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First-Year Seminar

What’s It Like?

First Year Seminars: Core 120 (Words) and Core 121 (Numbers)

Lewis & Clark’s dynamic first year seminar courses, Words and Numbers, develop students’ skills in analysis and both oral and written communication. These are not one-size-fits-all writing and math courses. Instead, students select from a menu of sections addressing a variety of urgent current issues and profound eternal questions. The foundational abilities honed along the way will prepare students for college as well as a life of learning, engagement, and leadership.

Each section is designed as an introduction to college inquiry and to our community of scholars. Within each section, a faculty member joins a small group of students in critically exploring a topic about which they share a passion. These courses honor individual student backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences while asking students to challenge themselves to think in new ways and expose themselves to new ideas. All sections engage meaningfully with diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Words teaches students to explore the meaning and significance of texts via close reading and analysis, and to express that analysis in writing.

Numbers teaches students to interpret quantitative information presented in various forms and contexts; to understand the logical structure of quantitative arguments; and to use quantitative models, theories, and data to simplify, explain, and make predictions.

Section Criteria:
Each section must be centered around the learning outcomes mentioned above. As an integral part of the first learning outcome, each section must engage meaningfully with diversity, equity, and inclusion. In addition, instructors must introduce students to strategies for navigating difficult classroom discussions. Instructors must submit a reflection to the General Education Steering Committee articulating how their section does this. Resources and support will be provided to instructors by the steering committee. No course used to satisfy the first-year seminar degree requirement may count towards a departmental major, a program requirement, or any other distribution requirement. First-year seminar content must be substantially different (at least 50%) from any departmental courses in the catalog.

Every section of Words will include at least 16 pages of formal writing, which may include revisions. An oral presentation will be required of each student in every section of Words and Numbers. At the instructor’s discretion, this may be live or recorded, individual or in a group.

First-Year Seminar

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