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Teaching 129

These small, discussion/experience-based classes allow faculty and first-year students to explore a topic of mutual interest.

Tenure, tenure-track, and non-tenure faculty may teach a one-credit 129 Freshman Seminar. Interested faculty should submit a proposal here.


For more information please e-mail us or call 865-974-3523.

Frequently Asked Questions

Either approach can succeed. What is important is to engage the students in a manner that excites them and encourages their participation. This can be done equally as well in a seminar on the history of the earth, and in a seminar that discusses only one book. A professor could offer a seminar on Bill Bryson’s A Short History of Nearly Everything and accomplish both approaches at the same time.

Please keep in mind that all of the participants in your seminar will be first-year students. Many of them will be especially bright and accomplished individuals, but none of them will have experienced college work to a great extent. Try to educate and challenge your students, while nurturing them. Keep in mind that the fundamental goals of this program are to ease the students’ transition to college and to engage them in the life of the mind. The freshman seminar is not a “how to succeed in college” or “best academic practices/study skills” course. However, you will be provided with resources that you can share with struggling students on an as-needed basis.

No, no, no! We hope that our offerings will reflect the exciting diversity of scholarship at the University of Tennessee, as well as the diversity of interests of our new students.

Remember that in a one-credit course students should not be expected to devote more than 100 minutes to course preparation for every 50-minute session. Remember also that the course is graded on a Satisfactory/No Credit basis. Short written assignments and quizzes are appropriate. It is acceptable to make passing the course largely conditional on regular attendance.

Yes, field trips are encouraged, and they do not need to take place during the regularly scheduled seminar meeting time. They should be to venues that are easily accessible to even those students who do not have personal transportation. Going to concerts on campus, attending plays at the Clarence Brown Theatre, or attending events and museums downtown are all possibilities.

Textbooks are appropriate, as are novels, newspapers, magazines, and other materials. Ideally, professors will place required readings on Library Reserve. It is the instructor’s responsibility to submit to the library materials for reserve status. Again, when gauging the difficulty of the readings to assign, keep in mind that your students are new to the university.

Professors must order all books for their seminars through their department’s book order process. On the University Bookstore’s “Textbook Request Form” please include the following information:

  • Department: First Year Studies
  • Department #: 355
  • Course #: 129

Before registration begins each semester, we will list the section number of your seminar on our website. To find it, look for the title of your seminar in the list.

Freshman seminars will be assigned to registrar-controlled classrooms. Most of these rooms are designed for “traditional” lecture-style formats. If you would rather have your course in a seminar-style room that is controlled by your department or college, you may do so. However, you will have to work with your room scheduler and then let us know what room you plan to meet in so that the location is listed correctly for students.

No.  To facilitate the widest range of offerings and approaches, we accept a wide variety of course meeting times and days. The university minimum is for 700 minutes of class time for one course credit.

Faculty are compensated $1,500 for each seminar offered. The stipend is taxed at the supplemental pay rate.

For more information please e-mail us, or call us at 865-974-3523.