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Westminster Seminar

Seminar with Robert Hanson at Westminster College

What is the best way to help new students adjust to college life? Westminster has its own answer.

Westminster Seminar, WSM 101, is a class each new student takes. These classes are taught by Westminster faculty members, with the assistance of upperclassmen mentors, on topics of general interest that will be useful to all majors. By using active learning strategies, students become familiar with the processes, tools and systems for scholarly inquiry, which prepare them well for Westminster's rigorous academic environment. In class, students learn how to read analytically, think critically and communicate effectively. Outside the classroom, students participate in diverse activities such as field trips, service projects, concerts and lectures.

The same students and mentors also meet once a week for LST 101, The Leader Within, which introduces all first-year students to the College’s challenge of “developing leaders in a global community” by first becoming engaged, responsible members of the college learning community.

WSM 101 and LST 101 are helpful for socialization, as well. Frequent opportunities of in-class and out-of-class group-work help students develop a strong sense of community. No matter what the topic of each seminar section is, the shared purpose is to help students adjust to college academically and to develop connections among classmates, mentors, and faculty members that will last throughout a student's college career.

How Westminster Seminar Works

While enrolling, every entering freshman reviews the list of seminar topics offered and selects his or her top three choices. Students are then grouped into Seminar sections together based on common interests.

During New Student Days before classes begin, students get to meet their fellow Seminar classmates, learn the expectations and traditions of the College, and raise the curtain on their college life. For anyone nervous about making friends or beginning your coursework -- this is a great place to start.

Throughout the semester, students work closely with their Seminar faculty member who also serves as their temporary academic advisor until they declare a major.

The Seminar for Transfer Students

Transfer students do not take WSM101 and LST101. Instead, they enroll in a special Transfer Student Westminster Seminar (WSM 102) which helps them make the transition from their previous institution to Westminster. The course addresses academic and other skills needed to become a successful student at Westminster, and introduces the students to college services and offices. Transfer students are encouraged to form close connections both with each other and with the rest of the Westminster community.

Recent Westminster Seminar Topics

  • You Are What You Eat! An Exploration of Food in Nutrition and Culture
  • Media Tricks: Critical Thinking in the Real World
  • Today’s Worldwide Terrorism
  • Dinosaurs and Pop Culture: Mysteries, Myths, and Misconceptions
  • Going Crazy– Being Sane
  • What Einstein Told His Cook
  • Sources of the Flood: The Genesis of the Information Age
  • System Science: The Skeleton Key to All Disciplines
  • The Hunger Games: Questioning the Social Order
  • The Pursuit of Happiness
  • The American Jury System on Trial
  • Culture Wars: When Art, Politics, and Contemporary Society Collide
  • All Things French
  • The Study of Poverty
  • The Modern Olympics – Athens to Rio
  • Spaceship Earth: A Voyage into Sustainability
  • Women and Men in Sports in American Culture
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