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Course Number: COR 1203.063
Call Number: 14672
Semester: Fall 2009
Office Phone: 458-4846
Meeting Time: MWF: 10:00-10:50
Cell Phone: 380-8056

Place: BB 3.03.24
Office Hours: By appointment

I.  Course Description

Freshman Seminar courses are designed to help students new to UTSA develop academic and social connections within the UTSA community.  This three hour credit course offers beginning UTSA students the opportunity to participate in a small class taught by specially-selected faculty, staff, or administrators.  The course allows students to develop a sense of community and belonging to UTSA, as well as to develop academic skills in the context of a rigorous, content-specific course. 

The Freshman Seminar is a small class of up to 25 students.  Students will be encouraged and required to get involved with university and campus life by participating in a number of activities throughout the semester.  These activities are designed to connect students with UTSA and community resources and promote positive college experiences.  While many activities will take place during Freshman Seminar class time, some will occur outside of the classroom.

You will have opportunities to develop study skills through the academic content of the course as well as participate in study skills modules and seminars.  Since this is an academic class and you will receive 3 hours of core curriculum credit for taking it, there will be an average amount of work expected of you.  Some basic requirements for all Freshman Seminars are a term paper, a group project, writing assignments, an oral presentation, and at least two comprehensive exams.  A list of required activities for students enrolled in COR 1203.063 is included in the syllabus.

This freshman seminar course will lead students on a personal exploration of their own learning styles, strengths and preferences.  Students will discover strategies in P.O.W.E.R. learning to become successful students now and transformational leaders in the future.  This interactive course will also explore ethical behavior, leadership skills, personal responsibility, and the importance of innovation in an ever-changing world.  Students will strengthen their academic skills, learn about resources and opportunities, engage in critical thinking and build lasting relationships through personalized stories, group and individual projects, films, readings and the arts.  Students will keep a journal as a way to reflect on their own personal exploration. 

II. Course Objectives

By the end of the semester, students will have received instruction and practice that should enable them to:

(1) demonstrate critical thinking and problem-solving skills essential for academic success;

(2) identify and explain the connections and impact of specific ideas and skills gained in the Freshman Seminar on leadership styles, individual strengths and decision-making;

(3) describe the dynamics of families, social groups, culture, organizations, communities and the broader society and the ways these dynamics can impact leadership, individual strengths and decision-making;

(4) apply study, research, computer, writing, test-taking, oral presentation, and collaborative learning skills to completion of course assignments.

III.  Teaching Methods

Material will be presented through dyadic lectures, class discussion, readings, audiovisual materials, small group problem-solving discussions and collaborative learning activities, and experiential activities outside of the classroom.

IV.  Required Texts and Materials

Suskind, Ron (1998).  A hope in the unseen.  New York:  Broadway Books.

Feldman, Robert S. (2007).  4th edition. Power Learning:  Strategies for success in college and life.  Boston:  McGraw-Hill Higher Education.

 V. Course Requirements

  Assignments/expectations for this class include the following:

  1. Attendance/class participation – 300 points

Each student is expected to attend class on a regular basis.  Attendance will be taken at each class.  215 points (43 classes at 5 points each)

Each student is expected to participate in class through small and large group discussions.  (85 points)

Three in-class absences and/or failure to complete the out-of-the-classroom activities will drop your final grade by one letter.  Six or more in-class absences will result in a failing grade.

  2.  Common Reading Summit Project – 50 points

Each student will complete one of the Common Reading Summer Projects

See attached list of projects

Due date will be in the first 3 weeks of class – see calendar

Students will present their presentation to the class

  3.  Journal – 200 points (10 points each)

Students are expected to complete 20 journal entries.

The content should focus on each individual student’s personal reactions to readings and class sessions, with emphasis on the integration of personal experiences and thoughts. 

Journal topics will be assigned with a specific formatted question.  Throughout the semester, there may be additional entries required based on course content. 

Journals will be kept confidential and will serve as tools to assist students in applying class content to their individual life situations and academic experiences. 

Journals will be completed online before the start of class according to the class schedule.

4.  Literature Circles – 80 points (20 points each)

Students are expected to participate in class discussion regarding the common reading material utilizing literature circles.

Students will discuss the common reading utilizing small groups and assigned roles.  Instructions will be provided.

Students must be present in class to receive for their participation in the literature circles.

 5.  Group Projects  - 100 points

Students will work as a group to complete a UTSA Scavenger Hunt and will present information learned to the class.  (25 points)

Students are expected to participate in a group project, which will include a group presentation.  Students will work in groups of 3-4.  Each student in the group is expected to present a portion of the total presentation.  Students will prepare a presentation from topics discovered through reading, the Leader Summit and leadership theories covered in the class.  Each group will focus on an assigned leadership theory.  Topics will be provided at a later date. (75 points)

  6. Quizzes/Examinations – 200 points

Quizzes will be given throughout the semester (100 points – 10 points each)

The Final exam/portfolio will apply information learned throughout the course. The portfolio will include information from journals, outside classroom experiences, papers, common reading, the P.O.W.E.R. learning activities and the Leader Summit. – 100 points

No make-up tests will be given unless medical documentation is provided. 

