First-Year Seminar Guidelines for Faculty

Guidelines for Faculty

  1. First-Year Seminars focus in depth on a question or topic in a field-specific context. By means of its specific focus, seminars explore the thinking, research, and writing practices in a particular field and the ways in which ideas are communicated across fields or to wider audiences.
  2. Each seminar uses a sequence of readings to develop the intellectual focus of the seminar and provide material for discussion. The readings should challenge students without making excessive demands on their time in preparing for class. The readings should:
    • demonstrate the genres and conventions of writing in the field of study
    • offer models of clarity, rigor, and style
    • afford opportunities and cues for further investigation on the seminar topic
  3. Each seminar provides instructional support for research by asking students to engage in some form of structured investigation beyond the common sequence of readings. Such activities may involve:
    • opportunities to find and evaluate primary and/or secondary sources
    • opportunities to engage with scholarly arguments in the field of study
    • instruction in the forms of appropriate citation used in your field, including a review of Sources
  4. Each seminar provides instructional support for writing, using an array of different writing assignments typically including at least three formal writing assignments totaling about 6,000 words. Students should write regularly, though not all writing need be graded. The 6,000 words may include drafts that students submit for comment. Writing instruction in the seminar should include:
    • discussion of writing in class workshops, small groups and/or individual conferences with the instructor
    • attention to and opportunities for revision
    • attention to discursive academic conventions used in your field
    • attention to conventions of grammar, spelling, and punctuation
  5. Each seminar provides structured occasions for students to take an active part in shaping discussion. These may involve
    • the assigned responsibility to initiate and facilitate seminar-style discussion on a particular reading
    • individual or small group presentations or debates

Administrative Guidelines

  1. Enrollment in First-Year Seminars is restricted to first-year students and limited to 16 students per seminar. First-Year Seminars are closed to non-first-year students. First-year students are permitted to enroll in a second seminar within the limit of sixteen per group after all students who have not yet met the requirement have had a chance to elect one.
  2. First-year students must take a First-Year Seminar in the term following their Writing 5 (or Writing 2-3), i.e.:
    • First-year Students enrolled in Writing 5 fall term must elect a winter seminar.
    • All Writing 2-3 students and those enrolled in Writing 5 winter term must take a spring seminar.
  3. An instructor shall be free to schedule a seminar in any regular timetable hour.
  4. Students are not eligible to participate in Off-Campus Programs until they have satisfied the First-year Seminar requirement.
  5. First-Year Seminars cannot serve for major or minor credit or as a prerequisite to the major.