Freshman Seminars


Freshman seminars are often writing intensive, encourage critical thinking, are discussion-based rather than lecture-based, are structured around writing workshops, and focus on collaborative and active learning.  Here are descriptions of several seminars with useful material online for faculty. 


General Resources

Freshman Inquiry Writing Seminars, FIQWS (City College of New York).
Information and resources for teaching FIQWS that may prove useful to faculty teaching freshman seminars at other institutions as well.

Teaching the First-Year Seminar (Dartmouth College Institute for Writing & Rhetoric).
Guidelines for faculty, strategies for conducting writing workshops, methods for diagnosing and responding to student writing.

Freshman Seminar Program Faculty Toolkit (University of California, Davis).
Ideas for grading, for content and format of a seminar, course evaluation forms, and sample course descriptions.

University of South Carolina.
USC is thought to be the first school to offer Freshman Seminars, in 1972.  Their site includes links to the history of first year seminars, research reports from the 2009 National Survey of First-Year Seminars, and resources for faculty. 
Sample Syllabi for Seminars can be found at
The National Resource Center for the First-Year Experience and Students in Transition, offering conferences and publications on this topic, can be found at

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Schools Offering Freshman Seminars:  Examples of Courses

Freshman Seminars at Michigan State University.

Freshman Seminars in the Residential Colleges at Princeton University.

First Year Seminars at Stetson University, DeLand and Gulfport, Florida.

First-Year Seminars at the University of Richmond.

Freshman Seminars at the Krieger School of Arts & Sciences, Johns Hopkins University.

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