First-Year Seminar: Courses

All students at Saint Michael’s College enroll in a First-Year Seminar during their first or second semester. These writing-intensive, discussion-based seminars explore broad questions in the liberal arts and are restricted in enrollment to encourage active learning and interaction between all students and the professor.

The small class size allows instructors to get to know students well and to work closely with their writing. It also encourages students to work cooperatively, creating a small, engaged community of learners who take responsibility for their own education.

Topics vary from year to year, but all courses in the program aim to develop students’ abilities to closely analyze primary texts, participate thoughtfully in discussions about complex topics, and write effectively. Courses explore their topic from a range of interdisciplinary perspectives and are designed to promote reflection on cultural diversity.

First-Year Seminars for 2020/21:

FS 110 Purpose, Meaning & Happiness
FS 111 The Examined Life
FS 111 The Examined Life (Honors)
FS 112 Drama and Culture: Text and Performance
FS 115 American Environmental Imagination
FS 116 Snow: Art & Science of Alpine Crystals (Honors)
FS 118 Performance, Art, and Social Justice
FS 122 Music and the Human Experience
FS 128 Journey Stories
FS 140 Place and Placelessness
FS 153 Peace and Justice
FS 153 Peace and Justice (Honors)
FS 156 Memoirs: Women on Gender, Race & Sexuality
FS 158 Society, Identity & Race
FS 161 Technology and Ethics in Society
FS 170 Medieval Magic and the Divine
FS 182 The Social Construction of Humanness

For a complete list of First-Year Seminar classes and course descriptions, see the college catalog.

The Common Text

Each year, Saint Michael’s College chooses a common text to be read and discussed by the incoming class of new students. All first-year students are asked to read the book over the summer prior to arriving on campus. A panel discussion of the book is held during Orientation in late August, and each First-Year Seminar discusses the book at the start of the fall and spring semesters. The common text for 2020-2021 is Reading with Patrick: A Teacher, a Student, and a Life-Changing Friendship by Michelle Kuo.

Read more about the Common Text.

For more information about the First Year Seminar or Common Text, contact:

Peter Vantine
Director, First-Year Seminar Program
Associate Professor of Modern Languages
Joyce 155 / Box 276