First Year Seminar Program: Questions and Answers about the Rowan Seminar for Faculty

First Year Seminar Program: Questions and Answers about the Rowan Seminar for Faculty

Rowan Seminar FAQs for Faculty

This page is to answer questions for faculty members who are interested in the First-Year Seminar program. Students will be interested in the student FAQ's. For even more faculty resources, click here!


Q: What is the Rowan Seminar?

A: The Rowan Seminar course provides academic support for the transition to college-level work embedded in an already existing course taken by first-year students (either general education or major-specific). Its purpose is to introduce new college students to the college-level academic expectations they will encounter during their tenure at Rowan. Therefore, it is required for all new first-year students. The seminar is based on the notion that "learning in context" is the most effective way to have students internalize our expectations for their academic performance. In particular, the seminar emphasizes the following goals:

  • Strengthen writing and critical thinking skills through their application to a specific course content
  • Nurture library research skills within a course context
  • Reinforce the value of cooperative learning
  • Strengthen the academic skills needed for college


Q: How are the Rowan Seminar goals met?

A: The above seminar goals are met by incorporating them into the curricular substance of the course. Those currently teaching the seminar have found that they were already meeting many of these goals through various pedagogical strategies they already employ, particularly with respect to critical thinking and writing, library use and cooperative learning. Faculty are asked to add very little new material to their courses. Our emphasis is on raising the student's appreciation for these new academic expectations. We are NOT trying to make them skilled writers and critical thinkers in one semester. We are, however, attempting to introduce them to the notion that they will be required to develop writing and critical thinking skills throughout their academic life at Rowan.


Q: Why are Rowan Seminar sections capped at twenty students?

A: What truly makes these seminars successful is the individual attention afforded by the small class size and the resulting relationship that is built between the instructor and the students. With a small enrollment limited to first-year students in each seminar, we hope that the students will develop an affinity for Rowan and for the academic life, while building core academic skills. When students believe they have a caring, competent and knowledgeable instructor, the seminar is ALWAYS a success. This is an opportunity for a very rewarding teaching experience.


Q: What courses may be offered as a Rowan Seminar and who is eligible to teach a section of the seminar?

A: Rowan Seminar instructors are typically full-time faculty, tenured or probationary. Any course taken by first-year students (general education or major-specific) may be offered as a seminar. However, first consideration is given to courses that traditionally enroll large numbers of first-year students. The credit hour value of the course is not altered when a section is selected as a seminar. Courses offered as Rowan Seminars have included courses from all Colleges and most departments on campus. Courses which are interdisciplinary or part of the honors concentration are also eligible. Some sections are open to students from a variety of majors or those students who are in the Exploratory Studies Program, but most sections are targeted to students in specific majors.


Q: What are the administrative aspects of teaching a seminar?

A: Rowan Seminars are taught in-load by simply designating a section of an appropriate course as a seminar. The course is closed at zero enrollment during pre-registration to insure that only first-year students are enrolled. If the course does not enroll a sufficient number of students during pre-registration, then the course is opened as a regular section with its normal enrollment at schedule adjustment, in-person and late registrations. Your chairperson will be consulted about any change of course designation. Students are not given a separate grade for the seminar aspect. Meeting this requirement is handled the same way as meeting the requirement of courses designated "writing intensive" or "multicultural/global." Some training is required for all new seminar instructors. Training sessions are scheduled during the summer (for Fall) and during semester break (for Spring). The program is served by the Office of Academic Transition & Support Programs in the Division of Student Affairs.


Q: How can I get more information?

A: Office of Academic Transition & Support Programs is staffed by Dr. Sean Hendricks, Director (; x5655) and Dr. Rory McElwee, Vice President for Enrollment and Student Success (; x5187). Please contact them with any questions about the program or for assistance offering or enrolling students into a Rowan Seminar section.