No more boring American history and English grammar courses straight out of high school. Welcome to college, where your interests matter.
This year, freshman seminars have been transformed to offer special research opportunities about topics that undoubtedly interest incoming students.
“Freshman seminars at UM were started a few years ago, but have been re-invented this year by Dean Bachas who wants the college to offer special research experiences for students at all levels,” said Traci Ardren, senior associate dean of academic affairs.
The seminars will feature small, freshman only classes that focus on a wide range of topics that are often interdisciplinary.
These courses fulfill one of the general education requirements in the social sciences, literature, natural sciences, religions, fine arts, and philosophy.
“A student who chooses a freshman seminar will be part of a unique learning experience with lots of attention and up close exposure to how research is done by faculty who are passionate about critical inquiry,” Ardren said.
The student response has been overwhelmingly positive.
“The seminars are capped at 18, but the classes on music sharing and Caribbean pop culture have had over 60 freshmen request a spot,” Ardren said. “Over 40 students asked to be in the seminar on monastic life in the 21st century.”
These classes also offer a great opportunity to develop a close relationship with a professor.
“We are confident that UM students are able to do research from the moment they arrive, and we wanted to give them the chance to work closely with faculty who are excited about the research process on topics that they may have never had the opportunity to explore,” Ardren said.
Ardren hopes that the seminar will help expand students’ horizons.
“During the semester they will get to know the city of Miami as well as the UM campus, as most of the seminars have an experiential component, and most of all, we hope freshmen get excited about their new intellectual life at UM and discover a passion for areas of research they never knew existed,” Ardren said.