Second Year Seminars are a part of Bridgewater State College’s new Core Curriculum. The purpose of this document is to explain the Second Year Seminars (SYS) and the support that exists for these courses.
Whereas the First Year Seminars introduce students to academic thought and discourse, the Second Year Seminars engage students in a specific academic area of interest and provide them with the opportunity to reinforce, share and interpret knowledge. One way in which they might do that is through engagement with the outside world.
Second Year Seminars (SYS) are 3 credit speaking intensive (298) or writing intensive (299), discipline-based topic courses that build on the academic skills and habits introduced in the First Year Seminar. They must be completed prior to 54 earned credit hours. Transfer students who have earned 54 or more credit hours will have this requirement waived. Only one SYS course (either 298 or 299) may be taken for credit. SYS courses have as a prerequisite a speaking intensive course, (if speaking intensive) and ENGL 101, ENGL 102 (if writing intensive).
How do I determine whether the course is speaking intensive or writing intensive?
The Second Year Seminars are to be designated by the department as either speaking intensive or writing intensive.
oIf the course is speaking intensive, it should have as a goal that the students enhance their abilities to speak clearly, effectively, and confidently in both large and small groups, as when presenting a report, participating on a panel, debating, or articulating judgments and opinions
oIf writing intensive, it should have as a goal that the students enhance their abilities to write clearly, effectively and appropriately for academic or general audiences. This could be satisfied by three papers, each being a minimum of five pages, or any requirement comparable to this. In addition to the number of pages, the student must be given regular feedback on his/her work.
What support is available for faculty who want to teach a SYS course?
oAssistance in creating, assigning, and assessing material for a speaking intensive course will be available from the SYS webpage, the Second
oAssistance in creating, assigning, and assessing material for a writing intensive course will be available from the SYS webpage, the Second
What are the learning outcomes of the Second Year Seminars?
“SYS courses engage students in a specific academic area of interest and provide them with the opportunity to reinforce, share, and interpret knowledge. Students will improve their writing, reading, research, and basic information and technology skills while building the connections between scholarship and action that are required for lifelong learning. “
What is the relationship of the SYS to the major?
SYS may be used by the major, if permitted by the major
SYS may not fulfill the Skills requirement or the additional Writing Intensive requirement in the major.
SYS is not the same as an introductory course.
No department may offer any current course as a SYS.
Does the Second Year Seminar satisfy any other requirements?
SYS may satisfy one of the distribution areas (Humanities, Fine and Performing Arts, Natural Science, or Social and Behavioral Science)
oIf a SYS satisfies a distribution area, then it must address the outcomes of knowing and understanding the intellectual frameworks, and methodologies of that distribution area.
The SYS does not have to satisfy a distribution area.
Who may offer a Second Year Seminar?
Any department may offer a Second Year Seminar. If the sponsoring department is designated as normally offering courses in a given distribution area, approval beyond the departmental level is not required for a Second Year Seminar.
oHowever, if the course lies outside of a distribution area, then that course does NOT automatically satisfy a Core Curriculum Distribution requirement. In order to receive approval for satisfying a distribution area, the course must be submitted to ACC and UCC for approval.
oA faculty member can offer a SYS in a department other than her/his home department if the department to offer the course approves it.
Any faculty member may teach a SYS as long as it meets the SYS requirements. If the SYS is not intended to meet a distribution requirement, approval from ACC and UCC are not required.
How might faculty structure their Second Year Seminar courses to help achieve the learning goals?
Faculty are encouraged, but not required, to incorporate civic engagement into their SYS. The American Psychological Association defines Civic Engagement as
…individual and collective actions designed to identify and address issues of public concern. Civic Engagement can take many forms from individual voluntarism to organizational involvement to electoral participation. It can include efforts to directly assess an issue, work with others in a community to solve a problem or interact with the institutions of representative democracy.
Civic engagement (CE) is an umbrella under which a wide variety of educational activities exist. Service learning and community service are just two ribs of the umbrella.
oFor example, if a faculty member decided to have the class work with the issue of homelessness, a civic engagement focus could be incorporated in a number of different ways.
§Students might conduct research into the history of homelessness in America and do individual presentations.
§Students might conduct research about the solutions to homelessness and have a debate about the most advantageous solution.
§The director of homeless shelter might come to speak to the students about the program.
§A current or former guest at homeless shelter might come to tell her story.
§Students in the class might volunteer at homeless shelter. If their service is directly linked to the course material, this would be a service learning project.
oAny course can involve civic education. In order to help faculty find ways to incorporate civic engagement in their course, there are books in the library which address discipline specific CE. There are also many websites which address discipline specific ways to implement in civic engagement in your class. These websites, and much more information about the Second Year Seminars, will soon be available through the Second Year Seminar website (under construction). Susan Holton can also work with you to integrate CE into your curriculum.
oSee SYS webpage for more information on Civic Engagement.