Freshman Studies
Winter 2001
Course Description

Instructor: Judith Holland Sarnecki
 411 Main Hall
 X6687 or 725-1430 (at home)
 Office Hours: 10-11 a.m. MW, 1-3 p.m. T, and by appointment

Required Reading: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, The Beak of the Finch by Jonathan Weiner, The Structure of Scientific Revolution by Thomas Kuhn, A Room of Oneís Own by Virginia Woolf, and Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe.

    Since all of you have experienced one term of Freshman Studies, you already know what the course is like.  This term we will again be focusing on the following skills:

close reading
 careful writing
 thought-provoking discussion

Our goal is to sharpen your analytical thinking skills and your ability to formulate, refine, and write cogent arguments that have the power to influence an informed reader.

    I view this course as intensive for both student and teacher.  Since many of the works (particularly the scientific ones) are new to me as well, we will be stretching our wingsómetaphorically speakingótogether.  What I hope to encourage is careful reading that will lead to in-class discussions that remain close to the text, yet  reach beyond it.  I will ask you to formulate questions, lead discussion, and debate each otherís arguments.  For this class to succeed, we need to stay focused and on top of our readings.  To this end, I will give a daily class participation grade of 0-5 (zero only if you are absent from class) that will play an important part in your final grade.  You will also receive extra points for preparing discussion questions, leading discussion, and participating in class debates.

     In addition to class participation, you will be graded on your written work.  Particularly important are the three essays you will be asked to write:
Essay 1:  Formulate an interesting question that your 3-5 page paper will attempt to answer.  Text: Frankenstein.
Discuss first draft with me and then revise your paper.  (Your grade will be a combination of the two scores.)

Essay 2:  Compare and contrast one element or question that arises in two works under discussion in a 3-5 page paper.  Texts: Frankenstein and The Beak of the Finch, or The Beak of the Finch and The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.

Essay 3:  Take a short quotation from a critical article and discuss it thoroughly in a 5-7 page paper, either refuting or upholding the criticís opinion with arguments of your own that you support with short quotations from the text.  Texts: A Room of Oneís Own or Things Fall Apart.

    In order to have some practice writing, I will ask you to do a short assignment (1-2 pages) for each lecture, due at the beginning of the class period immediately following the lecture.  All written work should be typed and double-spaced with standard margins, adhering to MLA guidelines as they are expressed in the MLA Style Manual (available in the library).

    There will also be a mid-term and final examination that should not prove overly difficult if you have kept up with the readings, participated regularly in class discussions, and handed in assignments on time.  You already know that FS is intensive; if you fall too far behind, it becomes nearly impossible to catch up.  Remember that your participation will help make or break the class.  I promise to work my hardest to help you by returning papers and tests as rapidly as possible, giving you (hopefully) helpful suggestions.  If you have questions or difficulties, I also want you to feel free to come to my office during office hours or at a time that we can arrange together.

    Here is the grading system that I will use:

         Class participation 110 points

         Lecture "notes"  60 points
         (15 points each)

         Essays (30, 30, 50) 110 points

         Tests (30, 50)  80 points

        Total points possible 360

        (A=90-100%, B=80-89%, C=70-79%, D=60-69%, F=59% or below)

     Freshman Studies should be one of the most exciting and challenging courses we offer.  Letís "make it so."