IDS 108 Section : FIRST YEAR SEMINAR I Prof. Eric Metchik
978)-542-6460; MH 333

Purpose of the seminar: This course introduces the student to all the major resources at Salem State College which are designed to maximize scholastic and interpersonal success. At the same time, it is an organized orientation to college life in the context of a small group of peers. We will exchange ideas and experiences which help to avoid pitfalls, deal with new challenges and grow both personally and professionally. The seminar is part of a yearlong sequence, the first half of which focuses on specific topics relating to a variety of college survival skills. The second semester is more future-oriented: charting ones course for the remaining college years and beyond. This includes ways to formulate realistic, attainable personal and professional goals, as well as the steps to take toward achieving them.  

Required text and related materials: Gardner, J.N. and Jewler, A.J. (2000) Your College
Wadsworth Publishing Company, Belmont, CA.;

An academic planner, which includes a calendar and appointment book with which to keep track of all your commitments, including class meetings and assignments, appointments with faculty and other students, and college activities, concerts and club meetings. A palm pilot machine is a perfectly acceptable substitute here, especially for those of us with less than perfect penmanship!

A three-ring binder to keep all notes and other seminar-related materials;

Salem State College Undergraduate Catalogue: 2000-2004. You should have received one of these at Orientation but can purchase another at the bookstore if you should need it;

Undergraduate master schedule for use in planning courses for the spring term. The schedule for the spring will be released during November and extra copies can be found at the Registrar's Office on the main campus.


Other Seminar Requirements:

1. Class attendance: All students must come to class regularly and be on time. This is especially important since our seminar meets only once per week and each new meeting builds and expands upon all the previous sessions. You will be at a loss if even one class is missed. In addition, the classes are sometimes only loosely related to the assigned reading for a particular session. Material covered in all sessions may be tested on the final examination. If you miss more than one class meeting during the semester without a valid medical or other acceptable excuse, this will affect the "participation" component of the final course grade. You will also be required to meet individually with me several times during the semester to discuss your progress in the seminar and any other interests or concerns you might have.


2. Class participation and related assignments: This seminar raises many issues that naturally provoke discussion. I have designed the seminar to be highly interactive and you are therefore encouraged to give your opinions and ask questions at any point---please do not feel you have to wait until the end of the session. Be sure to do all the assigned readings and writing assignments before each class since this is the only way to stay "on top" of the material. Writing assignments will include weekly entries into a "team journal" to be kept on file at the reserve desk in the library. We will discuss this further at the first class meeting. Your active participation in class will be evaluated as part of the final course grade.


3. Test: There will be a take-home final examination in essay format which will cover all the material discussed during the semester. All students are expected to take it when scheduled and return it on time. Unless extreme circumstances (supported by a letter or other appropriate documentation) force a student to fail to comply with this requirement, all those who miss it will receive a "0" grade for this component of the course. Even under extreme circumstances, you must take the test within 48 hours of the original test date.


4. Semester project: All students are required to complete specific exercises as well as one larger project related to the course content. A separate handout will be distributed that describes the semester project in greater detail.


5. Field trip Requirement and Extra Credit Option: There are numerous events scheduled on campus during this semester which are relevant to the topics discussed in this course. We will attend at least one of them as a group (required), whereas up to three others may be attended for extra credit. The extra credit is earned by writing a short (2-3 page) summary of the event, including your evaluation of its success (or lack thereof) and probable short and long-term impact on the Salem State College community. A listing of events will be provided separately.

6. Final grade breakdown:

Semester writing assignments 25%
Final examination 25%
Semester project 40%
Class participation 10%

Academic Dishonesty: Any form of academic dishonesty is regarded as a very serious violation of the College regulations. This includes plagiarism as well as actual acts of cheating or other types of fraudulent behavior. Any student suspected of such activity will be subject to the full set of procedures outlined on p. 284 of the 2000-2002 College catalog.

Handicapped Students: Students who are handicapped should notify the professor at the beginning of the semester if any modifications in the course requirements are necessary.


Reading Assignment*
Introduction- Orientation to College Success Strategies
Using the Library as a Key Resource
The Importance of Finely Honed Writing Skills
Stress Reduction Techniques
The Relationship between Learning Style and
College Success
Success in the Classroom
83-98; 175-177
Homework Assignments and Time Management Skills
91; 50-66; 179; 182 (box)

*All reading assignments, unless otherwise indicated, are from Your College Experience, by Gardener and Jeweler. Other required reading assignments will be distributed as separate handouts or put on reserve in the library. Other required assignments, including writing assignments, will be given on separate handouts.