First-Year Seminars constitute the gateway to the K-Plan and to college life for entering students, while also serving as the foundation of the Shared Passages Program. Offered in fall quarter, First-Year Seminars are designed to orient students to college-level learning, with particular emphasis on critical thinking, writing, and speaking. In keeping with Kalamazoo College’s emphasis on intercultural education, they aim to engage students in the study of significant social and historical differences. They integrate collaborative and group work, effective research strategies and discussions, all promoting active, engaged learning. They work to accustom students to modes of academic behavior likely to promote success in college, including class participation, productive approaches to assignments, visits to faculty members’ offices, and awareness of support structures for K students.
First-Year Seminars are linked to academic advising, the First-Year Experience program, Upjohn Library, and the Writing Center. They create connections with the components of the K-Plan: depth and breadth in the liberal arts; learning through experience; international and intercultural engagement; and independent scholarship.