First-year seminar: General Overview
Goucher’s First-Year Seminars introduce students to the pleasures and demands of a liberal arts education.
First-Year Seminars offer a selection of small, discussion-based courses taught by faculty from across the disciplines. As with seminars for upper-level college students, each class explores a specific topic in all its complexity and connects students with shared interests.
First-Year Seminars also move beyond content to guide students in developing intellectual selves in both practice and disposition. This exploration is shaped by two distinct questions: 1) How do we think and learn as individuals in the intellectual setting? And 2) How do we carry ourselves in this setting? Faculty model both components of their own academic selves through their approaches to course content.
OVERVIEW for students
Each First-Year Seminar (FYS) draws on the passions, expertise, and creative interests of an enthusiastic professor to investigate cutting-edge material. Unlike a first-year survey course that tries to give an overview of an entire field or discipline, each First-Year Seminar examines a particular question or topic in depth and from multiple points of view. Course topics vary.
As your First-Year Seminar, these courses are designed so that you, your classmates, and a skillful teacher embark on a shared academic adventure that offers the excitement of intellectual discovery and the pleasures of creative accomplishment. The professor’s unique approach combines with several common elements across all FYS courses to offer concrete tools for beginning the articulation of an academic identity.
Hallmarks of First-Year Seminars are lively and informed class discussions; support in developing the skills of critical and creative thinking, reading, and writing; and the opportunity to work collaboratively with other students on a project that your group designs and develops independently. Each class operates as an engaged intellectual community, and class discussions are enriched by community-based projects, guest visits from experts in the Baltimore-Washington area, fieldtrips, and opportunities for hands-on investigations.
Your First-Year Seminar will serve as a place where you are challenged and supported to develop the skills needed to engage deeply and critically with complex materials; to take risks; to reflect on your own strengths, passions and goals; and to begin to develop a vision for your four-year-long journey through the liberal arts. All students are required to pass their First-Year Seminar to be eligible for graduation.