Steve Riccio, International Business and Management

Finding Meaning: An Introspective Examination of Life’s Purpose in College and Beyond
First Year Seminar

Course Syllabus: FYSM Finding Meaning

I joined the Valley and Ridge program in May with the thought of revising the curriculum for a departmental course in International Business & Management not realizing the impact sustainability had on my first-year seminar, Finding Meaning: An Introspective Examination of Life’s Purpose in College and Beyond. By participating in the place-based learning experiences (including College Farm, Reineman Wildlife Sanctuary, and Waggoner’s Gap), I soon realized that place-based learning certainly has its own “place” in the first-year curriculum.

Since the workshop, I have worked with Lindsey to identify how this might translate to our students in their discovery of finding meaning in their lives. We decided that students will participate in a two-part experience, an initial campus activity followed by a field trip to Opossum Lake. The expected outcome of the exercise will be for students to think deeply about the meaning of place providing them with a stronger sense of connection and meaning to their new environment. Students can then replicate this exercise across other physical spaces including their home and/or if they decide to study in another country during their Dickinson experience.

Following these experiences, having the opportunity to create a visual design of the class using flipchart paper, sharing the design, and listening to the presentations of faculty in how they see their own courses evolving with their new perspectives was enriching. During the activity, faculty were able to comment on each participant’s approach. For example, colleagues offered suggestions on additional articles to consider, places to visit, and teaching approaches to contemplate as we furthered our course design following the workshop. Participating in this activity allowed for a very effective transition to develop the course syllabus for the seminar.