F R E S H M A N   S E M I N A R S

Freshmen embark on 'adventure of learning'

Princeton NJ -- Across the campus this fall, small groups of freshmen are cloistered with faculty members in classrooms in the residential colleges exploring topics ranging from the history of flight to the role of religion in slavery.

The courses are part of the Freshman Seminar Program, which encompasses 65 one-semester classes across a wide range of disciplines. The seminars are intended to provide the individual attention and introduction to inquiry that is so crucial for new students.

Some 850 freshmen -- more than two-thirds of the class -- this year will take advantage of the opportunity to work in small-group settings with professors on topics of particular interest. The students usually meet in the residential colleges and often continue discussions over meals and in other informal settings.

During the 2003-04 academic year, freshmen can choose from among topics such as "The Rise (and Fall?) of the SUV in America," "How Science Happens: The Struggle of Discovery Against Dogma," "Hip Hop, House and Raves: Social Dance and Social Life in 21st-Century America" and "Writing an American Self."

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.

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

Expanding boundaries of thought
Martinelli combines engineering and history to make course fly
Exploring the 'shifty' side of American literature
Smith forgets few angles in freshman seminar on memory