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Year Seminar
FALL 2015

INSTRUCTOR: Dr. Scott Whiddon

OFFICE: Haupt Humanities 12

MEETING TIME: 11-12:15
TELEPHONE: 233-8298

ROOM: Cowgill 6
E-MAIL: swhiddon@transy.edu

Monday/10-noon (by appointment only)
Friday 10-noon (by appointment only)

Note: As Director of the Writing Center, I am sometimes available outside of these
hours. However, I give preference to appointments that are scheduled 2 or more
days in advance.

1. Rose, Mike. Lives on the Boundary.
2. Graff, Berkenstein, and Durst. They Sat/I Say: The Moves that Matter in Academic

Writing. 3rd Edition.
3. Various readings on our course blog. Youre required to bring a physical copy of
the days assigned reading to each class session (digital or print). It is up to you to
find ways to annotate digital and web texts appropriately.

COURSE DESCRIPTION: All students at Transylvania University take a two-course
First Year Seminar sequence. These courses offer an introduction to the nature of a
liberal arts education, and thus serve as the gateway for the rest of the college
experience. Although readings may differ from section to section, all
FYS/FYRS/FYSE courses build upon the goals of August Term and help students
develop argumentative and reflective writing and speaking skills.

Our own session will use texts dealing with the nature of education in a broad sense:
What is it? What is liberal education specifically? Who has access to it? Who
doesnt? Why? To what ends? How does education connect to concerns and
anxieties of economic class?

This course will help all of us to become more active thinkers, engaged with and
expressing our own ideas, while at the same time becoming increasingly aware of
how they relate to those of other people. By the end of the semester, we will have
worked hard on reading carefully, thinking critically, and translating those skills
into our writing.

Some things to consider along the way:

Critical Thinking: Maimon et al argue, Critical thinking is fundamental to all
college work and to life in a democratic society. Thinking critically means getting
involved, not necessarily finding fault. Critical thinkers never simply gather
information and present it without question. They inquire about what they see,
hear, and read (28). This definition of critical thinking will help guide our approach
to the texts we read, the discussions we hold, and the papers we write throughout
the semester.

Reading: The absolutely essential first step to successful participation in this
course is careful reading. Since we will be exploring challenging, college-level texts,
I expect you to read and re-read thoroughly, giving all the assigned texts a great deal
of attention and thought.

Annotate carefully, look up words you do not know, and ask questions of the text.
We will follow these three steps in our close reading of assigned textsannotating,
note taking, and questioning the text (Muller 4). In other words, we will move from
reading in order to understand the argument and rhetorical strategies of a text to
responding to and examining its conclusions. Critical reading means thoughtful
reading: When you read critically . . . you recognize the literal meaning of the text,
make inferences about implicated or unstated meanings, and then make your own
judgments in response (Maimon et al. 21).

Discussion: Class discussions will draw from the readings and related issues. All
participants should contribute to discussions in a thoughtful and respectful manner.
All participants should respect both the texts under consideration and other
students views. We will further our understanding of the material by asking
questions during discussions, by articulating ideas we find interesting, by making
connections between the readings, and by making connections between the
readings and issues related to the course topics. Please see G + B +D 163-67 and

Attendance: Because the class runs largely by discussion, attendance is mandatory.
Missing more than two classes will result in a lowering of the participation grade.
Missing three or more will result in a lowering of the final grade.

Writing: Writing in this class will consist of informal and formal essays.

SWAs (Short Writing Assignments): These writings should be typed and
reflect careful planning. You will often be asked to share your SWAs with
class participants via our course blog; some will be turned in via hard copy.
Individual informal writings will be scored 1-5; they will not all be weighted
equally when determining the final grade for this component of the course.
The factors that distinguish informal and formal writing in this class
include time spent, levels of drafting, audience roles, etc. Well often use
these as class-conversation starters and/or ways to develop larger writing

projects. My comments/feedback on these writings will be short, as these

arent sites of revision; however, Im always glad to talk about writing.
Formal Writing: Students will write three formal essays. All will be
produced using multiple drafts, peer evaluation consultations, writing center
visits, instructor conferences, etc. Along the way, well work on making
claims, supporting claims with evidence, organizing our arguments, and
understanding the needs of audiences. Well discuss the requirements of
each writing task in class. Formal writing tasks will be turned in via email, to
me, as an attachment in google docs or MS Word.
Peer review: In order for this class to be effective, it is important that every
member of the class participate in peer review workshops well have
sessions for each formal assignment, but well also often exchange daily
writing tasks. This participation involves reading and responding in an
honest, engaged, and serious manner to your peers writings. With that in
mind, I will assess workshop participation based on your interaction with
your peers drafts as well as your preparedness. Missing one or more peer
review workshops for formal writing tasks will seriously affect the
participation portion of your grade.

