First-Year Courses

First-year students are required to take Earlham Seminar I and II.

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 examine 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 understanding 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.

If a student fails an Earlham Seminar, they are required to complete a Writing Intensive course in their sophomore year for degree completion. At the time of this completion, the “failing grade” in the Earlham Seminar will be changed to a RT.

A student may petition to withdraw from an Earlham Seminar, after midterms are issued and before the last day to withdraw, if their instructor confirms that they are earning a D or F in the course at that time. If a student withdraws from an Earlham Seminar, they are required to complete a Writing Intensive course in their sophomore year for degree completion.

The Writing Intensive course that students who fail an or withdraw from an Earlham Seminar must take in their sophomore year is in addition to the Writing Intensive course already included within every student’s declared major.

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