Global Science fiction
First Year Program
St. Lawrence University
Plenary:           M-W-F 9:40-10:40      Bewkes 232
Seminar:         Wed.     1:40 - 3:10     Bewkes 232
Instructor: Daniel W. Koon
Office: Bewkes 221
Phone: x5494
Email: dkoon AT
Office Hours: M-F, 11:00-12:00
Mentor: Colin S. Loomis
Email: csloom08 AT
Office Hours: Mon, 7-9:30, Tuesday, 2:30-5:00, or by appointment, Josephine Young Reading Room, ODY.

(http://it.stl is the official syllabus of this course. It will be updated as the course proceeds. Please bookmark this page and check back frequently. My apologies for all the typos that have entered this file as I've swept out the bloated, buggy html code generated by that totally useless Microsoft Windows html converter. Please bear with me as I continue to debug.
Last Revised: April 8, 2010.

Science fiction is as American as the Wild West movie. Right? Wrong. From Jules Verne to Cuban cyberpunks to Japanese manga and anime artists, the people who bring you science fiction and fantasy are as international as, well, the crew of the Starship Enterprise. In this course, we will sample the global science fiction literature (and maybe a bit of fantasy) that has been translated into English, and we will explore the extent to which science fiction and fantasy, that literature which strives "to boldly go" beyond the limits of its earth-bound, bipedal, humanoid writer, still reflect the planet, the species, the culture and the era of that writer. Or don't. The class will share a common list of readings and films, with each student writing an in-depth research paper on an additional science fiction novel, and leading discussion of at least one literary work, film, author, or country. 

The major assignment of this course is a final paper, 10-12 pages double- spaced, due at the end of the semester. It will be the result of your research into a specific question based on an SFF novel or novella that will be assigned to you. We will spend time throughout the semester investigating the issues involved with writing a major research paper, and the various stages of the paper will be collected and graded by the instructor at specific dates in the semester. (See Major Deadlines below.) The thesis of this paper will address whether or not the story reflects something characteristic about its author, country, or era.

Each student will give an oral presentation on an SFF film that is either filmed in a language other than English, or which is based on a non-English SFF work. The film will come from a list which appears later on in this syllabus. The presentation will be 8-10 minutes long, with no more than 5 minutes combined for plot synopsis and any film clips. We will work on this presentation in class, and it will be subject to multiple drafts.

For your second Oral Presentation, you will introduce the class to the particular SFF novel or novella you have been assigned for the Research Paper: you will teach half of a class.
How should you structure class? There are many possibilities. What I don't recommend is that you simply stand in front of class and lecture us for a half hour. (particularly reading straight from notes) A combination of lecture, directed discussion, and other activities is probably the best approach, but feel free to explore your own ideas of presentation. Since this is an important part of this course and because I'm asking you to do a good share of the teaching, it is important that we discuss your intentions for class well in advance - - two weeks before class and then again one week before. Handouts are recommended, but I don't want you to hand out a page of notes with "all the answers" to the students without trying to get them to work through the issues and come up with their own answers first.
Your portfolio is a record of your progress in this course. As such, it needs to include all drafts of every bit of written work you do during the course,including the various stages of your research paper including notes, all the materials associated with the topical projects just mentioned, and in-class free writes. Part of that portfolio should be the self-assessment, in which you reflect critically on the work assembled in the portfolio. Your self-assessment should be a frank, honest analysis of your work. It should neither be filled with platitudes nor excuses for why your grades were what they were. In fact, grades are completely irrelevant. What is your assessment of your own work? How did it improve during the semester?
A three-ring binder, or its equivalent, is recommended for assembling your portfolio through the course of the semester.


READING JOURNAL: One element of your participation grade will be your notes from the individual course readings, both stories and critical works. I will ask you to keep a notebook with extensive notes on all of the readings for this course, including films. I will occasionally ask you to hand it in, so that I can check that you are indeed keeping up. I will grade on completeness and quality, not on neatness (unless it is unreadable: taking notes electronically is not a bad idea). You will be allowed to use these notes, but not the original stories, in the in-class exams.

