About CSEM

Someone reading book

The Arts and Letters College Seminar stands as the signature course for students in the College of Arts and Letters. Usually taken in the sophomore year, it provides a singular learning experience by concentrating attention upon a particular question or theme, consisting of a great idea or a significant issue. The College Seminar has two broad goals: to expose you to interdisciplinary study and to improve your speaking skills.

Interdisciplinary Study

Stripes On Fabriano By Tanja Wilmot

Faculty will introduce you to the diversity of disciplines that characterize the College of Arts and Letters. Thus, every College Seminar is required to be interdisciplinary, meaning that the syllabus should include some component from each of the three divisions of the College: the Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences.

Faculty members select topics that emerge from their own interests and expertise, and construct syllabuses that draw from a range of works reflecting the diversity of the College. The purpose is to expose you to the varied ways in which different disciplines take up and contribute to your understanding of important questions and topics.

Learn more at Student Learning Outcomes. See Courses for class descriptions by semester.

Speaking Skills

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The second broad goal of the College Seminar is to improve students’ speaking skills. The oral-intensive character of CSEM will allow you to develop confidence in speaking and will enable you to continue developing your speaking skills in other classes throughout your college career.

Developing your oral proficiency promotes important leadership skills and intellectual habits fundamental to pursuing knowledge in any domain, including techniques of analysis, interpretation, conceptualization, and articulation.

Learn more about Oral Communication Skills and the Inclusion Statement vital for great discussion of great ideas.