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The University offers thousands of fascinating courses. With all of the choices, it can be hard to choose--especially when registering for your first semester. Fortunately, you will have the guidance of an excellent academic advisor every step of the way. Here's one tip from me: You shouldn't miss out on is a freshman seminar!

Freshman seminars are unique courses that are taught by some of our most distinguished faculty members. From Nobel Prize winners to award-winning authors, our faculty really enjoy the opportunity to be able to work with new students in a close-knit classroom environment. Freshman seminars provide students with an opportunity to get connected with a professor and their classmates while studying a interesting, interdisciplinary subject. With over a 100 seminars taught each year, freshman seminars cover a vast array of topics. And, over half the courses are taught by CLA faculty. Here are just a handful of examples:

Humanities 1905: Utopias and Anti-Utopias
This seminar explores a variety of visions of an ideal society (utopia) and its opposite (anti-utopia) in the writings of philosophers, novelists, psychologists, and social and cultural critics through the ages, from Plato to Orwell, to feminist perspectives. Of central concern in this seminar is the degree of actual or potential correspondence of these visions to the real world of individual and social existence.

Music 1905: Bob Dylan
This seminar is an examination of the contribution of Bob Dylan, one of the world's greatest artists, mostly to music, but also to literature, film, and the visual arts.

English 1910W: Our Monsters, Ourselves
We all grow up with "monsters". They can be campy and kitsch, or objects of true fear and loathing. But what is monstrosity? What do "our" monsters reveal about us, as individuals and as a culture? How do they embody our conflicts, ambivalence and denial about our desires and our identity?

Psychology 1905: What is the Human Mind?
One of the most intriguing aspects of the universe is that you can think, that minds operate as entities apparently crucially tied to physical brains but are also importantly different. In this seminar, students examine conceptions of the human mind from psychological, philosophical, and neuroscientific perspectives.

Psychology 1905: The Cultural Psychology of Storytelling
In this seminar, students explore the form and content of the stories that people tell about their lives, and how these culturally-grounded stories are indicative of the psychologies of the individuals, groups, and societies who produce them.

For more information about  freshman seminars take a look at our Orientation and First Year Services website!

Danielle Williams.jpg

Hello! My name is Danielle Williams, and I am an admissions counselor for the College of Education and Human Development (CEHD) at the University of Minnesota- Twin Cities.

I was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. During my junior and senior year of high school, I began considering the University of Minnesota as a college option. The U of M stood out to me because of its gorgeous campus (in a metropolitan area like I was used to at home) and reciprocity agreement with Wisconsin, which meant I would qualify for resident tuition.

I enrolled at the University as an accounting major. As time passed, however, I found the College of Education and Human Development (CEHD) and their Human Resource Development (HRD) program was the perfect fit for me.

After graduation, I decided to stay in Minneapolis and begin my career search here. After two years of employment with Wells Fargo, I accepted my postion as an admissions counselor and returned to campus to work in the Office of Admissions. I love that I get to work closely with students and their families as they explore my alma mater.

I'm so excited to share my U of M experiences with you, and to showcase what life is like on our campus. If you're interested in the College of Education and Human Development, I'd love to hear form you! You can find my contact information by clicking the "My bio" link under my name.


Each summer, College of Biological Sciences (CBS) freshman travel to the headwaters of the Mississppi River in northern Minnesota to participate in a unique pre-college experience called Nature of Life. During this 3-day retreat, CBS first-year students are able to spend time with current CBS students, faculty, and staff, while learning about their college and University at the Itasca Biological Station and Laboratories. 



                                        Photo of Nature of Life Peer Mentors, Summer 2010

I will be honest, after attending Nature of Life during my first year, I could not wait to have the opportunity to do it again. As a CBS student you can actually participate in Nature of Life throughout your college career. You can return to Itasca as a peer mentor!

As a peer mentor, students develop close friendships, build their leadership skills, teach and mentor incoming students, and connect with CBS faculty and staff. If you attend Nature of Life and have as much fun as I did, you may be interested in becoming a peer mentor. You can apply for the program during your first year on campus!

To learn more about the Nature of Life program, click here

First-year students entering the College of Education and Human Development (CEHD) participate in a unique experience to support them in successfully transitioning from high school to college and finding a home in the CEHD community. This comprehensive program is called the First-Year Experience (FYE). Components of FYE include a first-year inquiry course taken with other freshmen in the college that explores a central theme, such as "How Can One Person Make a Difference?," "Food for Thought and Action," and "The Power of the Story"  through writing, reading, discussion, and critical thinking. Read more about First-Year Inquiry courses.

In addition, students become part of a Learning Community, in which they take courses-in-common with a cohort of their fellow freshmen. Learning Communities are linked classes that enable students to create a greater understanding of their studies and enhance intellectual interaction with faculty and fellow students. These courses are designed to fulfill the University's liberal education requirements and prerequisites for majors in CEHD. Best of all, they provide an excellent opportunity for students to build strong connections with their classmates and faculty. For fall 2010, twelve Learning Communities were offered in CEHD, including "Exploring the American Dream: Fact? Fiction? Forgotten?," "Multicultural Perspectives on Family and Community," and "The Power of Shared Stories." Read more about Learning Communities.

If you are interested in hearing from current students about their First-Year Experience and advice on getting involved on campus and in the community, check out these video interviews: http://www.cehd.umn.edu/current/undergraduate/fye/default.html

Did you know the University of Minnesota has been home to a number of Nobel Prize Laureates throughout our history? These individuals include alumni and faculty that made outstanding contributions to their respective disciplines. Studying the biological sciences as an undergraduate, you will interact with many researchers and professors who are making incredible scientific discoveries. 

Two Nobel Laureates who called the University of Minnesota 'home' are Melvin Calvin and Norman Borlaug.


                 Calvin.jpg                   Borlaug.jpg

Photos courtesy the University of Minnesota

Melvin Calvin (left) graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1935, recieving a Ph.D in Chemistry. In 1961, Calvin was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for discovery is the Calvin Cyle, a intricate redox reaction that takes place in photosynthesizing plants. Born in St. Paul, Minnesota, Melvin Calvin is remember for both his amazing contributions to biology and the University of Minnesota community.

Norman Borlaug (right) was an outstanding humanitarian and agronomist. Borlaug attended the University of Minnesota for his bachelors, masters and doctoral degrees, earning a Ph.D in plant pathology and genetics. In 1970, Borlaug was awarded the Nobel Price for his contributions to the development of high-yield agriculature in third-world countries around to world.

The University of Minnesota is home to so many leaders and innovators just like Melvin Calvin and Norma Borlaug. As a student at the U of M, you can work side-by-side with and learn from these great minds!

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