First-Year Courses, Curriculum Guide | Earlham College

First-Year Courses

First-year students are required to complete an Earlham Seminar I and II. In addition, all students must complete a designated Writing Intensive course within their academic major for .

Earlham Seminar (ES) courses teach first-year students general methods of interpretation in reading, writing and classroom discussion that provide a basis for skills they will continue to develop throughout their college career at Earlham and throughout their lives. The Earlham Seminar will also engage first-year students in exploring a topic of interest in an intimate, challenging and collaborative learning environment. These seminars introduce students to successful participation in a learning community and encourage new ways to engage and understand the world. Earlham Seminars share many of these distinctive characteristics:

  • Investigation of a topic and a set of related questions, using multiple ways of knowing, in order to exam intentionally how knowledge is constructed.
  • Grounding in an academic discipline while examining issues with an interdisciplinary scope.
  • Readings that engage a range of perspectives, discourses and values.
  • Emphasis on reading, reflection, writing and oral communication skills, and providing opportunities for students to critique and analyze information, construct arguments, listen interpretively and demonstrate and understand of various perspectives.
  • Encouragement of personal creativity and confidence in ideas and the development of cooperative learning and research skills.
  • Sharpen interpretive reading skills for analyzing and interpreting different kinds of texts.
  • Strengthen general skills required for coherence and clarity in written expression.
  • Communicate intelligently and effectively both in writing and through participation in group discussion.
  • Become better, more constructive and more open-minded listeners.
  • Develop skills that support and enhance life-long learning and engaged, committed citizenship.

Earlham Seminar I - Local

Each Local Seminar will involve:

  1. The physical exploration of some aspect of Richmond or the surrounding region, in connection with the course subject matter (i.e. moving from within the classroom to outside of it: “inside-­‐out”);
  2. An encounter with relevant material or expertise from Richmond or the surrounding region with the course instructor (i.e. bringing something beyond the classroom inside of it: “outside-­‐in”); and
  3. Student reflection on their local engagement in a written assignment.

Earlham Seminar I I - Global

The Global Seminar should model for students that complex transnational issues require:

  1. A depth and breadth of knowledge and expertise not restricted to a single discipline.
  2. Multiple perspectives and effective collaboration across cultural and other differences.
  3. Ongoing inquiry often without closure, involving a variety of strategies.
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