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The Library and First-Year Seminars

First Year Seminar & Information Literacy

First Year Seminar Goals

The library participates in the First Year Seminar (FYS) experience by assisting faculty members with integrating the college’s information literacy (IL) goals into their courses, per the First Year Seminar resolution as shown below.

Each FYS has a liaison librarian assigned to it. The liaison's role is to work closely with the faculty member to incorporate IL into the seminar. The liaison librarian can provide examples of effective research assignments, teach IL sessions tailored to the course’s content, help to grade IL assignments, consult with students outside of class time in small groups or one-on-one, and obtain library materials to support the course.

Faculty should also refer to the First Year Seminar Information Literacy Scaffold, which is designed to help you smoothly and seamlessly incorporate lessons about library research and services throughout your couse.

Although the curriculum of the FYS is not prescribed, the librarians work to achieve a baseline of IL proficiency with each seminar and can achieve first-year IL goals with in various ways. Throughout the semester, first-year students should complete course-integrated assignments that require them to:

  • Seek information on a topic relevant to the seminar by
    • Retrieving known sources using a citation.
    • Selecting databases or other information resources that are likely to contain information relevant to the topic of study.
    • Searching for and identifying materials relevant to a topic.
    • Acquiring full-text copies of materials.
  • Evaluate selected information sources by
    • Discerning the differences among source types.
    • Analyzing sources to identify arguments or theses and supporting evidence.
  • Integrate new knowledge into a project by
    • Explaining how a source adds knowledge to one’s base.
    • Explaining how one source converses with other sources.
  • Revise work to emphasize the iterative nature of research by
    • Editing/improving a research assignment based on feedback.
    • Developing a research question into a thesis statement after gaining knowledge from the research process.
    • Asking for help from librarians when necessary.
  • Abide by the college’s expectations in regard to academic honesty and citation in order to use information ethically and responsibly by
    • Completing the college’s required, library-developed Academic Integrity Tutorial.
    • Acknowledging borrowed language or ideas in the body of a research project.
    • Writing citations correctly formatted in the style required by the professor or appropriate to a discipline.

Faculty Resolution Regarding First-Year Seminars

Resolved, that the faculty requires the following of all seminars:

  • First-year seminars will emphasize skill development in the areas of critical analysis, writing, and information literacy.
  • As the First-Year Seminar is the initial tier of the college’s writing program, students are expected to learn to a) create a thesis statement, b) organize a logical argument, c) use clear and concise language; and d) understand audience. All seminars will include multiple writing assignments and an essay assigned near the end of term demonstrating:
    • (a)- (d) above. (An extended research paper for the seminar is not recommended. The skills involved in an in-depth research paper are best addressed elsewhere in the curriculum, particularly in fields of concentration.)
    • All seminars will include at least one assignment that requires students to a) seek and evaluate information on a topic relevant to the seminar, and b) integrate that new knowledge into a project that allows students the opportunity to engage in scholarly conversation appropriate to the first-year level.
    • Revision is essential to developing the skills of critical analysis, writing, and information literacy. For this reason, all seminars will teach the research and writing process so as to provide opportunities for revision. Revision is a habit of mind in which one “looks again” at one’s intellectual product to determine if something should be added, deleted, reconceived, or restructured. Just as revision is recursive within the writing process, it is also recursive within the research process. Ideally, the research and writing processes should be integrated so that revision can be reinforced as an important habit of mind.
  • First year seminar projects emphasize the college’s expectations in regard to academic honesty and citation. These concepts are introduced when students take the college’s required Academic Integrity Tutorial early in the fall semester.