PERSONAL WRITING MECHANICS INVENTORY: One element of your portfolio grade will be a running inventory of areas of your own writing that need work. After each assignment, you need to look through the instructor's, mentor's, or tutor's marks to see what you ought to add to this list. You should consult this list when proofreading all subsequent formal assignments. As a writer, it is important to practice the mechanics of writing, and to be aware of those areas in which you most need work. If one of these areas is 'homophones', for example, you may find it useful to compile a list of words that you have difficulty with ("to", "too", "two", or "its" and "it's", for example) but which the spell- checker refuses to help you with.

MISCELLANEOUS ASSIGNMENTS: Finally, there will be occasional free- writes and quizzes throughout the semester, as the need arises. I do not know in advance how many there may be, so I will simply include the results of these assignments in your 'classroom participation' grade.
EXAMS: There will be three in-class exams during the semester, along with a Final Exam. The instructor will also use in-class quizzes (usually unannounced) to check that you're showing up for class and keeping up with the readings.

Your active participation in class is important. Of course you need to attend class. I reserve the right to dock you a half-point from your final grade for each absence beyond the third, in addition to lowering your class participation grade (e.g. 4.0 becomes a 3.5, etc.). But you also need to arrive in class prepared to contribute to it. Bring any materials that we are planning to discuss that day -- texts, handouts, and notes from texts or films. Occasionally I will throw an unannounced quiz to ensure that you've come to class prepared. Such quizzes will usually be open notes, but not open text. Thus, it really pays to take good notes. Late arrival in class is also distracting, especially when one of your colleagues is giving his/her oral presentation. I will count every two instances of five minutes or more of lateness as equaling an absence. Please speak to me beforehand if you anticipate having to miss or be late for or leave early from any class.
The SLU Student Handbook defines plagiarism as "presenting as one's own work of another person -- words, ideas, data, evidence, thoughts, information, organizing principles, or style of presentation -- without proper attribution." While we will talk about the dangers of plagiarism in class, it is your responsibility to be aware of what is -- and what is not -- plagiarism, whether intentional or not. Your instructor has a variety of tools at his disposal for testing written work for plagiarism, ample experience at detecting it, and a low tolerance for it. If you have questions about whether you are adequately citing or attributing work, please ask your mentor or instructor. Please see the material below on Academic Honesty. You will be held responsible for understanding this material and abiding by it.
If you need accommodation for special needs, please contact your instructor by the end of the first full week of classes. Please also contact the Office for Academic Services for Students with Special Needs (homepage, e-mail) as soon as possible. Another useful office for all students is the Academic Achievement Office, which can set you up with tutoring for this and other courses.

The Munn Center for Rhetoric and Communication maintains The WORD Studio in ODY Library—a place to get feedback from peers on assignments in Writing, Oral communication, Research, and Design of visual projects.   You can come for a consultation to plan a paper or presentation (you don't need anything but a blank piece of paper!) to find ways to improve the ideas, organization, and style of a draft; to videotape and review a presentation rehearsal; to practice a PowerPoint presentation, and more.  Peer tutors are not proofreaders or editors who silently “fix" your work for you; instead, they are trained to have a conversation with you about ways you can fix problem areas yourself and become better overall communicators.  You may use The WORD Studio for consultations on assignments for any of your courses, although for FYP assignments you should first seek out your course mentor during his or her office hours.
The WORD Studio is open Monday through Thursday, 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.; Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.; and Sunday, 1:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.  You may also IM the Studio during regular hours with quick questions about grammar, citation, and style: SLUword.

