For Faculty

Information for Faculty

Information for Faculty

A Freshman Seminar is a small-group, discussion-based course open to first-years only. It is designed to intensify the intellectual experience of the first College year by allowing students to work closely with one faculty member on a topic of mutual interest. The seminar format frees both instructors and students from the usual constraints of a lecture course, such as exams and letter grades.

 

 

FAQs

Are there waiting lists for seminars?

No. All seminars with openings are posted on our website after the algorithm is run, and we encourage freshmen to email you directly for placement in your seminar. You may accept or decline additional students at your discretion until the Course Registration Deadline.

Do freshman seminars meet during Reading Period?

Classes may not be held during Reading Period unless the make-up class is due to weather or other emergencies. But Sections and review sessions may take place during Reading Period as long as there is no new material presented.

Do freshmen evaluate my seminar?

We invite all instructors to participate in FAS Course Evaluations regardless of class size, including seminars with enrollments of five or fewer students.

How do I grade my seminar? When is my grade sheet due?

A freshman seminar is always graded SAT/UNS only. It may not be audited. The grade of Satisfactory includes letter grades from A to C-. The grade of Unsatisfactory represents work below C- and is considered a failing grade. Students who neglect the work of the seminar or who do not perform satisfactorily will be excluded from the seminar and/or denied credit. We also ask that you submit midterm grades when you receive a prompt to do so from the Registrar's Office, about six weeks into the term. The final grade sheet is always due via the online grading portal on the date specified by the FAS... Read more about How do I grade my seminar? When is my grade sheet due?

How do I propose a Freshman Seminar?

Please go to "For Faculty" > "Propose a Seminar" section in the navigation for information and submission deadlines. Committee meetings are held during the spring term to review proposals for the following academic year.

How do I reserve library books or post online course packs?

Requests for reserves should be done through the Canvas course website. Lamont Library is the undergraduate library where books for seminars may be put on reserve. Harvard College Library Research Services also provides customized library classes and/or web-based library research guides developed in collaboration with freshman seminar faculty. Please contact Sarah DeMott, Research Librarian, Harvard College Library (sarah_demott@harvard.edu or 617-496-4226) with any questions about library services for freshman seminars.

How is admission to a Freshman Seminar determined?

All freshmen may apply to as many seminars as they wish, although they may enroll in only one seminar per semester. Seminar placement is ultimately done by a matching algorithm that is run after all applications have been submitted. However, different factors influence the algorithm’s outcome: instructors can select or deny students based on their essays and other relevant information; and student rankings and preferences are also taken into consideration.

How late may I set the due date for the final assignment? May I grant a freshman an extension?

All assignments must be scheduled with due dates prior to the start of the Final Examination period. Final papers, take-home exams, projects, presentations, and other culminating course assignments may be due after the end of regular classes on or before the day of each seminar’s assigned Exam/Final Deadline Group. This date can be found in the seminar listing in the online My.Harvard course catalog.

Final projects that include individual or group presentations may be scheduled only after the fourth day of Reading Period and may extend...

Read more about How late may I set the due date for the final assignment? May I grant a freshman an extension?

May I hire a CA or a TF to assist me?

Because the instructor plays an important mentoring role in small-group instruction, a freshman seminar is not provided with additional teaching staff. However, seminars with concerns about remote teaching or significant hours of science lab or studio art may request the hire of an Undergraduate Course Assistant or a Graduate Teaching Fellow to assist with course preparation. Please contact Toni Trainor at 617-496-3993 or seminars@fas.harvard.edu for advice on your request.

May I set a prerequisite?

Some seminars, because of their specialized nature, require particular qualifications or appropriate academic background, and this fact should be specified in the course description. However, most instructors set no prerequisites other than an interest in the subject. 

May I take auditors?

No, a freshman seminar is a small, limited enrollment course that may not be audited.

What is a Freshman Seminar?

A Freshman Seminar is a small-group, discussion-based course open to freshmen only. It is designed to intensify the intellectual experience of first-year students by allowing freshmen to work closely with one faculty member on a topic of mutual interest. The seminar format frees both instructor and students from the usual constraints of a lecture course, such as exams and letter grades.

What is the FTE or compensation rate?

A Freshman Seminar is ordinarily part of the annual 1.0 FTE limit of FAS instructors. This 1.0 FTE limit does not apply to non-FAS Faculty, who receive compensation for their seminar. Please contact Toni Trainor at 617-496-3993 or seminars@fas.harvard.edu for information on compensation rate.

Who do I ask about copyright issues?

If faculty have any copyright questions in relation to their Freshman Seminar, there is a program in the library especially designed to help with those questions: the Copyright First Responders. Emily Bell, Research Librarian in Lamont Library, can be reached through emilybell@fas.harvard.edu or phone, 617-496-9988. The Copyright First Responders have received in-depth training to be able to answer exactly these kind of questions.

Who is eligible to teach a Freshman Seminar?

All Freshman Seminar instructors must hold an active Harvard University teaching appointment. Instructors in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences must hold a teaching appointment at the rank of Lecturer or above. Faculty from other Harvard schools must hold an appointment of Assistant Professor or above, including Clinical Professor. Emeriti Faculty and FAS Visiting Professors are also eligible to teach seminars. At this time, Preceptors, Post-Doctoral Fellows, Visiting Fellows, Adjunct Faculty and other research (non-teaching) appointments or supervised (non-faculty) appointments are not... Read more about Who is eligible to teach a Freshman Seminar?

Who reviews my proposal?

The Faculty of the Committee on Freshman Seminars meets throughout the spring to review all proposals. 

More Questions?


Working Remotely

Summer Hours: Monday-Thursday, 9:00AM-5:00PM
Contact us by the Email below or Zoom

Email: seminars@fas.harvard.edu
Tel: 617-495-1523