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Fast Facts


FYI helps freshmen students cultivate critical and creative thinking skills and hone intellectual maturity through the use of “inquiry-guided” teaching methods while fulfilling General Education Program requirements. In addition, classes with a small faculty/student ratio foster a closer relationship within the student cohort and between students and professors. These portable skills will benefit students in any major.


The First Year Inquiry Program began offering classes in Fall of 1999 as a part of a Hewlett Foundation project proposal to address General Education at Research I institutions. Faculty were tasked with finding a way to ensure the small-class size contribute both to the cognitive content of the course as well as the overall objective of beginning to develop a sense of, taste for, and skills in inquiry. This objective implied three assessable outcomes:

  • Taking charge of one’s thinking–development of the ability to think critically
  • Growing beyond dualism and relativism–intellectual maturity
  • Taking responsibility for one’s own education
  • Between 15-20 sections each Fall semester

By the numbers

  • 20+: Number of years FYI faculty have helped freshmen adapt to and thrive in NC State’s academic community.
  • 24: Number of FYI sections offered in 2021-22.
  • 20: Maximum number of students in each FYI section.
  • 90+: Percentage of surveyed FYI students who feel more connected to the NC State community and more comfortable approaching their instructors.


Holly Hurlburt

Executive Director for Academic Enrichment Program


The First Year Inquiry Program offers General Education courses that provide active learning opportunities exclusively to first-year students. The courses provide:

  • small classes (size <20) making discussions easy and productive
  • close student-student and student-instructor relationships & communication
  • focused development of critical and creative thinking skills
  • active participation through inquiry-guided learning
  • support & assistance in making the transition from high school to university-level thinking
  • an instructor who knows you & your work well enough to write credible letters of recommendation.


  • Over 400 students take FYI courses each year (almost 10% of the freshman class)


First Year Inquiry Program by email at