Information for Ithaca Seminar Faculty


The Ithaca Seminar Program welcomes faculty from all areas of the College to teach a unique seminar experience that blends small-class instruction on a topic of your choosing with a special commitment to welcoming each first-year cohort into the world of ideas and opportunities that is higher education, in general, and Ithaca College, in particular.

With an emphasis on cultivating the transformative potential of a college education, and smoothing the transition from high school to college, the unique impact of this first-semester experience fits the more general model of a 'first-year seminar,' a focused educational experience that constitutes a 'high-impact educational practice' (as described by the AACU).

Please look at the Program Goals and Outcomes for more information on the overall aims of the Ithaca Seminar program.

The Starting Point of a General Educational Experience

The Ithaca Seminar is typically a student's first experience of the Integrative Core Curriculum (ICC). Faculty are encouraged to build into their Seminars some discussion of the purpose and value of a core curriculum or general educational experience as well as some of the specifics of navigating the ICC.

The Aims of a Liberal Education

The Ithaca Seminars are 'Liberal Arts' (LA) designated courses, in the specific terms of Ithaca College course attributes, and are rooted in the broader principles, philosophy, and pedagogy of a liberal education. Precise definitions of these terms can vary, but as a useful starting point the Ithaca Seminar Program often refers to the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AACU) definition of a liberal education:

  • 'An approach to college learning that empowers individuals and prepares them to deal with complexity, diversity, and change. This approach emphasizes broad knowledge of the wider world (e.g., science, culture, and society) as well as in-depth achievement in a specific field of interest. It helps students develop a sense of social responsibility; strong intellectual and practical skills that span all major fields of study, such as communication, analytical, and problem-solving skills; and the demonstrated ability to apply knowledge and skills in real-world settings.' (AACU)

An Academic Welcome to the World of Ideas

The starting point for an Ithaca Seminar is rigorous academic content delivered in a small-class setting to students from every corner of the College. Topics vary widely and a review of other Seminars will give an overview of the diversity of offerings and the distinguished faculty who teach them. As each Seminar will contain a mix of students, spanning Schools and majors, courses are typically interdisciplinary in nature, rooted in ideas that expand beyond any one discipline and resonate beyond and between specific disciplines.

Transition to College and its Unique Opportunities

Taught in the very first semester of a student's experience of college life, each Ithaca Seminar places its topical content within the broader context of a student's transition to college, with the aim of supporting each student in fulfilling their own potential and that of a college education. A whole range of talks, workshops, and other collaborative events are scheduled in the fall semester. Transition to college topics are wide-ranging, but general areas of illustrative priority or program emphasis include the following:

  • Introduction to resources concerning health and well-being;
  • Introduction to resources concerning academic success (time management, note and test taking, etc.);
  • Academic integrity and conducting research;
  • Community building – on campus, off campus, and with Ithaca Seminar peers;
  • Inclusion and diversity at Ithaca College;
  • The Integrative Core Curriculum (ICC) and Taskstream.

In some cases, Ithaca Seminar faculty are asked to be the academic advisor for a small number of 'Exploratory' students, who are first-year students who have yet to choose a major.

Practical Aspects of Teaching an Ithaca Seminar

Ithaca Seminars are 4-credit courses and meet for a total of 200 minutes (4 x 50 minutes) per week.

Each Ithaca Seminar will typically meet in one of the following banded times, equivalent to 3 credits, to deliver its topical academic content:

  • MWF 9:00am-9:50am
  • MWF 11:00am-11:50am
  • MWF 3:00pm-3:50pm
  • TR 8:00am-9:15am
  • TR 1:10pm-2:25pm
  • TR 4:00pm-5:15pm

Each Seminar will also meet for a 'noon hour' (sometimes called a 'common hour'), equivalent to 1 credit, to provide the opportunity to explore the transition to college in greater detail, often in collaboration with other Seminars in program-wide events:

  • M 12:00noon-12:50pm
  • W 12:00noon-12:50pm
  • F 12:00noon-12:50pm

Faculty development opportunities are organized and scheduled throughout the year:

  • In February of each year, we partner with the Center for Faculty Excellence (CFE) to hold workshops for faculty on 'Proposing an Ithaca Seminar: The Philosophy and Pedagogy of a First-Year Seminar.'
  • In May of each year, all faculty meet for an end of year retreat to reflect on the prior fall program of Ithaca Seminars and to plan for the upcoming fall.
  • Additional meetings and events are held throughout the year for Ithaca Seminar faculty to meet and discuss the planning and development of their own Ithaca Seminars and the Program as a whole.

Grant Awards and Compensation

To foster the development of the outstanding courses that form the heart of this College-wide program, faculty scheduled to teach an Ithaca Seminar for the first time will receive a summer grant award of $3,300. The expectation is that a faculty member will seek to teach a Seminar at least three times over five years, notwithstanding contractual and other professional obligations that might prevent this. After you have taught in the Ithaca Seminar program for three semesters, you are re-eligible to apply for a New/Revised Ithaca Seminar Course Grant of $3,300.

Ithaca Seminars are typically taught within a faculty member's regular load. If, however, teaching the 4-credit Seminar will put you at an 'overload,' the Ithaca Seminar Program will generally meet this additional compensation.

Call for Faculty and the Course Proposal Process

All faculty are invited to teach an Ithaca Seminar and are asked to submit an initial expression of interest: Intent to Teach an Ithaca Seminar (for fall 2019).

Beyond this initial expression of interest:

  • If you have recently taught an Ithaca Seminar (any time from fall 2014 onward), and your course remains largely unchanged, no further action is necessary and the Ithaca Seminar Coordinator will work closely with you on scheduling, etc.
  • If you have taught an Ithaca Seminar but only prior to 2014, you are asked to submit an Ithaca Seminar New Course Proposal (for fall 2019) indicating how you will revise your course to address the current Student Learning Outcomes for the Ithaca Seminar program as a whole. Your proposal will be reviewed by the Ithaca Seminar Steering Committee in the spring.
  • If you are teaching an Ithaca Seminar for the very first time, you are asked to submit an Ithaca Seminar New Course Proposal (for fall 2019). Your proposal will be reviewed by the Ithaca Seminar Steering Committee in the spring.
  • Additionally, at any time, if you would like to add a 'Diversity' (DV) or 'Quantitative Literacy' (QL) designation to your Ithaca Seminar you are asked to submit the relevant form to the Committee for College-wide Requirements (CCR) for approval.

Contact and Further Details

For questions concerning the Ithaca Seminar Program, please contact its Coordinator Andrew Utterson.

Key Deadlines for Teaching an Ithaca Seminar (for Fall 2019)