Research project 35% consisting of...
     Bibliography & annotated bibliography   10%
    Notecards & functional outline   10%
     First draft   10%
     Final draft   5%
Oral Presentation #1 15% consisting of...
    Preparation   7.5%
    Presentation   7.5%
Oral Presentation #2 20% consisting of...
     Preparation   10%
     Presentation   10%
Quizzes, exams, classroom participation 15%  
Reading journal 5%  
Personal writing mechanics journal 5%  
Portfolio 5%  

        RUR, Karel Čapek (Czechoslovakia: 1921) -- available from SLU>Bookstore.
        Hard to be a god (link1, backup link) -- Arkadi & Boris Strugatsky (USSR: 1964)
In addition, all of you will be required to do a research project on a specific science fiction novel (See Table below), which you may borrow from the instructor.
Plus, other SHORT STORIES and excerpts,some of them appearing on e-reserve, including...
       The Adventures of Baron von Munchausen (Ch. VI, XVIII) Raspé
       A voyage to the Moon, de Bergerac (Ch. 1, 2, 6, 9)         Cyrano de Bergerac (Act III. Scene XI), Rostand
        Pairpuppets, van Loggem
       Hobbyist, Winds of unchange, Roger
       The Elementary Particles (epilogue) Houellebecq
       An evening in the city coffeehouse, with Lydia on my mind, Ziljak
       Transcendence Express, de Vries
       Andromeda, Efremov
       Heart of the serpent, Efremov
       Library of Babel, The Book of sand, Tlön Uqbar, Orbis Tertius, Borges
       Russian dolls, Gaut vel Hartman
       GuTaGutarrak, Otaño
       New prehistory, Rebetez-Cortes
       Annunciation, Chaviano
       Like the roses had to die, Encinosa
       Social worker, Yoss
       The flood, Kobo Abe
       Cardboard box, Ryo Hanmura
        Bokko-chan, Shinichi Hoshi
       The road to the sea, Takashi Ishikawa
       Triceratops, Tensei Kono
       The Wheel of Samsara, Han Song
       Archipelago, Menon
       Hatchling, Hasson

      Napier, Anime from Akira to Mononoke. Chapter 2: Anime & Local/Global Identity.
Histories and Introductions to various international anthologies and novels:
      From socialist realism to anarchist-capitalism: Cuban cyberpunk: (Toledano: Science Fiction Studies)
      New Soviet fiction (Intro by Theodore Sturgeon)
      The development of the Strugatskys' fiction(Intro by Darko Suvin)
      Martians in Bartolo's banana field(Yoss)
      Historias futuras (Intro)
      Cosmos Latinos (Intro)
      Prologue to Morel (Borges)
      The best Japanese science fiction stories (Intro)
      Science fiction from China (Intros by Pohl, Wu Dingbo)
      New worlds from the Lowlands (Intros by Asimov, van Loggem)
Plus, Hacker, D. A Pocket Style Manual.
SF FILMS FOR FIRST ORAL PROJECT (one for each student):
Metropolis (Germany: 1927)
Aelita (USSR: 1924)
Pulgasari (N. Korea: 1985)
Akira (Japan:1988)
Ghost in the shell (Japan:1995)
Gojira (Japan: 1954)
Princess Mononoke (Japan: 1997)
2009: Lost memories (S. Korea: 2002)
Natural city (S. Korea: 2003)
Wonderful days (S. Korea: 2003)
Vampiros en la Habana (Cuba: 1985)
Open your eyes (Abre los ojos) (Spain: 1997)
Patalghar(The underground chamber) (India: 2003)
Koi... mil gaya (I found someone) (India: 2003)
War with the newts Čapek (Czechoslavakia: 1936)
Metropolis, von Harbou (Germany: 1927)
Kallocain, Boye (Sweden: 1940)
Perry Rhodan #1 (Enterprise Stardust), Scheer & Ernsting (Germany: 1961)
Empire of the ants, Werbe (France: 1991)
Troll: a love story, Sinisalo (Finland: 2000)
Solaris, Lem (Poland:1961)
Roadside Picnic, A.&B. Strugatsky (USSR: 1972)
We, Zamyatin (USSR: 1921)
Planet for rent, Yoss (Cuba: 2001)
Interface dreams, Hernandez (Cuba/Spain: 2010)
Usurper of the Sun, Nojiri (Japan: 2002)
Akira, Otomo (Japan: 1982)
Japan sinks, Komatsu (Japan:1973)
In the mothers' land, Vonarburg (Canada: 1992)

