First-Year Seminars

First-Year seminars are designed to introduce you to a field of study by way of a special topic, issue, or problem of interest to you. You will have the challenge of exploring the course material in depth with a faculty member and a small group of peers. These topics are accessible to all students either with no prerequisites or with prerequisites first-years should have completed, such as the writing requirement. Limited to 15 students, these seminars will be reading and discussion-based with an emphasis on papers, projects, studio work, or hands-on field experience rather than exams. All of the first-year seminars are regular courses, worth either 3 or 4 credits, and most fulfill an FDR requirement. In some cases, these seminars may serve as a prerequisite or satisfy a requirement in a major.

More than three-quarters of first-year students at Washington and Lee fulfill their FDR FW requirement in WRIT 100, Writing Seminar for First Years. 24-26 sections taught by professors of Classics, English, Journalism, History, Religion, and Philosophy are offered annually in fall and winter. These Writing Seminars for First-Years emphasize the development of argumentative writing skills in topical courses  on a variety of subjects, from "Faith and Doubt" to "I See Dead People." See the course offerings for more information.

First-Year students who have been exempted from FDR FW because they have an AP Literature or Language score of 5 or an IBE score in specific areas of 6 or 7 should still consider taking a First-Year Seminar (though they should not take WRIT 100).  These FYS courses nearly always qualify for FDR credit (check the 5th column in the Course Listings).

First-year students may take both the Writing Seminar for First-Years (WRIT 100) and a First-Year Seminar, unless they have already fulfilled FDR FW as described above.

Please take this opportunity to review these exciting course offerings. For full descriptions of the seminars follow the links.

Fall 2015

See complete information about these courses in the course offerings database. For more information about a specific course, including course type, schedule and location, click on its title.

FS:ARCHITECTURE OF LIVING SYST

BIOL 180 - Toporikova, Natalia

General Geology with Field Emphasis

GEOL 100A - Rahl, Jeffrey M.

The study of our physical environment and the processes shaping it. The materials and structure of the Earth's crust, the origin of the landforms, the concept of geologic time, and the nature of the Earth's interior are considered, with special emphasis on field study in the region near Lexington. No credit for students who have completed GEOL 101. Offered on occasion as a First-Year Seminar. Contact the instructor for additional information. Laboratory course.

GEOL 100A: FS: General Geology with Field Emphasis (4): First-Year Seminar.

General Geology with Field Emphasis

GEOL 100A - Greer, Mary L. (Lisa)

The study of our physical environment and the processes shaping it. The materials and structure of the Earth's crust, the origin of the landforms, the concept of geologic time, and the nature of the Earth's interior are considered, with special emphasis on field study in the region near Lexington. No credit for students who have completed GEOL 101. Offered on occasion as a First-Year Seminar. Contact the instructor for additional information. Laboratory course.

GEOL 100A: FS: General Geology with Field Emphasis (4): First-Year Seminar.

FS:FASHION IN GLOBAL HISTORY

HIST 180 - Stillo, Stephanie E.

FS:THE NEWS ABOUT THE NEWS

JOUR 180 - Coddington, Mark / Richardson, Brian E.

FS:ETHICS OF CITIZENSHIP

POL 180 - Kemerli, Pinar

Poverty and Human Capability: An Interdisciplinary Introduction

POV 101A - Brotzman, Kelly L.

An exploration of the nature, scope, causes, effects and possible remedies for poverty as a social, moral, political and policy, economic, legal, psychological, religious, and biological problem. The course focuses on domestic poverty but also considers poverty as a global problem.

Fall 2014:

POV 101A: FS: Poverty and Human Capability: An Interdisciplinary Introduction (3). First-Year seminar.

Poverty and Human Capability: An Interdisciplinary Introduction

POV 101A - Pickett, Howard Y.

An exploration of the nature, scope, causes, effects and possible remedies for poverty as a social, moral, political and policy, economic, legal, psychological, religious, and biological problem. The course focuses on domestic poverty but also considers poverty as a global problem.

Fall 2014:

POV 101A: FS: Poverty and Human Capability: An Interdisciplinary Introduction (3). First-Year seminar.

