CORE 100

Liberal Arts Seminar



The Liberal Arts Seminar provides an opportunity for a small group of students to meet with an instructor to explore issues of ethical, social and culture significance. The word seminar comes from the Latin word for seed-plot, a place where plants are started in order to be transplanted elsewhere. In the academic world, a seminar is a place where ideas are nurtured and where students cultivate their skills in working with texts and presenting ideas and interpretations. In this seminar, students will read widely and closely in a variety of texts to develop their critical reading and thinking skills and to examine an issue that students might choose to explore in greater depth in subsequent courses. The importance of being able to read with understanding and critical judgment cannot be underestimated. Academic success, professional competence, cultural literacy, and intellectual development depend fundamentally on flexible reading skills that can be applied to a wide range of texts. Reading with “understanding” involves several important processes: comprehending and contextualizing information; identifying meaningful patterns and conventions; identifying key ideas, claims, and assumptions; synthesizing an author’s ideas with the reader’s experiences and knowledge; and developing a comprehensive and well-informed interpretation. Reading with “critical judgment” is a similarly complex task that includes reading with a sense of objectivity, asking questions about what a text literally says and what it implies, evaluating an author’s reasoning, and assessing the degree to which a writer has achieved his or her purpose.

These courses will be introductions to college-level academic study with emphasis on critical reading and discussion. Topics will vary, but each seminar will focus on questions and issues relevant to the liberal arts. The course will emphasize the development of students’ reading and thinking skills through close textual analysis of a range of works. The seminar also seeks to enhance students’ ability to synthesize a variety of textual materials in order to express ideas, formulate positions, and construct oral and written arguments.


Sections for Fall 2008
Sections for Spring 2009
Sections for Fall 2009
Sections for Spring 2010
Sections for Fall 2010
Sections for Spring  2011
Sections for Fall 2011 
Sections for Spring 2012


For Instructors:

List of Articles, Essays, and Handouts

Master Syllabus

Liberal Arts and First-Year Seminars at Other Colleges


CART Coordinator: Laurie Sterling