Welcome to Freshman Seminar!
This course will introduce students to academic life at the university and help them become a part of our community at St. Edward’s. Although the seminars are focused on very different topics, they all share a common goal: students join a community of learners and actively engage in academic and co-curricular exploration. As they do so, they will develop critical thinking skills necessary to become successful students and lifelong learners by meaningfully confronting questions of social justice through the course materials and co-curricular experiences.
What is Freshman Seminar?
Freshman Seminars are not lecture courses, but are instead classes where students and faculty actively engage with one another as they discuss course materials. In addition, students and faculty will participate in a variety of co-curricular experiences over the course of the semester where they leave the classroom. For example, a seminar might go to an art opening, attend a book festival, or work on a service project with a local non-profit organization.
What is unique about Freshman Seminar?
Another thing that makes these seminars different from other classes you will take at St. Edward’s is that they are each part of a group of seminars clustered around a particular topic; for example, Sustainability, Social Justice, or Global Engagement. Some seminars are part of a Living Learning Community where all of the students in the class live in the same Residence Halls, while others are part of a Learning Community where students do not live together but do all attend co-curricular events together.
What is the Common Theme?
Every year, St. Edward’s chooses a Common Theme that guides programming and discussions across campus. You will discuss the theme in your Freshman Seminars and some of the events you and your classmates attend will be related to the theme. For fall 2019 we're excited to announce that our incoming students will read Dear America: Notes from an Undocumented Citizen by Jose Antonio Vargas.
Director of First Year Experience: Alexandra Barron
alexb [at] stedwards.edu
Living Learning Communities
FALL 2019 LIVING LEARNING COMMUNITIES
Students in an LLC live in a Residence Hall with students in their Freshman Seminar class. Students will participate in class-related activities, in-depth community building, and day trips with classmates from their Residence Hall.
Students in the Global Engagement LLC explore a variety of cultural and political topics in a global context through academic work and social engagement. Our range of seminars and extracurricular activities across the city offer students many opportunities to study and tackle diverse social issues first-hand. Whether it be by studying foreign film, sampling global cuisine, or taking in an art exhibit in downtown Austin, students in this LLC will learn how a global perspective can help us tackle problems at the local level and vice-versa.
In the Leadership LLC, you'll be challenged to gain a greater understanding of what makes someone an inspirational leader. Whether you envision yourself leading a country, a brand, a classroom, a research team or a band, your experiences in this LLC will empower you to further develop your leadership qualities. You will participate in workshops led by faculty and staff from across campus, learn from high-profile leaders in various fields, and engage in service projects in your community.
Become part of a community of students who care deeply about the world, have a desire to grow and meet their full potential, and are excited to tackle tough issues affecting us all. Reflective thinking, courageous dialogue and affirming finger-snapping included!
Honors students live together so that the thought-provoking and challenging conversations that occur in the classroom can move into the residence hall. All first-year Honor students live in Dujarié Hall, where they build lifelong relationships with their classmates as well as engage closely with their faculty mentors through co-curricular events held on and off campus.
The Natural Sciences LLC (also known as the CASAR Project: Community for Achievement in Science, Academics and Research) was initially established by a grant from the National Science Foundation so that science majors at St. Edward’s University can begin establishing their credentials as experienced scientists. Participating students arrive on campus before school begins and join the Freshmen Accelerated Research Methods (FARM) Workshop where they learn research tools and methodologies in several scientific disciplines so they are prepared to join research projects and develop their credentials as a scientist.
FALL 2019 LEARNING COMMUNITIES
Students in a LC live in a Residence Hall with students from a variety of Freshman Seminar classes. Students will participate in class-related activities, community building, and day trip with classmates.
The Hunger Games, 1984, The Handmaid’s Tale…why is popular culture inundated with visions of a dystopian future or of totalitarian regimes cloaked under a utopian veil? How do artists and thinkers use dystopia to critique our world today as they imagine a bleak future? Are attempts to build a utopian society always doomed to fail? Our Learning Community will investigate the role of utopias and dystopias in history and contemporary culture.
Classes include: Dystopian Worlds, Utopian Aims; Mathematopia; The World Turned Upside Down: Utopia & Dystopia in American History & Pop Culture
Seminars in this Learning Community will explore film, music, literature, and other forms of popular culture. As we study various media, we will investigate how our love of particular genres and texts shapes our identities. Whether it is writers from around the globe or “alternative culture” here in Austin, we will examine how popular culture impacts our world.
Classes include: Film as Text; Exploring “Alternative” Culture in Austin and Beyond; Other Stories: Global Influence in the Arts; Popular Music and Identity
Seminars in this learning community will examine the importance of place, the human role in the environment, and actions that foster sustainability. Questions we will ask include: What is the relationship of people to the environment? How do our attitudes towards nature change over time? And how is Austin making efforts to become more sustainable?
Classes include: Becoming Ecoliterate: Sustainable Austin: Exploring Sustainability on Campus and in the Austin Community; A History of People and the American Environment; Healthy People, Healthy Planet
GENDER & SEXUALITY
How does gender (along with other aspects of our identity such as race and ethnicity) shape how we experience and move through the world? How does sexuality influence how we produce and consume art and culture? Each of these seminars will explore issues of gender and sexuality through a difference lens. Also, as a Learning Community, we will engage in a variety of experiences that help us explore these questions further, including experiences that will help us learn more about our campus and Austin communities affected by these issues.
Classes include: Private Lives, Public Spaces: How Gender Affects Our Experience of Public Space; Queer Film and Pop Culture; Monsters and Queer Identity in Fiction
Hooligans, teenagers, and adolescents: for decades, youth have been othered, scrutinized, fetishized, and feared. Questions of control, freedom, and exploration are central to thinking about the experiences of youth, both historically and in the present. Seminars in this learning community will explore the on-going battle over the ways young people read, watch, listen, play, learn, make, and live together.
Classes include: Pop Culture Pedagogies: The Politics of Pleasure & Play; Teenage Wasteland? Teenage Dream? Exploring the Field of Youth Studies; Best of Times/Worst of Times: College Student Mental Health; The Play is the Thing