What is First-Year Seminar?
First-Year Seminar, the first course in Belmont’s General Education program (the BELL Core), introduces you to the intellectual skills you will need to be a successful college student and an educated citizen after you leave Belmont. The course hinges on the bedrock issues of lifelong learning: What is Knowledge? Are there multiple ways of knowing and understanding the world around us? How do we apply knowledge gained in the classroom to the world around us? Each First-Year Seminar is organized around a theme, or set of questions, to help you in your journey toward becoming a critical and deep thinker, an effective communicator, and, most importantly, a responsible and engaged citizen.
First-Year Seminar, by design, is a small class where you will have the opportunity to get to know your fellow classmates as well as your professor. Expect this course to be challenging! Your professors will push you to stretch your thinking and engage in meaningful conversation, read a wide variety of books and articles, and complete a substantial research project. Our expectation is that you will depart from this course better prepared to embark upon your academic work at Belmont.
Why are all incoming freshmen required to take this course?
Regardless of your interests, career aspirations, or major field of study, the broad intellectual questions and academic experiences of First-Year Seminar are vital for becoming an educated and responsible citizen. The themes of the course will serve as a solid foundation for your future academic work at Belmont and your pursuits long after you graduate.
Who teaches First-Year Seminar?
First-Year Seminar is a unique course in that it draws from a wide array of disciplines. Because of this fact, professors from just about every academic area teach it. The faculty who teach First-Year Seminar are a special group—the most dynamic, enthusiastic group of professors you will ever encounter.
What is the “Common Book?” How is it selected?
While you will enroll in a First-Year Seminar with a particular course title and specialized readings and assignments, all students in your entering class will read a book in common during the semester. Belmont students, staff, and faculty nominate titles each year for the common book, and a committee of veteran First-Year Seminar instructors makes a selection based on these. The common book is one that encapsulates well the theme of “Ways of Knowing”; a book that challenges students to consider how we know what we know, how others may see and know the world differently, and the value of learning to “think outside the box.” We certainly don’t expect everyone to agree with the themes or views presented in the common book. In fact, we hope that you are ready to probe, question, and learn from reading the common book and discussing it with your professor and peers.
What is the First-Year Seminar Film Series?
Another common experience you will have with all incoming students is the FYS Film Series, which includes a “common film” that will be viewed by every freshman. The common film will address the theme of “Ways of Knowing”—just in a different way than your in-class readings. Depending on which section of FYS you take, you may see other films that are part of the series, or attend other types of events, including theatre performances or important campus speaking events.
What If I want to learn more about First-Year Seminar?
If you have any questions regarding First-Year Seminar, a good place to start is the General Education Web site: www.belmont.edu/bellcore. By clicking on “Course Descriptions,” and “First-Year Seminar,” you will find more detailed information about the course, including course titles for this year's First-Year Seminar classes. You also may contact Dr. Alison Moore, Director of General Education, at Alison.Moore@belmont.edu.