Mission and Learning Objectives

The First Pages initiative aims to engage entering undergraduate students with Northeastern’s unique culture of scholarly inquiry and experiential learning, and to build a vibrant intellectual community, that begins with the common reading of a significant literary work.

First Pages works are selected on the basis of their innovative and interdisciplinary exploration of contemporary challenges and/or timeless questions surrounding human experience. First Pages experiences are grounded in the literary work’s underlying ideas and themes, and are aimed at cultivating a sense of understanding, empathy, civic-mindedness, and agency for addressing these issues and assisting those populations who are affected by them. Further, the First Pages initiative seeks to connect first-year students with those institutional and local organizations working towards actionable solutions relevant to those issues explored by the First Pages work, and whenever possible, support students’ efforts to create, implement, and/or evaluate solutions.

The Student Experience

On the evening prior to the beginning of the academic year, all first-year students come together at Matthews Arena for a keynote address and moderated Q&A with the author of the selected work, which they had read prior to their arrival on campus.

Students continue to build upon this intellectual community through a variety of experiential learning opportunities embedded throughout their first-year coursework and through auxiliary experiences, such as community tours, readings groups, presentations, and co-curricular programming, such as service-learning or social advocacy.

Learning Objectives

As a result of participating in the First Pages initiative, students will:

  • Analyze the underlying ideas and themes of critically-acclaimed literature that illustrate broad social issues, as evidenced by their discussion of these themes in first-year coursework, co-curricular programming, or service-learning events.
  • Recognize how the social issues portrayed in the First Pages selection apply to other populations or contexts, including the communities surrounding Northeastern.
  • Contribute to a common intellectual culture at Northeastern that values the exploration, communication, and critique of new ideas, thereby promoting the recognition that they have the power to both “author” their own education as well as shape the learning and achievements of others.
  • Demonstrate civic-mindedness, evidenced by participation in auxiliary academic and experiential learning opportunities relevant to themes of the First Pages selection.
  • Exhibit an appreciation and sense of agency surrounding the creation of actionable solutions to a critical social issue that can be meaningfully implemented, evidenced by interest or involvement in a form of social advocacy.