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Monday, January 3, 2000

New Student Seminar

SALISBURY, MD--Obligatory "foundation" courses can overwhelm entering freshmen who may complete the courses without acquiring a solid foundation for future learning. Early success is so important that faculty at Salisbury State University's Fulton School of Liberal Arts devised a better idea.

"New student" seminars, offered each fall for entering freshmen and transfer students, boast limited enrollment. "Classes ideally have 15 or fewer students," said Dr. Maarten Pereboom, associate professor of history and the associate dean of Fulton School. "And they fulfill the General Education requirements for their degree."

Among students' "Gen Ed" requirements are several 100 level courses, at least one of which is designed to give students a broad overview of their future major and provide a foundation on which to build a body of knowledge about their discipline. In addition there are universally required courses, which are often taught in classrooms filled to capacity.

The faculty-to-student ratio in seminar classes enables all participants to know each other better. It also makes it more likely that the instructor will accurately assess a student's academic problems at the beginning of his/her scholastic career while there's time to correct it.

Students have "an opportunity to anchor themselves academically at SSU, and develop habits that will enable them to succeed in college and in their professional lives," said Pereboom.

Freshman-level "new student" seminars are offered by the departments of English, communications arts, history, music, philosophy, political science and sociology. A 200-level "new student" seminar is offered by the Modern Languages Department.


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