Seminars introduce freshmen to 'the adventure of learning'

Princeton NJ -- In 1986, the University introduced nine seminars in the humanities especially designed for freshmen. The seminars were intended to provide the individual attention and introduction to inquiry that is so crucial for new students.

Today, the Freshman Seminar Program encompasses 64 one-semester classes across a wide range of disciplines. Some 850 students -- more than two-thirds of the class -- this year will take advantage of the opportunity to work in a small-group setting with a professor on a topic of particular interest. The students usually meet in one of the residential colleges and often continue discussions over meals and in dorm rooms.

During the 2002-03 academic year, freshmen can choose among topics such as "Alfred Stieglitz and the Making of American Art Photography," "Sex, Money and Rock and Roll: Information Technology and Society," "Islamic Movements in the Modern Middle East" and "Sound, Music and ... Physics." Leading the classes are veteran faculty members including Michael Cadden in theater and dance and Harold Feiveson in the Woodrow Wilson School and the Program on Science and Global Security as well as new faculty members including Anne McCauley in art and archaeology and Anthony Appiah in philosophy and the University Center for Human Values. Neil Rudenstine, provost and professor of English emeritus and former president of Harvard University, is teaching a seminar titled "Mostly Lyrics: Poems and Experience" this fall, and Princeton President Emeritus Harold T. Shapiro is slated to lead "Historical and Contemporary Issues in Bioethics" in the spring.

The seminars provide an exceptional introduction to "the adventure of learning," according to Associate Dean of the College Hank Dobin, who oversees the program. They allow students to test their ideas, build confidence, learn from others and get to know faculty members as they are plunging into their studies at Princeton.

"Almost universally, students say that their freshman seminar was one of their best academic experiences at Princeton," Dobin said, "and that they form their most enduring intellectual friendships with fellow students in the seminar."

According to John Fleming, the faculty director of the program, faculty almost invariably characterize the experience of teaching a seminar as among the most rewarding they have had at Princeton.

This Weekly Bulletin includes stories on three of the fall freshman seminars.

Related articles
West spends first fall back on campus with first-year students
Nothing robotic about response to this seminar
Freshmen take the lead in discussing leadership

 
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November 4, 2002
Vol. 92, No. 8
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Contents

Page one
Seminars introduce freshmen to 'the adventure of learning'
West spends first fall back on campus with first-year students
Nothing robotic about response to this seminar
Freshmen take the lead in discussing leadership

Inside
Invention has impact beyond the lab
Princeton architects reimagine world Trade Center site
United Way campaign kicks off Nov. 5
R&D Council honors freshman

Sections
People
Nassau Notes
Calendar of events
By the numbers


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Editor: Ruth Stevens
Calendar editor: Carolyn Geller
Staff writers: Jennifer Greenstein Altmann, Steven Schultz
Contributing writers: Karin Dienst, Evelyn Tu
Photographer: Denise Applewhite
Design: Mahlon Lovett, Laurel Masten Cantor, Margaret Westergaard
Web edition: Mahlon Lovett