First Year Seminar

Mandatory for all first-year students, the new First Year Seminar (FYS) aims to develop skills in reading, writing, and academic discussion to ensure future success in college-level courses. “The First-Year Seminar serves as an introduction to university life through a course of rigorous academic study,” says Anthony Paul Smith, Ph.D., Program Director and associate professor of religion and theology. “This introduction helps students develop skills that will serve them in their other courses, but also helps them take ownership of their education and see that they are a part of a wider community.” With classes capped at 19, students receive a greater level of personalized attention, creating space for closer connections and impactful relationships with each other and faculty. 

The Literacy of Change seminar class walked to Uncle Bobbies Coffee and Books in nearby Germantown for a School-to-Prison pipeline workshop.

FYS courses also serve as a creative outlet for faculty, allowing them to design fun and interactive courses of which they are passionate. Course topics range from horror films to love, cover a wide spectrum of historic and contemporary issues, and were created by faculty with vested interests in their respective topic. 

“Our faculty are passionate about inviting students into the work of intellectual life with its attendant struggles and joys,” says Smith. “We want students to see that our intellectual work is part of life, not merely just a stage of preparation for something to come, but something that they are living here and now.”

Fall 2018 First-Year Seminar Courses:

Monsters and the Monstrous Then and Now
Craig Franson, Ph.D. 

Shakespeare Today
Claire Busse, Ph.D. 

Russia: Forest and Steppe
Barbara Allen, Ph.D. 

Philadelphia: Trusting Penn’s Process
Francis McKee, M.A.

Diverse Representations: Film/TV
Mark Lashley, Ph.D. 

Lit and Film Ask Who Am I?
Phyllis Betz, Ph.D. 

Philadelphia in Print and on Screen
Judith Musser, Ph.D.

From Rocky to Renoir: Art and Power in Philadelphia
Siobhan Conaty, Ph.D. 

Catholicism in Philadelphia Then and Now
Maureen O’Connell, Ph.D. 

1960’s Literature: Revolutions and Reactions
James Jesson, Ph.D. 

Parents of Children, Children of Parents
Adrienne Pollichemi, MSW

Art, Fashion, and Identity
Catherine Holochwost, Ph.D. 

Beginnings and Endings:
The Circles of Life
Janine Mariscotti 

Alchemy: Science of Body and Spirit
Vincent Kling, Ph.D., MSW, LCSW, ’68

In Pursuit of the American Dream
Jie Li, Ed.D. 

Black Philadelphia
Anthony Paul Smith, Ph.D. 

Tax Cuts, Immigrants,
and Trade
David Robison, Ph.D. 

Art of the Street
Mey­Yen Moriuchi, Ph.D. 

Food in our Culture
Victoria Ketz, Ph.D.

Art and Crime
Susan Dixon, Ph.D. 

Love, Actually
Marianne Dainton, Ph.D., 

America’s Sports Film
Brother Gerry Molyneaux, FSC, Ph.D., ’58

Literacies of Change
Laura A Roy, Ph.D.