First-year seminars are 4-credit courses that begin in New Student Week and continue through the entire fall semester. All new students entering the University are required to take a first-year seminar during their first term at Redlands.
First-year seminars, which are often interdisciplinary and creative in how a content area is approached, provide every student with:
- A close personal relationship with a faculty member who not only teaches the course but also serves as the academic advisor and mentor.
- An introduction to college level skills, which may include various forms of writing, how to do scholarly research, study strategies, and how to effectively participate in classroom discussion.
- A challenging academic experience that addresses subject matter with theoretical depth and relevant application.
While students are encouraged to select seminars of interest to them, it is not necessary that the seminar reflect their potential major at the University. Ideally, a seminar will meet a Liberal Arts Foundation requirement such as writing across the curriculum, dominance and difference, cross cultural studies, community service, etc.
Most first year seminars will have 16-17 students. We are committed to having smaller seminars to make it easier for faculty to have more writing assignments and feedback.
Given the emphasis on making our curriculum more streamlined for students (to improve retention and graduation rates), please consider having your first year seminar meet an LAF requirement.
*Please incorporate as many of the ideal learning outcomes for entering students below to help guide your seminar syllabus and classroom planning.
Beyond the content and process of a specific liberal arts foundation course, it is hoped that by the end of the first year seminar, students will have made some progress on skills and experience in most of the following areas:
- An ability to contribute to class discussions with ideas and inferences from readings that goes beyond what has been expected at the secondary school level.
- An experience of writing and/or creating project(s) that has included critical feedback from the professor and rewriting/recreating.
- Specific strategies to avoid plagiarism and accurately reference work from academic sources found in journals, books, and Internet sites.
- An ability to access and utilize academic resources such as the library, academic databases, and computer center.
- Knowledge of and potential utilization of the academic success center, diversity affairs office, community service learning, and the counseling center.
- A relative comfort with discussing general and specific academic and professional goals and plans with his/her advisor and peer advisor.
- An increase in self-efficacy and assertiveness to ask questions and address academic concerns with faculty and the academic institution.
- Time management and the ability to balance academic with social and work responsibilities.
- A new peer group community that has developed from the common academic experience and significant interactions during the first year seminar.