First Year Seminar: Self, Community, and the
The First Year Seminar introduces all Butler students to an
engagement with ideas of seriousness that is characteristic of the
best university education.
A two-semester sequence taken in the first year.
1. Listen and read critically - texts, speech, media and other
cultural productions - in order to examine, challenge and reshape
themselves and the world in which they live.
2. Express themselves clearly and persuasively in exposition and
in argument, in both written and oral forms.
3. Carry out research for the purpose of supplying evidence and
support for claims made in exposition and argument.
"I can't imagine a better introduction to a life of ideas than
to engage the students with writers who have lived that life," Dr.
Susan Neville explains. Her First Year Seminar on
Contemporary Writers focuses on those writers who come to the
campus each year as part of the Vivian S. Delbrook Writers
Series. The writers talk with students and, Neville remarks,
"the conversation will range, as it always does, from the work to
history to contemporary issues such as immigration and race, and
always always on how to live a life of passion and awareness."
Dr. Lisa Brooks' Seminar, La Musica!, also engages students in
grand disciplinary conversations. Brooks is a professional
musician, she notes, "fully engaged in the art of classical
music." But "once the students sense that the goal of the
course is NOT to make them symphony patrons, they realize that
their personal opinions about classical music and its relevance are
integral to the course content" and as they see themselves as
agents within culture.
In Michelle Stigter's course, students examine the complex, and
at times volatile, topic of immigration. Her Seminar,
Integration and Assimilation, posits challenging questions: "what
does the influx of 'the other' do to the composition of cultural
identity? Is it wrong to superimpose the norms and values of
the dominant culture on new citizens?" Stigter's students
work in the community with the Immigrant Welcome Center and create
a digital story that narrates the support and advocacy work the
Center provides to, and on behalf of, various communities.
Helping students "understand cultures and the impact of
multiculturalism on our world is an important part of figuring out
who we are," Stigter posits, "and who we want to become."