Brain and Behavior

PSYC 111A - STAFF / Murdock, Karla

An introduction to behavioral neuroscience, including the physiological bases of sensation, learning and memory, motivation, cognition, and abnormal behavior.

Fall 2015:

PSYC 111A: FS: Brain and Behavior (3). First-Year seminar. Prerequisite: First-Year students only. Lorig

FS:TRAVEL,MYTHIC&MODERN

REL 180 - Marks, Richard G.

FS:DEATH & DYING

REL 181 - Marks, Richard G.

FS:W&L HISTORICAL ARCHAEOLOGY

SOAN 181 - Gaylord, Donald A.

FS:PLAYS OF SCUM & VILLAINY

THTR 180 - Levy, Jemma A.


Spring 2015

See complete information about these courses in the course offerings database. For more information about a specific course, including course type, schedule and location, click on its title.

FS: First-Year Seminar

BUS 180 - Straughan, Robert D. (Rob) / Oliver, Elizabeth G.

Spring 2015 topic:

BUS 180: First-Year Seminar: International Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability (4).  Prerequisite: FY standing and instructor consent. This course travels to Denmark and examines the debate regarding the roles of business, government, not-for-profits, and individual members of society in balancing the economic and social consequences of commercial business activities.  This topic is especially relevant in light of a range of recent events including environmental catastrophes, the global economic crisis, and corporate scandals.  Students look at a range of businesses and industries, both in the US and Denmark, to compare and contrast what firms are (and are not) doing to simultaneously maximize both traditional business outcomes and social impact.  While in Denmark  considered to be one of the most progressive countries in terms of sustainable business, students will visit several firms for first-hand conversations with managers about the challenges of leading sustainable businesses. Tentative visits include a pharmaceutical firm, health care equipment firm, beverage firm, and professional services firm. Additional cultural trips will be included as well.  Oliver and Straughan.

Science of Cooking

CHEM 155 - France, Marcia B.

The course will build upon the foundation developed in CHEM 154.  Lectures will focus on the biological structures of more complex food organisms such as meat, fruits, vegetables, and eggs, as well as the chemical reactivity involved in cooking and spoilage.  Lectures will also include more in-depth discussions of these chemical processes.  Instruction at an Italian cooking school and visits to local food production facilities will supplement the classroom work.  The course will take place on location in Siena, Italy for four weeks. CHEM 154 must be completed with a grade of S in order to fulfill FDR SL credit with CHEM 155.

FS: First-year Seminar

PHYS 180 - Mazilu, Irina

Spring 2015 topic:

PHYS 180: FS: Introduction to Nanoscience (4). First-year Seminar. Prerequisite: First-year class standing. An interdisciplinary introduction to the emerging field of nanoscience. The course covers a broad range of topics: fundamentals of nanoscience, self-assembled nanostructures with applications to nanomedicine, graphene, carbon nanotubes, quantum dots. Students discuss current and future nanotechnology applications in engineering, physics, chemistry, biology, and materials science, and gain experience in scientific writing, literature surveys, and improve their presentation skills. This course Includes traditional lectures as well as seminar-type workshops and "hands-on" lab projects using the scanning electron microscope and the thin-film lab on campus. (SL) I. Mazilu. Spring 2015 and alternate years


Winter 2015

See complete information about these courses in the course offerings database. For more information about a specific course, including course type, schedule and location, click on its title.

Introduction to the Science of Cooking, with Laboratory

CHEM 154 - France, Marcia B.

Graded Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory. This course serves as the foundation for CHEM 155, providing an introduction to the structure of molecules as well as their inter- and intramolecular interactions, with an emphasis on those species of importance to food and cooking. Chemical reactivity as it relates to cooking, food preservation, and spoilage is also discussed as are methods of heat transfer. Each meeting consists of a one-hour lecture and a three-hour laboratory. The lecture is devoted to gaining a thorough working knowledge of the basic concepts of structure and bonding, particularly as these relate to the important food molecules. Chemical reactivity and methods of cooking are also discussed. The laboratory consists of demonstrating chemical principles using food- and cooking-related experiments. Students who receive an Unsatisfactory grade may not continue to CHEM 155, but they remain liable for their committed course costs. Laboratory course with fee.