The First Year and Foundational Literacy Department provides preparation in reading and writing strategies, critical thinking, and effective study skills, enabling students to successfully engage in college-level work. The Department also houses the college’s First Year Experience course and Understanding Higher Education and Career Pathways, as part of its commitment to educational opportunity for all students. The curriculum strives to meet the needs of students at their individual levels and encourages them to develop a positive attitude and to identify their academic and career goals.

First Year Experience (FFL100)

First Year Experience (COM100) is a liberal arts elective designed for all students new to college. The expected outcome of FYE is to develop our students' college readiness skills as they navigate their way through the early years of higher education and consider future career paths. North Shore Community College offers an innovative approach. FYE blends the "Freshman Seminar" course that is increasingly popular in two and four-year colleges with career exploration to meet the practical 21st century workforce development needs of our students.

Understanding Higher Education and Career Pathways (FFL103)

This course provides an introduction to higher education, including the different purposes, functions, and structures of postsecondary institutions. Students will gain a comprehensive understanding of degree and career pathways available across institutional types as well as familiarity with the social and emotional factors that influence student persistence and completion across educational settings. A variety of contemporary issues in higher education will be explored, with particular emphasis on the ways in which student experiences intersect with these issues. Topics include but are not limited to: academic discourse, social-emotional learning, educational planning, financial planning, college placement options, prerequisites/corequisites, and teaching and learning modalities. While this course focuses on higher education specifically, course topics will have application to educational settings and successful learning more broadly.

NSCC As a Leading Institution in Developmental Education

North Shore Community College was one of the first community colleges in the commonwealth to adopt the Accelerated Learning Program (ALP). Based on the model established by the Community College of Baltimore County, ALP was first piloted at NSCC in the Spring of 2014. ALP offers developmental learners a faster and more successful pathway to proficiency than the two-level program offered before. Students who in the past would have placed into level two reading and writing, now can take college level composition alongside their non-developmental peers. At the same time, students in need of support take a co-requisite Composition Seminar, taught by the same instructor they have for Composition I. The small class size of a seminar classroom gives the ALP student the necessary scaffolding to thrive in a college-level English course. The pedagogy in the developmental ALP classroom is based on "backward design" from the composition course and emphasizes active learning, improved reasoning skills, engaged reading, and more effective editing skills. ALP instructors recognize the importance of paying attention to the non-cognitive skills gaps of our students. 

Questions or Comments

If you have questions or comments about the First Year Foundational Literacy Department, please contact Liberal Arts (

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