President Thayne Teaches First-Year Experience Course

President Lewis E. Thayne teaches First-Year Experience course at Lebanon Valley College

Lebanon Valley College is known for its unique value to relationships among students, faculty and staff; which continues to prove true, especially for First-Year Experience (FYE) students who are being taught by the College president this academic year.

Dr. Lewis E. Thayne, president of Lebanon Valley College, is wearing a new hat this semester as he is now a professor of the FYE course, American Dreams and the Pursuit of Happiness. Dr. Thayne isn’t new to the teaching podium, as he taught first year seminars in previous years.

“I taught first year seminars in Georgia at Agnes Scott College and at Franklin & Marshall,” he said. “Those courses were based on my graduate work, so I had a deep pool of research to draw on and a great deal of time on task and familiarity with the subject matter.”

While President Thayne has taught courses formerly, this is the first course he has taught at LVC.

“After five years as president, I thought it was time,” he said. “I really missed the interactions with students that happen in class, especially in a first-year seminar. Getting back in the classroom meant designing and teaching a new class, starting up the learning curve with Canvas and finding enough time each week to prepare properly. Colleagues have given me so much help, so much of their time just when they didn’t have a lot of time to spare. It’s humbling, I can assure you.”

Not only has President Thayne been greatly impacted by this experience and new interactions, but also have his first-year students.

“The topic of the course is interesting in itself, but being able to interact with and learn from the president is such a great opportunity,” said Nicole Flohr '21, a global studies and politics major. “I'm looking forward to sharing the experience with my fellow classmates and enjoy being in a challenging intellectual environment.”

After only a couple of weeks, the relationship that President Thayne shares with his FYE students is quickly developing.

“The students in the class are great,” Thayne said. “After week two, I am getting a better sense of the individual personalities. My hope is that being in class with the president of the College is not a conscious consideration for students. The goal is for every student to think, speak and write clearly. That takes a lifetime. We’ll make a good start in the seminar and we’ll have some interesting discussions about happiness and the dreams of Americans.”

The four-credit FYE course is taught by President Thayne; he is joined by Greg Krikorian, vice president of student affairs and dean of students, as the companion course instructor. The duo is able to offer a unique experience for this group of students.

-Theresa Messenger for La Vie