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Fall 2010 Scribner Seminars

Posted: 12/03/2010

Every first-year student at Skidmore takes a class in the fall that is at once the same, yet distinctly different. The First-Year Scribner Seminars are considered the centerpiece of the freshman experience and for the approximately 700 students in the Class of 2014, about the only thing they share is the “Scribner Seminar” name.

There were 48 Scribner Seminars offered this fall (46 in Saratoga Springs and two in London). The classes are taught in virtually every discipline by faculty who design the courses to highlight their own intellectual curiosities and passions.

That’s where the similarities end. This fall’s Scribner Seminars covered an amazing range, as demonstrated by the classes featured in this Portfolio: “Dangerous Earth: Climatologic and Geologic Disasters,” taught by Amy Frappier, Geosciences; “American Memories,” taught by Dan Nathan, American Studies; “Human Colonization of Space,” taught by Mary Odekon, Physics; “Leather, Paper, Lead: Artists’ Books, History, and Process,” taught by Kate Leavitt; and “The Music Between Us,” taught by Gordon Thompson.

Some seminars took field trips: to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art in New York City; to Mystic Seaport in Connecticut; to Adirondack Extreme in Bolton Landing, N.Y.; to the Target Warehouse in Wilton and Newberry knitwear factory in Schenectady.  Four sections of Human Dilemmas engaged in service-learning projects during the semester; Human Dilemmas sections also hosted a lecture by noted environmentalist, author, and educator Bill McKibben.  

Thompson’s students in “The Music Between Us” helped organize the 10th annual “Beatlemore Skidmania,” Skidmore’s wildly popular fall concert that celebrates the Fab Four. Their efforts led to two sell-out shows in Zankel Music Center and a substantial contribution to the Skidmore Cares community outreach program.

Safe to say that despite numerous differences, all Scribner Seminars shared the following common goals: they help new students to explore ideas, challenge assumptions, and gain first-hand experience of faculty expectations.

Photos taken by Nicholas Liu-Sontag'11, Hannah Sherman'12 and Madeline Sullivan'11