Foundation for learning
Freshmen gain insight, experience in seminars
Princeton NJ -- This fall, Princeton freshmen are studying election machinery, imagining what it would be like to be secretary of state, debating the nature of love and exploring literary works on gardens.
All of these topics -- and 61 others -- are being addressed as part of the Freshman Seminar Program. The seminars are intended to provide the individual attention and introduction to inquiry that is so crucial for new students.
''Almost universally, students say that their freshman seminar was one of their best academic experiences at Princeton . . .''
''Almost universally, students say that their freshman seminar was one of their best academic experiences at Princeton and that they form their most enduring intellectual friendships with fellow students in the seminar,'' wrote Associate Dean of the College Hank Dobin, who oversees the program, in the introduction to the booklet describing this year's offerings (available online at <Web site>).
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. Most freshman seminars do not require prior knowledge in the subject, and faculty members emphasize discussion, papers and in-class presentations rather than quizzes and exams.
The students usually meet in the residential colleges and often continue discussions over meals and in other informal settings. The seminar program and the residential colleges frequently co-sponsor special events, such as film series, guest lectures, museum trips and field excursions.
This Weekly Bulletin includes stories on four of the fall freshman seminars:
• Freshmen cast for answers in seminar on voting machinery
• Viewing foreign policy through chief diplomats' eyes
• Debating differences between genders in literature, film and life
• Cultivating personal growth in a seminar on gardens