Fast Facts

To give our students the best possible start at NC State, First-Year Inquiry (FYI) courses focus directly on first-year students. FYI courses provide students with a small class setting that enables them to develop a connection with a faculty member and a group of peers. FYI instructors teach using a pedagogical approach, inquiry-guided learning, tailored to develop critical and creative thinking. The program also strives to help improve student written and oral communication skills and to help students become independent learners.

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

Seven FYI courses comprised the Fall 1999 offerings, and since then the program has been able to host over twenty FYI sections each Fall semester.

Dr. Sue Carson, Director of FYI
Kasey Harris, Program Support

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 <19) making discussions easy and productive
  • close student-student & 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.


  • 10% of first-year students reached through FYI courses in 2011-2012

First Year Inquiry Program||