First-Year Studies

Rebecca clarifiying a concept with a student

The First-Year Studies Department offers foundational courses to support all Landmark College students in navigating academic, social, and related challenges in making a successful transition to college. Our curriculum integrates educational experiences and knowledge that nurture our students’ understanding of their own learning and of their individual processes and academic strengths and challenges. We accomplish this through our deeply rooted philosophy of effective teaching, derived from research on the learning brain, LD, ADHD, and current educational theory and practice.

Our approach is a content-rich curriculum in learning and the brain, using highly interactive methods that encourage every student to explore his or her learning strengths and challenges. At every turn we require students to reflect on their own learning as a vehicle through which to understand themselves. We offer many opportunities to learn new and demanding material in a variety of ways, encouraging every new student to experiment and discover the best methods to develop as a learner.


Debbie Gassaway-Hayward
Chair, First Year Studies


Department Awards

First-Year Studies Department Award
A student would meet the following criteria:

  • Developing knowledge of self as a learner
  • Able to think critically about course content
  • Able to accurately evaluate one’s own strengths and challenges and develop goals based on that self knowledge
  • demonstrates persistence and resiliency
  • Able to learn from past mistakes
  • Seeks and uses feedback from faculty and peers
  • Seeks and uses appropriate resources on and off campus
  • Experiments with strategies, and sincerely tests to find out what works

The Robert Gunther-Mohr Award is given in memory of Rob Gunther-Mohr, founding faculty member and beloved teacher and colleague, to the student who best exhibits independent critical judgment, a love of reading and ideas, and an abiding compassion for others.