Franklin & Marshall College Franklin & Marshall College

Goals for First Year Seminars

A. The development of critical reading skills:

  • The capacity to engage a text directly, to extract the author's argument, to identify underlying assumptions and dominant perspective, to search for supporting evidence, and to posit and evaluate alternative points of view.

B. The development of critical writing skills:

  • The capacity to set out a thesis clearly and forcefully: to support that thesis by the systematic presentation of evidence and the careful development of an argument. Central to both critical reading and writing skills is the ability to think with clarity, precision, and logical rigor.

C. The development of skills and confidence in oral presentation:

  • The capacity to express one's ideas in a coherent and logical manner.

D. The development of an awareness of the learning resources available on campus.


Goals and Guidelines for Writing-Intensive Courses

A. The following are the goals for these courses, designated as writing-intensive, which satisfy the "transitional stage of the college writing requirement":

    1. To provide beginning students with ample opportunity to write academic prose and benefit from the frequent and attentive comments of their professor.

    2. To encourage students to approach writing as a process: planning, drafting, revising, editing.

    3. To improve students' ability to write at a high level of intellectual complexity


B. Suggested guidelines for attaining these goals are as follows:

    1. Quantity. The course should include a robust amount of writing, and a significant percentage of the final grade should rest on written assignments.

    2. Sequencing. Over the semester, professors should devise written assignments in an increasing order of complexity, e.g. from report and summary to analysis and argument.

    3. Conference. Professors should schedule some office time to work with students specifically on their writing.

    4. Reading. Some assignments on the syllabus should be chosen for their stylistic aspects, and class attention should at all times be directed to the readings as rhetorical models.

    5. Guided revision. Students should be able to revise and re-submit some portion of their written work.

    6. Resources. The professor should encourage students to seek the help of writing tutors. He or she might participate in the Faculty Development Writing Symposia.