Perry Rhodan is a uniquely German phenomenon.
Metropolis and R.U.R. are quite reflective of the industrial Central Europe between the World Wars.
Kallocain is a very Swedish 1984/BraveNewWorld/We.
We is a very Soviet 1984/Brave New World/Kallocain.
Hard to be a God can be correctly interpreted as specifically critical of the Soviet socialist ideology.
Planet for Rent could not have been written anywhere but Cuba, is/isn't critical of the fruits of the Cuban Revolution.
In the Mothers' Land is a French Canadian Handmaid's Tale.
The most alien of melieux in Troll: the Finnish social scene, the gay male scene, the cryptozoology, the made-up citations?
War with the newts: the newts symbolize robotic industrialization? German expansionism?
Akira and Gojira: Is Napier correct?
Solaris is a mainstream Western postmodern novel.
Lem is correct/incorrect in his criticisms of Western Science Fiction literature.
Usurper of the Sun: owes more to Solaris or Asimov/Bradbury/Clarke/Heinlein.
Empire of the ants (Werbe) owes nothing to Empire of the ants (Wells). Or maybe it does.
Russian SF literature since the fall of the Soviet Union reflects a profoundly changed Russian society. Or not.
Mobipocket Reader and Mobipocket Creator. Convert your PDA, smartphone, desktop or laptop into an ebook reader. Store your electronic texts from this course, along with your own highlighting and notes, onto your network P: drive. Download it now!!
Project Gutenberg. Largest collection of free, public domain literature, in various digital formats, including Mobipocket (see above).
PlanetaSF. Argentine-based discussion group of over 300 writers, editors, fans of global science fiction. Many announcements in Spanish, but many bilingual or more. Great resource for contacting the creators of world SF.
Science Fiction Studies, especially special issues on Stanislaw Lem, Soviet SF, Global Science Fiction, etc.
The Ultimate science fiction guide: countries
Online Russian / Soviet fiction (Russica)
This instructor's Cuban SF page
Several prefaces/introductions/etc. to several anthologies of regional science fictions in the instructor's library.


This schedule will be updated frequently. Keep your eye open for changes or for hyperlinks to new stuff. Student presentations are marked in Green


M Jan 18 Introduction to course. Georges Méliès: Le voyage dans la lune(A voyage to the moon, France 1902) Individual films to be passed out.
W Jan 20 Introductions. How to take notes for a film. How to critique a film. Méliès déjà vu.  
W Jan 20 SEMINAR: Library orientation: ODY. Scavenger hunt.  
F Jan 22 Reading critical works: Asimov on Dutch/Flemish SF, Sturgeon on Soviet SF, Pohl on Chinese SF Proposal for your novel due.
M Jan 25 In-class work on OP#1 project. Early science fiction Hand in copy of notes taken while viewing your film. Individual novels will be passed out. Read de Bergerac and Raspé
W Jan 27 SF “prehistory": Mythology, Kepler's Somnium, deBergerac (Ch. 1, 2, 6, 9), Raspé's Baron von Munchausen(Ch. VI, XVIII).  
W Jan 27 SEMINAR: Oral Presentation Workshop. Bring all your notes. Assignment 2  
F Jan 29 Frank Reade & the pulps (Powerpoint.) Start reading R.U.R.
Winterlude in Ottawa runs till 2/19. Bring your skates
M Feb 1 ( Early film ). Early SF films (Plus PPT) Hand in OP critiques from 2+ critics.
W Feb 3  
F Feb 5 Early films, continued. Jules Verne: From Earth to the Moon, Ch. 1


