About Arts First

Message from the Director & Associate Director of Arts First:

The Arts First program promotes excellence in teaching with a focus on active learning in a small class environment. Students in Arts First classes can expect to practice communication as a means of critical inquiry.

Communication courses help students to develop skills in speaking, writing, listening, critical reading, and collaboration. They also build competencies in analysis, research, and the thoughtful assessment of information, evidence, and data. These skills and competencies will support student success in their academic careers and in their life beyond university.

To create a unique first-year experience for students, Arts First courses foreground practice-based learning and background discipline-specific knowledge. These small classes create a supportive and engaging environment that allows for the building of a genuine community of learners.

While all courses foreground practice-based learning, Waterloo’s world-class faculty design these courses around pressing and exciting areas of inquiry. From the “Science of Happiness,” to “The Politics of the Climate Crisis” or “How to Lie with Statistics,” each distinctive section of an Arts First course is driven by faculty expertise to spark students’ engagement with the important questions of our moment.

Our aim and our hope is that through the Arts First experience, students become more effective and confident communicators, better able to understand and influence the world they encounter.

Robert Danisch                      &                     Angela Carter

Director, Arts First                                        Associate Director, Arts First