Freshman seminar replaced

Feb 092004
Authors: Erin Frustaci

In place of a formerly required freshman seminar, incoming

freshmen will have the option of taking a one- to two-credit

discipline-based course from a wide selection of topics, depending

on students’ interests.

“These are expected to be exciting courses which we are hoping

that entering students will enroll in,” said Faculty Council Chair

C.W. Miller, a professor of biomedical sciences. “These courses

will permit students to connect with a faculty member with whom

they can have contact with for four years.”

The Faculty Council made the decision in December to permanently

do away with the freshman seminar courses starting in summer


These current seminars were designed to combine discipline-based

content and orientation content. The orientation content, which

includes advising, library, financial aid, time management and

career services, will be covered in a program called Ramfest that

will run several days prior to school.

The non-orientation-based courses will cover topics a faculty

member feels passionate about.

“There will be lots of ideas coming forth and the idea is that

students could pick from a list of courses that interest them,”

Miller said.

Every associate dean of undergraduate education is working with

the faculty to try to identify topics that would appeal to students

and would be especially fun to teach. The seminars will be held in

small classroom settings.

“Enrollment will be gained during Preview,” Miller said.

“Parents and students will learn about the advantages of signing up

for seminars.”

Sarah Hortmann, freshman biochemistry major, said she probably

would not have taken a freshman seminar if it had been optional

because she had a heavy course load already, but she did think it

was worthwhile in the end.

“I think it had a lot to do with the way my professor structured

it,” Hortmann said. “We had a lot of guest speakers and there was

no busywork.”

The new orientation program might be modeled after Ram Camp, a

program designed for first-year students in the College of

Agricultural Sciences. It is planned by the Ag Ambassadors and

takes place the Friday before school starts.

Robert Miller, director of diversity and recruiting in the

College of Agricultural Sciences, said the main objective of Ram

Camp is to ease the transition from high school to college.

“Ram Camp was a great opportunity for me to know my classmates

and my faculty before I started classes,” said Sarah McFarlane, a

sophomore animal sciences major. “It was an upbeat and exciting way

to begin my time at CSU and definitely made me feel more at


Although Ram Camp takes place in Estes Park, Ramfest will be

held at CSU. The orientation programs are not finalized, but the

Division of Student Affairs in conjunction with the Associated

Students of CSU will develop a two- to three-day orientation that

will take place before school starts.

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