M Feb 8 Debrief on Oral Presentations. Jules Verne: Ch. 2,3 List of sources due, Read first 1/3+ of your novel
W Feb 10 EXAM I  
W Feb 10 SEMINAR: Taking notes  
F Feb 12
M Feb 15 R.U.R. 4 references due
W Feb 17 La Jetee (1962), Le dernier combat (1983). Taking notes.  
W Feb 17 SEMINAR: Citation style (MLA) Start reading Hard to be a God
F Feb 19 Ziljak, van Loggem, de Vries First draft of Thesis statement due
Rules for Oral Presentations
M Feb 22   Seven references due, with both in-text and end-of-text MLA format.
W Feb 24 War with the Newts - Rakoc  
W Feb 24 SEMINAR: Making a logical argument.  
F Feb 26 Metropolis - Brinkworth One paragraph essay version of your paper due.
Include all related work.
M Mar 1 Perry Rhodan (Starship Enterprise) - Dankner
NOTE: EXAM II postponed
Start readingHard to be a God
W Mar 3 Empire of the Ants - Dunn
W Mar 3 SEMINAR: Subject To be announced  
F Mar 5   Outline due. Include all related work.

M Mar 8 through F Mar 12 SPRING BREAK Relax. Send your instructor a postcard, maybe?

M Mar 15 Hard to be a god Tomorrow: Outlines due
W Mar 17 Troll: a love story - Piccirillo
Solaris - Bohan
W Mar 17 SEMINAR: Annotating  
F Mar 19 Roadside picnic - Blackburn
Romanian, Bulgarian, Ukrainian SF


M Mar 22 Finish Hard to be a god Annotated Bibliography due. Include all related work.
W Mar 24 Kallocain - Haggett
We - Petosa
W Mar 24 SEMINAR: Review material so far, 5- paragraph exercise.  
F Mar 26 Yefremov (Andromeda, Heart of the Serpent), Strugatskys (Noon 22d Century)
M Mar 29 Dukaj, Davoust, Hirsjarvi on European SF 5 paragraph research essay due. Include all related work.
W Mar 31 Magical realism in Latin American literature. Jorge Luis Borges: Library of Babel, digital access to the Library, Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius. Virgilio Piñera: Insomnia, The Mountain, Swimming. Gabriel Garcia Marquez: Excerpt, One Hundred Years of Solitude.  
W Mar 31 SEMINAR: Individual conferences  
F Apr 2 Yoss: "Martians...". Cuban SF - overview  
M Apr 5 Cuban SF: Cruz and Hernandez: Crystal City plus Enríquez: Borrowed Time (handout). 2nd Draft of 5-paragraph essay due. Please follow guidelines.
W Apr 7 Read Yoss: Social Worker
Planet for rent - Hagen
Interface Dreams - Vredenburgh
W Apr 7 SEMINAR: Outlining for Term paper  
F Apr 9 Chaviano: Fables of an extraterrestrial grandmother (excerpt/handout)
M Apr 12 EXAM II No assignments due.
W Apr 14 "Anime and local global identity" - Napier  
W Apr 14 SEMINAR: Peer review I: Summarize each paragraph, reconstruct Outline  


F Apr 16 The flood - Abe; Bokko-chan - Hoshi; Cardboard box - Hanmura; The road to the sea - Ishikawa; Triceratops - Kono First draft of research paper due. Include all related work.
M Apr 19 Mechanics issues, Akira - Wright    
W Apr 21 Japan Sinks - Goldman  
W Apr 21 SEMINAR: The mechanics of writing: Grammar, punctuation, etc.
Usurper of the Sun - Judd
F Apr 23 Subject To be announced
M Apr 26 Subject To be announced  
W Apr 28 In the Mothers' Land - Hayden  
W Apr 28 SEMINAR: Peer review II  
F Apr 30 Review Research paper: final draft, Portfolio & self-assessment due in class.

FINAL EXAM: Tuesday, May 4, 8:30-11:30am.

Week Date Research paper Other major assignments
1 Mon. Jan 25         Copy of your notes from your assigned film
2 Mon. Feb 1   2+ critiques of your Oral Presentation.
Place your PPTon T: drive
3 Fri. Feb 5 Preliminary list of sources  
4 Fri. Feb 12 Two sources, with notes  
5 Fri. Feb 19 Bibliography  
6 Fri. Feb 26 1 paragraph version of paper  
7 Tues. Mar 16 Outline  
8 Mon. Mar 22 Annotated Bibliography  
9 Mon. Mar 29 “5 paragraph" version of your paper  
10 Mon. Apr 5 2d draft of 5-paragraph essay  
11 Mon. Apr 12   (No assignment due)
12 Fri. Apr 16 Research Paper, Draft I  
13 Fri. Apr 23  
14 Fri. Apr 30 Research Paper, Draft II  
FINAL EXAM, Tuesday, May 4, 8:30-11:30am.
  One week and two weeks before each classroom presentation:

