First-year seminars introduce entering students to the rigors and rewards of college courses in the liberal arts. Limited to a maximum of 18 students, each seminar offers students the opportunity to explore a particular issue, interest or problem in depth and to develop or refine critical academic skills and the habits of mind necessary for success in college. These smaller classes allow for substantial dialogue between teacher and students, student-to-student interaction, and experimentation with teaching/learning methods.
First-year seminars are designed to achieve a number of goals: a) providing courses exclusively for first-year students in an environment that encourages active participation in the learning process; b) enhancing student writing skills by making writing a significant element in every seminar; c) strengthening abilities of students to read and think critically, to express themselves cogently, and to use library resources effectively; d) generating intellectual excitement through sustained engagement with a chosen topic.
Each student is required to take two seminars during the first year. These courses can be taken in any order or simultaneously. One must be First-Year Seminar 101, which has the teaching of writing as its primary focus. While faculty organize these courses around particular themes, they require numerous writing assignments and revisions along with instruction in the process of writing.
The second requirement is met by First-Year Seminar 102, one of the topical seminars in which frequent writing assignments are evaluated for style as well as content. Most of the FYS 102 seminars fulfill a General Education requirement.
The First-Year office is located on the first floor of Higley Hall.