ON ACADEMIC INTEGRITY: Academic integrity is central to the mission of this
institution. Without honest effort, a learning community has no substance or
validity. All students are expected to maintain the highest standards of academic
honesty. No excuses will be accepted for plagiarism, cheating, or any other act,
which suggests that students have not fulfilled their academic responsibilities in this
course. Please see the academic integrity statement on the college website.

GRADING: Formal Writing, 60% (15%+20%+25%); SWAs, 20%; Class
Participation, 20% (includes discussion, preparation for conference days, peer
review, and brief in-class writings such as postscripts, quizzes, etc.).

Note: Failure to satisfactorily complete any one of the above three course
requirements will result in an F for the course. That is, an F for class participation
means an F for the course, regardless of how well you complete the other

LATE WORK: If you know that you will not be in class, you need to make
arrangements with me before the class period you will be absent. I do not
appreciate late formal essays, though I do understand that occasionally problems
occur. You have the option of turning ONE formal essay and ONE SWA in late, if you
contact me within 24 hours of the due date. Once youve exhausted this option, I
will accept late work with substantial penalties to the overall grade. However, if
your essay is more than three class periods late, you will receive a zero. In addition,
not submitting an essay draft will result in a zero grade on an essay.

AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT: Qualified students with disabilities
needing appropriate academic adjustments should privately contact me as soon as
possible to ensure that their needs are met in a timely manner. For questions or
concerns call University Services Coordinator of Disability Service at 233-8215.

Tentative Schedule
Please note that this schedule is subject to change. Students are required to
keep up with all changes, regardless of their presence or absence from class.

Sept 8: Introduction to the course. Discuss goals and assignments. Get to know each

other a bit.
Sept 10: Discuss TSIS, Introduction, I Take Your Point, and Ungar, The New

Liberal Arts.

(Sun): Transylvania University Convocation, 7pm. Haggin. Required.

Sept 15: Discuss TSIS, Reading for the Conversation, Cronan and Fryman essays

(links to pdfs on blog). Assign SWA 1.
Sept 17: Discuss TSIS Part 1 and SWA 1 (summary exercise). Assign FWA 1 and

SWA 2.

Sept 22: Discuss SWA 2 and Rose, Preface and Chapter 1.
Sept 24: In class workshop for FWA 1

Sept 29: Required student conferences.
Oct 1: Required student conferences.

Oct 6: Discuss Rose, Chapter 2. Assign SWA 3
Oct 8: FWA 1 due. Assign FWA 2. (SW will be away from campus; will post

instructions via blog)

Oct 13: Graff, Hidden Intellectualism and Hrabowski, Colleges Prepare People for

Wed, Oct 14: Required Creative Engagements Event/Genaro Ky Li Smith Reading

Oct 15: Owen and Sawhill, Should Everyone Go to College? and Murray, Are Too

Many People Going to College?/ Discuss SWA 3 / Assign SWA 4

Oct 20: Fall Break
Oct 22: Rose Chapters 3-4 / Discuss SWA 4/Assign SWA 6 (writing in disciplines)

Oct 27: In-class workshop FWA 2 / Assign SWA 5
Oct 29: Rose, Chapter 5-6 / Discuss SWA 5

Nov 3: Required conference
Wed, Nov 4, Required conference
Nov 5: FWA 2 due. Discuss themes in the course so far Assign FWA 3.

Nov 10: Michelle Obama, Bowie State University Commencement Speech +

readings TBA.
Nov 12: Library Workshop

Nov 17: Rose, Chapter 7
Nov 19: Discuss SWA 6 (writing in disciplines)

Nov 24: Workshop 1 for FWA 3
Nov 26: Thanksgiving Break

Dec 1: Rose, Chapter 8
Dec 3: Workshop 2 for FWA 3/Assign SWA 7 + 8

Mon, Dec 7: Required conference
Dec 8: Rose/Epilogue and Afterward and required conference/SWA 7 Due
Wed, Dec 9: Required conference
Dec 10: Rose Google Hangout w/Dr, Mike Rose, TBA.

Reading Day: FWA 3 and SWA 8 due.

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