Outline of presentation, list of prior readings for the classmates, meet with instructor
  One class before each classroom presentation:
Class handouts for distribution

        All students at St. Lawrence University are bound by honor to maintain the highest level of academic integrity. By virtue of membership in the St. Lawrence community, every student accepts the responsibility to know the rules of academic honesty, to abide by them at all times, and to encourage all others to do the same.
Responsibility for avoiding behavior or situations from which academic dishonesty may be inferred rests entirely with the students. Claims of ignorance, unintentional error, and academic or personal pressure are not excuses for academic dishonesty. Students should be sure to learn from faculty what is expected as their own work and how the work of other people should be acknowledged. Instructors are expected to maintain conditions which promote academic honesty.
        Instructors have the duty to investigate any instance involving possible academic dishonesty and must present evidence of academic dishonesty to the Academic Honor Council rather than make private arrangements with the student involved. Violations of the St. Lawrence University Code of Academic Honor are administered under the constitution of the Academic Honor Council [See Student Handbook for the Constitution].
Academic Honesty
        The primary objective of the University is the promotion of knowledge. This objective can be furthered only if there is strict adherence to scrupulous standards of honesty. At St. Lawrence, all members of the University community have a responsibility to see that standards of honesty and integrity are maintained.
        Students who respect academic honesty and who are orderly and meticulous in their treatment of both their own work and the work of others should anticipate no difficulty with cheating, plagiarism, or other forms of academic dishonesty. Borrowing ideas or language from others is acceptable scholarly practice and in many instances actively to be encouraged.
        Academic dishonesty generally arises from one of two sources: either a student has knowingly cheated or plagiarized or he/she has been careless or slipshod in discriminating between his/her own work and that of others or in acknowledging sources accurately. These latter difficulties are easily circumvented. Any standard handbook on English usage or term paper writing manual will furnish a methodology as well as appropriate internal reference, endnote, or bibliographical forms (cf., for example, the Harbrace Handbook, A Guide to MLA Documentation, or Writers Inc.).

Academic Honesty
        A major objective of the University is the pursuit of knowledge which can be achieved only by strict adherence to standards of honesty. At St. Lawrence, all members of the community have a responsibility to see that these standards are maintained.
 Academic Dishonesty
1. It is assumed that all work submitted for credit is done by the student unless the instructor gives specific permission for collaboration.
2. Cheating on examinations and tests consists of knowingly giving or using or attempting to use unauthorized assistance during examinations or tests.
3. Dishonesty in work outside of examinations and tests consists of handing in for credit as original work that which is not original, where originality is required.
The following constitute examples of academic dishonesty:
a)      Plagiarism: Presenting as one's own work the work of another person - words, ideas, data, evidence, thoughts, information, organizing principles, or style of presentation- without proper attribution. Plagiarism includes paraphrasing or summarizing without acknowledgment by quotation marks, footnotes, endnotes, or other indices of reference (cf. Joseph F. Trimmer, A Guide to MLA Documentation).
b)      Handing in false reports on any experiment.
c)       Handing in a book report on a book one has not read.
d)      Falsification of attendance records of a laboratory or other class meeting.
e)      Supplying information to another student knowing that such information will be used in a dishonest way.
f)        Submission of work (papers, journal abstracts, etc.) which has received credit in a previous course to satisfy the requirement(s) of a second course without the knowledge and permission of the instructor of the second course.
 Claims of ignorance and academic or personal pressure are unacceptable as excuses for academic dishonesty. Students must learn what constitutes one's own work and how the work of others must be acknowledged.
 St. Lawrence students are required to sign the following statement prior to registration for classes:
"I hereby acknowledge that I have read the above document and I understand my responsibility in maintaining the standards of academic honesty at St. Lawrence University."