  7. Papers – 150 points

Paper #1 (5 pages):  Relates to the book A Hope in the Unseen. – 50 points

Paper #2 (5-10 pages):  A library research paper.  You will be required to pick a topic specific to the reading and work in the classroom.  You will be required to research information in the library on the chosen topic.  Topic must be approved by professor. – 100 points

Students will hand in a draft of the first paper assignment, which will be returned by the instructor with written critique and a preliminary grade.  Students will then be given the opportunity to revise their papers, and will submit the draft and revised paper.  A final grade will then be given.  Students have the option of submitting a draft for the second paper assignment

  8.  Required Freshman Seminar Activities Outside of Class – 50 points

Students enrolled in Freshman Seminar courses are required to participate in at least two required enrichment activities (other than the Leader Summit, see below) outside of class during the semester that will help connect them with opportunities for campus and community involvement. 

A list of activities will be provided.  You will need to provide documentation showing activities attended as well as a one page summary of the event, where and when it was held and how you feel it contributed to your college experience.  Documentation and one page summary should be completed and turned in within 2 class periods of attendance at the activity.  The Learning Communities Welcome Bash is not included.

  9.  Leader Summit – September 19, 2009 – 75 points

The Leader Summit is a FREE, one day leadership conference designed to help students improve current skills, learn new ones and network with other involved students.  Experts within the field of Student Activities will present educational sessions on a variety of leadership topics.

Professor will register everyone for the conference – set aside the date on your calendar, this is an all day event

A 2 page reflection paper will be due following the Leader Summit.

Information obtained at the Leader Summit will also be used for the Final Portfolio and Final Group Project.

  10.  Assigned Activities Throughout Semester – 95 points

Each student will be required to complete various assignments from the P.O.W.E.R. Learning text.

Each student will interview a professor, chosen by the student (10 points)

Other activities as assigned throughout the semester.

Computation of Grades
Grades will be determined on the following basis:
Attendance/Participation 300 points
Common Reading Summer Project 50 points
Journals 200 points
Literature Circles 80 points
Group projects 100 points
Quizzes/Exams 200 points
Papers 150 points
Required Outside Activities 50 points
Leader Summit 75 points
Other Assigned Activities 95 points
TOTAL 300 points


Your grade will be calculated on point total:
A 1170-1300
B 1040-1169
C 910-1039
D 780-909
F 0-779

VI. Course Policies

Assignments must be turned in on the due date.  Final assignments may not be re-written for a higher grade.  Five points will be deducted for each calendar day that an assignment is late.

UTSA students are expected to follow the Honor Code and to demonstrate academic integrity. Any assignments that show evidence that they have not been completed directly by the student will not be accepted and will result in automatic failure in the course for the student.  This violation of the UTSA Honor Code and Student Code of Conduct constitutes academic misconduct and also makes the student subject to possible expulsion from the University.

Students are expected to attend class regularly and be present for tests and quizzes on the dates scheduled.  Failure to attend class will result in a lower grade for the course.  (See grading and attendance policy.)

Students are expected to be responsible for class materials, including classes they miss.  The instructor will not furnish notes, handouts, etc., so students will need to network with someone in class to obtain this information if they miss class.

Tests and quizzes are designed to cover all lecture, discussion, and reading materials.  Any study guides provided are simply guides.  Any assigned material may appear on the test.  It is the student's responsibility to read assignments by the dates listed on the syllabus.

Instructions for completing assignments are included with the syllabus and are important to adhere to.  The student is responsible for following these instructions.  Assignments will be graded according to adherence to the instructions presented.  Throughout the semester, additional instructions will be distributed and should be followed.

If students are having problems with the course, they are expected to assume the responsibility for talking with the instructor prior to the end of the course.

The course is a team effort between instructors and students: feedback is welcome.

Students will be expected to respect the opinions and feelings of other students, guest speakers, and the instructor, even though they may differ from their own.


Learning Communities will offer academic support and guidance to students for transitioning to college, study skills, test taking skills, test anxiety, stress management, overcoming procrastination, time management and organization as well as other areas.  As you instructor, I may refer you to the Tomas Rivera Center if you need guidance throughout the semester.  We want to help you succeed here at UTSA.  If you find that you need assistance or you are struggling, please let me know and I will help get you get connected or you may also receive assistance on your own by contacting Lizette Nale at 210-458-4694.