The University Seminar is a distinctive opportunity for every first-year student to experience a small, writing intensive seminar taught by a member of the University’s Teaching and Research faculty. Each Seminar fulfills one of seven university disciplinary requirements: philosophy, theology, history, the social sciences, literature or fine arts, the sciences and mathematics. As such, each Seminar must meet the goals specified in the rationale for the requirement it is intended to fulfill.
With a class size of no more than 18, students have the opportunity to interact intensively with a knowledgeable and dedicated faculty member. Each Seminar is expected to emphasize oral expression and writing and to offer an introduction to a particular issue, problem, or topic in a given field of study. In each Seminar, then, students will regularly engage in class discussions and express orally opinions, analyses, and arguments relevant to the material studied in the course. Faculty are to introduce the students to the paradigms, content, methodology, or problems of their discipline while at the same time introducing them to conventions for academic writing within the parameters or discourse of that field. A minimum of 24 pages of writing is required in each Seminar and at least one of the assignments must focus on faculty feedback and student revision of a particular essay or assignment.
Since research is an important dimension of learning at a university, students should be introduced to the methods and sources of research in the particular discipline. They should be able to find, judge and present information and demonstrate these skills in a small modest research project.
Approved April 20, 2005, by Academic Council