web page. I inform the scholars the one distinction between them and me is I’ve bought thinner hair. There’s not this sense that the tutor is the authority, and the scholars are there in a passive vogue. We’re all engaged on this exploration collectively.”

Ata Zargarpour, a third-year pupil from Vancouver, says his time in FYP modified his outlook on college. “So many of those texts are individuals by historical past asking the identical sorts of questions that we ask in the present day, regardless that nobody has any mounted solutions. It’s very useful to return to know the world and your self a little bit higher earlier than deciding in your profession and future.”

Whereas different first-year packages encourage college students to enrol in a variety of courses to seek out their main, this interdisciplinary program affords related breadth in a single course. College students attend two-hour lectures, adopted by smaller dialogue teams, 4 days per week. The books and eras they focus on change with every lecture. Professors from a number of disciplines at King’s and Dalhousie College ship the lectures.

“College students have completely different pursuits and completely different studying strengths,” says William Lahey, president of King’s. “It’s a profit to be uncovered to a variety of individuals and instructing types in your first 12 months.”

Along with FYP, college students are inspired to enrol in an elective class, resembling journalism at King’s or an arts or science course from Dalhousie.

The truth that King’s college students examine at Dalhousie displays the colleges’ particular relationship. King George III chartered the college in 1802, when it was in Windsor, N.S. In 1920, the college burned to the bottom. 9 years later, it was rebuilt on the nook of Dalhousie’s grounds. Since 1929, these unbiased universities have been joined academically by shared colleges of arts and social sciences, and science. The connection is modelled on the College of Oxford in England. King’s and Dal supply joint undergraduate levels in arts, science and music, in addition to a lot of graduate levels. King’s additionally options one of many nation’s best-known journalism packages.

King’s college students benefit from the benefits of attending a 1,000-student school with a 15:1 student-teacher ratio; in addition they have entry to a analysis college that gives a broader vary of programs, providers and extracurricular alternatives, says Lahey.

The close-knit King’s neighborhood is among the largest perks for second-year pupil Kate Barkhouse from Dartmouth, N.S. “It may be intimidating to stroll as much as a professor you’ve by no means met earlier than on the entrance of the lecture corridor and ask a query,” says Barkhouse. “To have a professor who’s assigned to you [as a tutor], whom you get to know and really feel comfy asking questions, is nice.”

A writing coach helps college students enhance their writing abilities to arrange for the essays that they submit each two weeks in FYP. “I grew to become a significantly better author,” says Zargarpour. “Studying the primary paper versus the final one, [I’m] amazed to see the readability and the grasp of the fabric I used to be capable of obtain over these eight months.”

Residence dons are postgraduate college students or younger professionals who graduated from King’s. They don’t simply say, “Lights out”; they act as educational mentors. Within the days earlier than papers are due, dons host Research and Snacks, a night drop-in session for these searching for help with and suggestions on their papers.

“It is a place the place college students actually care about one another and college care about college students,” says Lahey. “These sorts of relationships are nurtured by the FYP and by life collectively in residence. Individuals develop deep relationships knowledgeable by coping with writers who deal with essentially the most intimate, elemental matters concerning the human situation: justice, love, grief, sorrow and sweetness.”

This text seems in print within the 2020 College Rankings difficulty of Maclean’s journal with the headline, “Small faculty, massive concepts.’”