First-Year Seminars

A Sampling of Seminars

The Empire Writes Back

The Da Vinci Code: History or Hoax

Reading German Fairy Tales: How Grim(m)
Are They?

Who Are the Samurai?

Community Building in Action and Theory

Co-authoring Your Life: Writing Your Self in the Context of Others

First-Year Seminars are the centerpiece of the First-Year program. They are vehicles by which students fulfill the writing requirement and serve as laboratories for considering important issues. The seminars are small (16-17 students), begin during orientation, and operate primarily through an exploratory discussion format. They are not introductions to the disciplines, but are explorations of an idea, topic, or event. Seminar faculty develop special topics courses that introduce students to the critical thinking and writing skills required in college, including a particular emphasis on intercultural understanding in keeping with the international focus of the college.

Seminars are intended to help students find and develop a voice through writing, speaking, analytical reading, discussion, and engagement in critical thinking. They integrate collaborative and group work, peer review, effective discussions, all of which promote student engagement. Students write frequent, short papers, with many opportunities for revision. Each seminar participates in one class session called ‚ÄúSurvivor in the Library: College Information Literacy Skills,” intended to help students learn research techniques and apply them to a focused writing project.

Students in each Seminar have as their academic advisor either the instructor or one of several advisors linked to the seminar. Peer Leaders assigned to each Seminar serve as mentors to new students.