May 07, 2021  
2018-2019 College of Liberal Arts (Admitted Fall 2018/Spring 2019) 
2018-2019 College of Liberal Arts (Admitted Fall 2018/Spring 2019) [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

First-Year Experience

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Departments & Programs

About the Program

The First Year Experience, comprising the College Seminar, College Writing and the Common Hour, offers first year students the necessary skills for critical thinking, inquiry and writing, and facilitates their transition to college life as engaged members of the Drew student community.

College Seminar

Taken by all entering students in their first semester, the College Seminar emphasizes critical inquiry, analytical and creative thinking, critical reading, intellectual engagement with faculty and peers, and writing to learn. Designed by each faculty member around a topic of his or her choice, the seminars are lively discussion classes in which students begin to acquire, to develop and to practice the skills associated with inquiry in the liberal arts. The seminars also begin to introduce students to appropriate uses of information from academic and non-academic sources. Students are co-enrolled in the College Seminar and the College Writing course and are housed in residence halls in proximity to the other members of their seminar to allow for continuation of seminar discussion and interaction beyond the classroom.

College Seminar Learning Objectives

  • Enter into and participate in a scholarly conversation both orally and in writing;
  • Comprehend, evaluate and analyze materials and texts [written, aural, visual, numeric] as well as think synthetically and creatively about them;
  • Evaluate and explain the appropriate use of different kinds of information from a variety of academic and non-academic sources.

Common Hour

Meeting one hour each week during the fall and spring of the first year, the Common Hour creates a shared experience for the entire first-year class. Throughout the Common Hour, students work with advanced undergraduate peer mentors, one of whom is assigned to each seminar group. Common Hour activities include major speakers and cultural activities, Campus Life seminars, academic planning and advising activities, career-planning seminars, and opportunities to meet regularly in small groups with the peer mentors. The Common Hour is graded on a pass/no credit basis.

Learning Goals for Common Hour

As participants in the Common Hour, students will learn to:

  • Participate actively in the life and academic culture of the university and make effective use of the all of its resources, contributing to the community and enhancing their own educational experiences.
  • Use Drew’s academic technology effectively in their academic work;
  • Identify the ways in which other students can be resources for them as students and as members of the Drew community.

College Writing

In College Writing I and II students develop and practice the advanced literacy skills necessary for a liberal arts education. They develop their critical reading, writing, and research skills, and strengthen all aspects of the writing process from invention to editing. The courses build on the sense of intellectual community developed in the College Seminar and serve as a bridge between the first-year writing sequence and the writing intensive and writing in the majors courses that follow.

Learning Goals for College Writing

Upon completion of College Writing, student will be able to:

  • Use writing as a mode of learning and as a way to share ideas and research and enter into a scholarly dialog. This includes drafting and revising papers; writing in a manner appropriate for college-level papers; reading, interpreting, and responding to a variety of ideas and texts;
  • Comprehend, evaluate and analyze resources as well as think synthetically and creatively;
  • Evaluate and explain the appropriate use of different kinds of information from a variety of academic and non-academic sources, engage with that source material, and correctly incorporate information into their own writing.


  • Associate Professor: Melissa Nicolas
  • Assistant Professors: Jennifer Holly Wells, Elizabeth Kimball

Advanced Placement (AP) Examinations

AP credit may not be applied to the major or minor in English literature, nor may it be used to fulfill the general education requirement in literature.

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Departments & Programs