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Sally McMillanTo: Tenured and Tenure-track Professors

From: Sally J. McMillan, Vice Provost for Academic Affairs

Subject: 129 Seminar Proposals for Fall 2011

First-year students and faculty members agree: FYS 129 seminars are a change from ordinary. Students enjoy small-group learning while transitioning to college. Professors enjoy engaging with students on topics of mutual interest while receiving $1,500 for research support.

These one-credit courses are offered on a satisfactory/no credit basis, with enrollment capped at 18 students. You may adapt your teaching specialty to this format or develop a freshman experience in an area of expertise that you rarely, if ever, teach. Focus on making it fun for both you and your students.

If you are looking for ideas, consider topics that are consistent with the Ready for the World initiative. Or think about building on themes from this year’s Life of the Mind book: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. Topics include health, race relations, poverty, science, and more. Read a review here.

You might be concerned about interacting with students who are notoriously both highly intelligent and digitally distracted. Consider including practices such as inquiry-based problem solving, service learning, and peer-to-peer learning. Many successful seminars engage students in areas related to a faculty member’s research.

My office will actively recruit students for all FYS 129 sessions with the goal of filling all sections. We will consider offering some sections with less than 18 students if we can afford to do so. If you are willing to teach without the research support, we can consider offering smaller sections when there are no financial constraints.

To submit a 129 seminar proposal, or for more information on the seminars, please visit the Freshman Seminar website at The deadline for seminar submissions is April 8, 2011.

If you have any questions, please contact Michelle Gilbert at 974-0684 or send an email to

Thank you in advance for submitting a proposal!