Summary: November 19, 2003
Media Contact: Jan Jennings (858) 822-1684, firstname.lastname@example.org
SEMINAR PROGRAM OFFERS BROAD RANGE OF SUBJECTS,
SMALL CLASS INTIMACY, INTERACTION FOR UCSD FRESHMEN
From studying the physics of surfing to how to take risks and from theatre and dance
performance to computers that work like brains, freshman at the University of California, San
Diego are taking Freshman Seminars: small classes of no more than 20 students taught by
professors, MacArthur genius award-winners, deans, and associate vice chancellors.
These seminars are designed to excite student interest, get them involved and talking, and
introduce them to the interactive and inquisitive, intimate, but not intimidating, environment of
academia that awaits them as they progress.
Forty-three freshman seminars are offered this fall quarter. Each meets for eight to 10
hours. Students receive one unit of credit and rather than a letter grade, either Pass or Not Pass.
"Students are under no compulsion to take a seminar," says Mark Appelbaum, associate
vice chancellor, undergraduate education, and one of the initiators of the seminars. "It doesn't fit
any requirement. I want it that way because I want the students to think of this as THEIR course,
something they are doing because it is just a neat idea. It has nothing to do with their major. It is
not even a general elective. It is not doing anything except the one incredibly important thing
appealing to their intellectual curiosity."
The seminars are for freshmen only because most freshman classes are large, even