First-Year Courses

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Academic Programs
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First Year course at David Lanegran's home

The first-year course: A seminar for first-year students

During their first semester all first-year students take one course designated as a First-Year Course. The course is limited to 16 incoming students and is taught in seminar style by a faculty member who becomes the advisor for each of the students. This means that new students have immediate access to their advisor for academic and other questions and that their advisor will know them.

All First-Year Courses pay particular attention to writing and library research to ensure that all students are introduced to Macalester's high academic expectations for these skills. Many of these courses are regular department offerings that have been tailored to the needs of incoming students. Those courses meet requirements for a major in that department and serve as prerequisites to more advanced courses.

Some First-Year Courses are designated as residential courses. Students who enroll in one of these courses live near one another in the same residence hall, usually on the same floor. This facilitates discussion and group work outside of the classroom. Many courses also utilize student writing preceptors to provide additional writing support and peer mentoring.

During the last week of May, an on-line Registration Guide is made available to incoming students. Included in the Registration Guide are descriptions of the First-Year Courses being offered that year as well as information about choosing the other three courses to be taken in the first semester. Students select and are registered in their courses during the summer, although changes may be made during Orientation, which immediately precedes the beginning of the semester.

Sample First-Year Courses from 2013-2014

Department professor Course Name Residential
American Studies Jane Rhodes AMST 110-01: Introduction to African American Studies: Black Culture and Politics from Du Bois to Obama
Anthropology Scott Legge ANTH 194-01: Evolutionary Anthropology: Facts, Fantasies and Frauds (R)
Art & Art History Joanna Inglot ART 252-02/WGSS 252-02: Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Visual Culture
Art & Art History Stan Sears ART 367-01:  3-D Design: Structures and the Built Environment (R)
Biology Lin Aanonsen BIOL 194-01: The Heart and Soul of Biology (R)
Biology Kristi Curry Rogers BIOL 270-02 and Lab 3: Biodiversity and Evolution (R)
Chemistry Paul Fischer CHEM 194-01 and Lab 1: Environmental Chemistry (R)
Computer Science Shilad Sen COMP 120-01 and Lab 1: Exploring the Political and Social Structure of the Web (R)
Economics Peter Ferderer ECON 194-01: World Economic History (R)
English James Dawes ENGL 125-01: Human Rights and the Humanities (R)
English Marlon James ENGL 125-02: Creative Writing - Narrative Mechanics
Enivronmental Studies Christie Manning ENVI 172-01: Psychology in the Material World: An Examination of Consumer Culture and Its Personal and Environmental Impact (R)
French Joelle Vitiello FREN 194-01: Representations of Culture and Identity: Children and Youth In Francophone Cinema
Geography David Lanegran GEOG 111-01: Human Geography of Global Issues (R)
Geography Eric Carter GEOG 194-01: Contagion: The Human Ecology of Infectious Diseases (R)
Geology Kelly MacGregor GEOL 160-02/ENVI 160-02 and Lab 3: Dynamic Earth and Global Change (R)
German and Russian Studies Brigetta Abel GERM 194-01: Vampires: From Monsters to Superheroes (R)
German and Russian Studies Linda Schulte-Sasse GERM 255-01: German Cinema Studies - The Nazi in Cinema (R)
Hispanic Studies Cynthia Kauffeld HISP 194-01: Spanish in the United States.
Hispanic Studies Galo Gonzalez HISP 194-02: Viewing through a New Looking Glass: A Journey into Latina/o Literature
History Lynn Hudson HIST 201-01/WGSS 201-01: History of U.S. Feminisms
International Studies Igor Tchoukarine INTL 190-01: Mediterranean, Baltic, Black: Seas, Identities, and History (R)
Math David Bressoud MATH 136-01: Discrete Mathematics: The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Discrete Mathematics (R)
Music Randy Bauer MUSI 264-01: History of Jazz
Philosophy Geoffrey Gorham PHIL 115-02: Introduction to Philosophy -Philosophy and Film
Philosophy Janet Folina PHIL 120-01: Introduction to Symbolic Logic: Reasoning and Writing
Physics James Heyman PHYS 194-01: Nanoscience (R)
Political Science David Blaney POLI 120-01: Foundations of International Politics
Political Science Paul Dosh POLI 141-01/LATI 141-01/WGSS 141-01: Latin America through Women’s Eyes (R)
Psychology/Russian Studies Joan Ostrove/Anastasia Kayiatos PSYC 194-01/RUSS 194-01/WGSS 194-04: Minding the Body
Religious Studies Brett Wilson RELI 100-01: Introduction to Islam
Religious Studies Susanna Drake RELI 194-02: Virginity from Mary to Miley
Russian Studies Julia Chadaga RUSS 151-01: Things Don’t Like Me: The Material World and Why It Matters (R)
Sociology Terry Boychuk SOCI 194-01: The Medical Industry
Theatre and Dance Beth Cleary THDA 105-01: Theatre & Performance in the Twin Cities