group of students gathered around a kitchen table
For the final class of the first-year seminar, “Finding Your Roots,” taught by Professor Rick Lopez, students prepared a meal together based on recipes from their family histories. (Photo by Maria Stenzel)

Each first-year student is required to take a first-year seminar. These courses are planned and taught by one or more members of the faculty as a way to introduce students to liberal-arts studies through a range of innovative and often interdisciplinary approaches. Small groups of students work closely with professors in a collaborative atmosphere and immerse themselves deeply in the course’s subject matter.

Though the subject matter of the courses varies, each seminar constitutes an inquiry-based introduction to critical thinking and active learning at the college level. To achieve this goal, all courses will have an enrollment limit of 15 and will provide discussion-based classes; writing-attentive instruction with frequent and varied assignments; close reading and critical interpretation of written texts; and careful attention to the development and analysis of argument in speech and writing.

First-Year Seminar Courses