Common Course Description and Common Procedures


Encounters: The First-Year Experience

General Studies 145, 146

A two-semester introduction to the liberal arts and the academic construction of knowledge. Organized around a variable theme, this course takes as its broad topic the examination of encounters between peoples and cultures, and the formation and transformation of dominant and competing world views. The study of primary sources, discussion, writing, and the construction of knowledge across academic fields will be emphasized. The two semesters will be taught as a single year-long course, with the first semester a prerequisite for the second. The P-D-F grade option may not be elected for this course. The theme for the 2012-2013 academic year will be "Transformations."

Guidelines for Common Procedure in The First-Year Experience

  1. Writing assignments are to be set by each instructor within the following requirements:
  • Each semester, students will complete a minimum of four analytical written assignments in which they develop evidence-supported arguments.  These assignments must total at least sixteen original pages of writing.
  • The course will also include practice in substantive revision.
  1. At the end of each semester, students will complete a final graded exercise distinct from the four minimum written assignments outlined above.
  2. Students who wish to change Encounters sections may do so only at the semester break, prior to the beginning of second semester, by making a request to the Registrar. Students are not allowed to choose which section they would like to enter. Those students who seek to change sections will be assigned to other sections by the Registrar.
  3. All assignments must be completed for a student to receive a passing grade. If a student fails to turn in a paper or to take an examination, that student must receive an F or an Incomplete for the semester.
  4. The penalties for academic dishonesty are described in the Statement on Academic Honesty and Plagiarism that all students accept as proper rules for academic behavior when they arrive on campus. These policies will be fully enforced by your Encounters professor.
  5. The grading criteria in the various sections are determined by each instructor. Some sections may place a greater emphasis upon some aspect of the students’ work (papers, oral reports, participation in discussion, examinations, etc.) in the determination of a course grade. This course has a common set of readings, but the process of evaluation is unique to each section.
  6. Attendance, itself, is necessary but not sufficient. This course seeks to enable students to develop their abilities to engage in critical and spirited discussion with one another and their professor, in ways that encourage them to be intellectually ambitious, vulnerable, and open-minded.  Students’ active participation in the conversation is thus essential.