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First Year Experience (FYE) Learning Communities: An Ideal Start for New Students

Dec 1, 2019


What do you get when you go to class with new DVC students who share your academic goals?


You get a great start to your college journey, with the support needed to help you excel in your career pathway.

What is a learning community?

DVC learning communities enable students to take classes linked by common themes. DVC offers several of these groups to meet student needs

First Year Experience Learning Community

FYE IconNew college students may be interested in joining a First Year Experience (FYE) Learning Community. FYE provides an easy way to meet students with similar goals. Students take three or four classes together as a group. This helps ease the transition to college.

FYE was launched to create greater support for new students.

Raine Dougan“We wanted to boost retention and academic success for all new students. We also wanted to support students from underrepresented groups,” said Raine Dougan, First Year Experience faculty coordinator.

FYE includes:

  • Welcome Day
  • Linked classes
  • A college success class
  • Student success workshops
  • “First Friday” events

Which FYE Learning Community is right for me?

First Year ExperienceDVC offers five FYE pathways. Each offers options for obtaining a certificate or associate degree at DVC. You’ll also be able to prepare for transfer.

Allied Health

Allied HealthIdeal for students interested in nursing, dental hygiene and more. This pathway leads to a certificate or associate degree. Students can also prepare to transfer.


BusinessA good choice for students interested in business, marketing, finance and more. This pathway leads to flexible certificate and associate degree options. Students will also be prepared to transfer.


CommunicationCommunication skills are central to success in many fields. This makes this pathway a great choice for most majors. Students choosing this pathway can earn an associate degree or certificate. They can also prepare to transfer.


PsychologyIdeal for students who want to study human thought, feeling and behavior. This pathway is a great choice for students who plan to transfer to begin a career in a helping profession.


STEMA great choice for students interested in STEM careers. Areas of study include biology, chemistry, engineering, math and more. This pathway includes a sequence of math and science courses along with the kind of support students need to succeed.

Additional FYE pathways are currently in development.

“We are researching FYE career pathways for computer science and art digital media for fall 2020. We are also discussing options that could work well at the San Ramon campus,” said Dougan.

Why participate in a FYE Career Pathway Learning Community?

Ron Macaluso“When new students arrive at DVC, they often don’t know their peers. FYE enables them to get to know a base of students quickly. This leads to friendships and opportunities to team-up in groups. Students also have the benefit of being taught by a team of instructors. We are able to connect students to tutoring, counseling and other resources that support student success,” said Ron Macaluso, an adjunct professor for the FYE business pathway.

“Join FYE. You will build connections that sustain you. You will be exposed to resources that ensure your success. You’ll Ellen Beaulieufind valuable mentors,” said Ellen Beaulieu, a chemistry professor for the allied health career pathway of the FYE Learning Community.


  • Learn about campus resources and support services.
  • Get guaranteed classes.
  • Connect with faculty working together to provide a supportive and encouraging environment.
  • Obtain skills to help you succeed in college.
  • Explore major and career options.
  • Set goals and develop a plan to help you reach them.
  • Gain confidence and get on track to graduate.
  • Build lasting friendships at DVC.

How do I join an FYE Learning Community?

  • Apply to DVC.
  • Fill out and submit the FYE Application. Note that to participate in an FYE Learning Community, you must be a new college student, and must be eligible for English 122 and Math 121.
  • Complete your Financial Aid Application (FAFSA or DREAM Act).
  • Register for one of the FYE pathways.
  • Attend Welcome Day for general college information and mandatory FYE orientation.

To find out more, visit


Alvin Gomez

Alvin GomezAlvin Gomez joined the FYE communications career pathway. He is now a peer mentor for the program. He plans to transfer and then attend medical school.

“Going to college for the first time can be nerve-racking. It is so helpful to have a support system that ensures you have the knowledge you need to have a successful journey,” said Gomez.

Zain Alam

Zain AlamZain Alam chose the STEM pathway because it aligned with courses he was planning on taking for his major.

“I chose that pathway because it kept me on track to transfer to a UC as a biology major. My plan for the future is to apply to medical school where I can become a doctor,” said Alam.

“The most impactful thing was being in the counseling class. It exposed me to lots of resources and information. I learned how to apply to a four-year university, how to apply for scholarships, and how to be a successful student. Having all this information made me feel confident that I would do well in college,” said Alam.

Like Gomez, Alam is now an FYE peer mentor.

“I strongly suggest all first-time college students join FYE. It’s a great way to be informed about events and opportunities. And it helps students transition into a new environment while planning for the future,” said Alam.

Fiorela Fernandez

Fiorela FernandezFiorela Fernandez is a freshman majoring in administration of justice. She chose the FYE STEM pathway.

“If you are a first generation college student like me, join FYE. The professors have really guided me through my transition to college. They always ask how I’m doing. If I’m having trouble with something I’m working on, I’m never alone. They have great resources and were able to connect me with professors and programs in my major,” said Fernandez.