Dear First-Year Student,
Welcome to Siena College and to the First Year Seminar. The Seminar is a two semester, writing intensive course required of all first-year students. The overall goal of the Seminar is to prepare you for the intellectual life of college: how to read critically, how to engage with a text, how to articulate an informed position on big questions, how to write clearly and persuasively, how to voice an opinion in a classroom conversation, how to make connections between and among the readings you are doing, the subjects you are studying, as well as between Siena and the outside world. In addition, the Seminar will introduce you to the Franciscan heritage that is unique to Siena.
You will remain with the same faculty member and classmates for both semesters. In all sections, the themes for the year are those of our Core curriculum. For the first semester, they are: Heritage and the Natural World; for the second semester, the themes are: Diversity and Social Justice. Within each theme, there are a few interdisciplinary readings common to all sections of the course. Individual faculty choose the remaining readings and an overall theme to bring coherence to their sections. The lives and stories of St. Francis and St. Clare are interwoven throughout the year. In addition, a required summer reading offers incoming first-year students a common intellectual experience. This year we have chosen Tara Westover's memoir Educated as the required summer reading.
Requirements for the summer assignment:
- Read the book slowly and thoroughly.
- Be ready to speak about the book when you come to class. Study it, mark or highlight what you think are important passages from the text and write down reactions, questions, reflections that you may have.
- During the first week of class, there will be a written assignment and/or quiz about the book. Please see the Summer Reading Discussion Questions to help you as you read.
In addition, all sections of the Seminar require that you purchase (not rent) these two books (hard copy, not ecopy):
- The Little Seagull Handbook, 3rd edition. W.W. Norton and Co.
- Graff, Gerald and Cathy Birkenstein. They Say, I Say, 4th Edition. W.W. Norton and Co., 2018.
You will be using these books for both semesters, as well as the rest of your time at Siena, so purchasing them is much less expensive than renting them. These two books are available for purchase at the Siena Bookstore for a discounted package price of $44.50. Copies of Educated are available as well. Purchases can be made at www.sienastore.com by clicking on Books>Textbooks>Fall2017>FYSM>100>ALL.
The First Year Seminar Faculty