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First-Year Seminar/Learning Community

Course Guidelines

A first-year seminar will

  • follow the guidelines for a writing extensive experience.
  • follow the guidelines for a speaking extensive experience.
  • utilize the "fourth hour" in the following ways:
Common Themes and Strategies for Academic Success
  1. Conducted with the mentoring team (the professor, student affairs professional, and student mentor):
    1. Three course sessions on US diversity and global awareness. These will happen during one week of the semester and be tied to one of the FYS convocations.
    2. Two course sessions on community/civic engagement. One of these will happen on the first course of the semester immediately following the service blitz to provide more reflection and learning from the student’s experience.
    3. Two course sessions on strategies for academic success, such as time management, wellness, and planning for the future.

  2. Conducted by the professor:
    1. Two course sessions on the value of a liberal arts education and Illinois College in particular (including academic integrity and our Affirmation of Community Responsibility, as well as noteworthy alumni) and introductions to academic resources, such as the library, the Writing Center, and the Center for Academic Excellence.
    2. Four course sessions/conferences dedicated to advising issues: what type of learner the student is, creating a personal development plan, registration for next semester, and self-assessment.
The remaining two course sessions are left to the instructor's discretion. Except for the four specified above for specific times (the one on community/civic engagement that happens the first day of course and the three on US diversity and global awareness that take place during one week, to be predetermined), these will be scheduled in consultation with the student affairs professionals.
  • include the following common readings and experiences:
Common Readings
  1. Common summer reading
  2. One Web video lecture on the value of a liberal arts education: Liz Coleman's Call to Reinvent Liberal Arts Education
  3. One reading on diversity: Peggy McIntosh, "White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack"
  4. One reading on the value of community engagement and service learning: Adam Davis, "What We Don't Talk about When We Don't Talk about Service"
  5. One reading on the value of civic engagement: Ursula Le Guin, "The Ones Who Walked Away from Omelas"
  6. The Declaration of Human Rights: http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/

These will be reviewed periodically by the IC Connections Academic Director and updated if necessary by a proposal to the Curriculum Review Committee.

Common Experiences

  1. Service blitz
  2. Four convocations tied to common themes
  3. Taking the VARK test online to explore their learning styles
  4. A diversity exercise or workshop enacted in course (the mentoring team will choose one among several provided)
  5. Creating a personal development plan
A collection of resources approved by the Curriculum Review Committee for all common theme sessions will be made available. If faculty want to use a resource other than those provided, they can propose it to the Curriculum Review Committee. It should meet the following criteria:
  1. It clearly addresses the learning outcome.
  2. It has been peer-reviewed.
  3. It is a minimum of 1500 words or is 20 minutes in length (if other than print media).
  4. It is connected to an assignment that allows for assessment of student learning.
  • form a learning community with either EN 121 or CO 101 in the following ways:

The Learning Community

Collaboration and Communication: Both faculty members have planned for collaboration and communication in advance of the course, and during the semester, they meet with the learning community together at least three times.

Integrative Unit/Theme: They have established an integrative unit or theme that bridges their disciplines and is attractive both to them and the students, and at least a part of each course has been adapted to this theme. Relying on the expertise of both faculty members, the curriculum helps students make connections between different areas of knowledge, introducing them to both disciplinary perspectives and methodologies.

Implementation: The faculty members have identified common and assessable learning outcomes for their unit or theme, and their integrative strategies include at least one common "text"/learning experience and at least one shared assignment. This could include a joint service-learning project. Further integration is encouraged.

The instructional team is encouraged to meet at least once outside the classroom, ideally for a shared project.

The instructional team is encouraged to attend one campus event together, such as an SAB Impact Committee convocation.

The mentoring team and the learning community should meet once in the second semester prior to spring break.

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