First-Year Seminars
Research Project Learning Goals 2009-10
With respect to research skills specifically, our learning goals for the spring are that students should:
        Be introduced to ways of conducting productive and imaginative inquiry and research in order to become a part of the various conversations surrounding issues.
        Learn to differentiate among the various ways that information is produced and presented, between popular and scholarly journals and books, between mainstream and alternative publications, between primary and secondary sources.
        Learn how to evaluate and synthesize information, whether gathered from traditional sources, e.g., books and journals, or from websites or electronic media.
        Begin to develop the skills of critical analysis in the interpretation and use of information gathered from any source.
        Be introduced to the ethical obligations that scholars have to both responsibly represent their sources and inform their readers of the sources of their information, as well as learning, and being held responsible for the proper use of, the conventions of scholarly citation and attribution.
        Present the results of your research in written, spoken, visual and/or other forms that demonstrate the ability to communicate effectively using the conventions of the mode of communication adopted. 

First-Year Program Philosophy and Goals 2009-10
        A residentially-based, interdisciplinary first-year program is an ideal environment for beginning the four-year process of developing the complex intellectual and social skills that are at the heart of a liberal education and the habits of considered values and engaged citizenship that such an education should produce. The First-Year Program (FYP) and First-Year Seminar (FYS) are the core of our institutional commitment to improving your ability to engage in critical inquiry and research, to design and deliver written, spoken and/or visual texts that demonstrate rhetorical sensitivity, and to be sophisticated readers, listeners, and viewers of the texts of others.  We believe that these same competencies can help develop your ability to communicate across differences (e.g., race, gender, sexual orientation, class, ethnicity, political views) as you find ways to live and learn together in the residence halls and as engaged and ethically reflective citizens both during and after your college years. These goals should be understood as the first step in our work with you over a four-year process of helping you to meet the University's Aims and Objectives.
        We hope to help you see that writing, speaking, research, and interacting with others are rhetorical endeavors. Effective communicators are, by definition, rhetorically sensitive.  Rhetorical sensitivity means understanding that all communication, whether formal or informal, involves having to make choices about your messages, whether written, spoken, or visual.  To become an effective communicator, you need to recognize that the creation of a meaningful and powerful message involves both a creator and an audience, and that therefore the voice you adopt in your communication, and the audience you imagine yourself communicating to, matter a great deal in creating your message.  The choices you make in writing and speaking are central in determining how people read and hear your voice.  Becoming conscious and reflective about those choices, and their ethical dimensions, is a central goal of the FYP and FYS.
        Working with you so that you become more rhetorically sensitive means that you should be increasingly able to assess the requirements of a particular task and make intentional decisions about which mode or modes of communication and inquiry would be most effective in addressing it.  To do so, you must develop specific writing, speaking, research, and technological competencies. To accomplish these goals, the FYP and FYS will present you with assignments that ask you to engage in a process that involves recognizing the rhetorical situation, planning communication strategies to address the task at hand, composing and presenting the message, and then engaging in critical assessment of your own work and that of others.  The results of that assessment process will allow you to rethink, restructure, and revise your work.
        We further recognize that this process is not linear and that the effective creation of texts requires that you move back and forth among these four elements of the message creation process. This is why we require that your writing and speaking assignments be “projects" that include preparatory exercises and multiple drafts or rehearsals, all of which ask you to continue to reflect critically on the choices you have made in constructing your message.
        This process of increased rhetorical awareness and skill development is at the heart of the philosophical and pedagogical perspectives that inform the work of the FYP and FYS.  Because this process both transcends and integrates a variety of specific skills, the program has a philosophical commitment to designing assignments that ask you to integrate various modes of communication in furtherance of the higher-level rhetorical goals in which they are situated. 
To ensure that the program is meeting its stated goals, all FYP and FYS syllabi are read by other faculty in the program to determine if they include a variety of assignments that forward the writing, speaking, research, and literacy goals of the program.  All FYP and FYS courses have to be approved by faculty in the program before they are offered.