• Freshman Seminar Offers Universal Appeal


The Seminar for Freshmen program has been an exciting addition to the undergraduate curriculum in the College of Arts and Sciences since its inception in 2004.  With more than forty distinct seminars on a wide array of topics, the program allows each member of the incoming class to select a course that speaks to his or her interests.  Each seminar is taught by a Suffolk faculty member who also serves as first-year adviser for the students in the class. This arrangement encourages a deeper relationship with faculty and provides a stable and accessible resource for freshmen as they adjust to campus life.

Quentin Miller, director of the Seminar for Freshmen program, has been pleased with the program’s success thus far. “The Seminar for Freshmen program is now in its fourth year, and it is flourishing thanks to enthusiastic faculty and intellectually engaged students.  To say these courses cover a wide variety of subjects is an understatement: from the cultural impact of the Beatles, to contemporary Spanish cinema, to a first-hand analysis of the ecosystems of the coast of Maine, we have a little bit of everything.  My hope is that this unique course will engage students and invite them to think about their world and their education in a new way.”
The seminars are varied and distinctive, covering topics that range from the traditional to the whimsical.  In Seeking Paradise: From Modern Fantasy (Phillip Pullman and C. S. Lewis) to the Classics, professor Jeremy Solomons leads students through modern fantasy novels, exploring their cultural and historical significance, and supplementing with texts ranging from the poetry of William Blake to the Bible.  Students also take a look at how fantasy novels are being adapted to the screen and the interactive world of video games.

 In Life Lessons From Alice Walker, professor Kathryn Jackson introduces the poetry and prose of Alice Walker, a contemporary author whose writings  – beginning in the 1960s and continuing to the present – offer rich lessons regarding gender, class, race, psychological development and change. Students contextualize these modern works within the current political climate to draw even deeper parallels.   

Professor Doris Lewis offers the chemistry-based seminar, Food: Sustainable Choice for a Healthy Planet, which takes up the political and psychological aspects of human consumption and includes field trips to local markets and group meal planning.  Students have the opportunity to plan, shop, and cook together in environmentally conscious ways.

Professor Peter Burn offers a seminar titled, The Natural History of Plum Island, which includes a week-long trip to Suffolk University's Friedman Field Station in Edmunds, Maine.  This seminar offers a hands-on look at the marine life on the coast of Maine, and allows students to expand their knowledge outside of the classroom by working with professionals in the field.

“The freshman seminar was a great experience for me,” says Matthew Chamberlin, a rising sophomore majoring in American Politics and Policy. “We covered some really interesting topics and got deeper than I thought we would.  It’s really great that as freshmen we are able to take classes with unique subject matter and not just the basic 101 classes. I feel like Suffolk is giving me a really solid foundation for the rest of my time here.” 



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