What is the purpose of UMD Seminar?

UMD Seminar is a course designed to assist you in making a successful transition to UMD. It is an “invitation to possibilities” – the academic, social, cultural, and personal opportunities that UMD can offer. You will examine who you are, explore who you are becoming at UMD, and begin thinking about how your UMD experience will affect your life and the world around you after you graduate. UMD Seminar requires both practical and reflective learning, and you are encouraged to focus on how the course material applies to your unique experience as a new UMD student. The purpose of the course is to help you achieve success in your educational and life goals by making personal connections, fostering lifelong learning, and participating in diverse communities.

What is UMD Seminar like?

UMD Seminar is a one-to-two credit University-wide orientation course. This course was developed to help new students with their transition into the university community. Topics addressed in this course include connecting to campus, healthy college living, time management, study strategies, career/major exploration, academic planning, goal-setting, critical thinking and other topics that help first-year students succeed academically, personally and socially.

Sections of UMD Seminar are limited to 25 students, and each section promotes discussion and active learning about topics important to new students. The small class size and active discussions provide opportunities for students to form connections with their instructor, teaching assistant, and fellow students.

The course instructors are current UMD faculty and staff who work closely with new students and have a desire to provide meaningful support and outreach to them. Students will receive practical experience and timely information which is based on new student needs and developmental stages. Course instructors work in partnership with an UMD Seminar Teaching Assistant.

UMD Seminar Teaching Assistants play an important role in UMD Seminar courses. Each section of UMD Seminar has a teaching assistant who works closely with the instructor and the students in the class. Teaching assistants are current UMD undergraduates. Before working with an UMD Seminar section, they interview and take a 1-credit training course. UMD Seminar TAs help teach lessons, provide feedback on assignments, communicate with students in the class, meet with the instructor, and generate a welcoming, helpful environment for students.

What are the UMD Seminar Themes?

  • Building Relationships: Connecting with peers, staff, and faculty on campus
  • UMD Tools and Resources: Effectively using campus services and technologies
  • Thinking and Learning: Study skills, critical and creative thinking, ethical problem-solving, foundations of liberal education
  • Self-Knowledge and Growth: Personal reflection and development, planning for success
  • Behavior and Communication: Making healthy choices, personal problem-solving, interpersonal communication, and professional etiquette
  • Working Effectively in Groups: Working with others, effective collaboration, accountability
  • Trying New Things: Getting involved on campus, academic and self-exploration
  • Intercultural Effectiveness: Recognizing diversity, exploring multiple perspectives, understanding and defining identity and privilege

What are the Program Learning Outcomes?

PLO 1: Students will apply effective communication skills when exploring diverse perspectives (SLOs 5,6,7,9)

PLO 2: Students will be familiar with and able to access campus resources in planning for academic, social, and personal success in college (SLOs 2,4,5,6,9)

PLO 3: Students will explore foundational skills in critical thinking, ethical decision-making, and self-knowledge across a range of developmental areas (SLOs 2,3,4,5)

PLO 4: Students will explain their role in the campus community and their sense of belonging at UMD (SLOs 4,7,8,9)

Who takes UMD Seminar?

The short answer: most new students! UMD Seminar is required of students in the following UMD colleges:

  • Labovitz School of Business and Economics
  • College of Education and Human Service Professionals
  • School of Fine Arts
  • College of Liberal Arts

At your Advisement & Registration session you'll receive more information about the UMD Seminar course. Your faculty advisor and student advisor will both talk with you about options for taking the UMD Seminar course and will help you register.

What are the options for taking UMD Seminar?

Students admitted for the spring term will sign up for a general one-credit UMD Seminar section during their first (spring) semester. Students admitted for the fall term have a number of options for UMD Seminar. Talk with your advisors at Advisement & Registration to find out more. Possibilities include one- and two-credit sections tailored to specific topics or special populations of students, such as students in certain undergraduate colleges or majors or students participating in learning communities through the residence halls. While the content of the course is the same as other sections, the examples and information is tailored to the unique topic or needs of the population of students enrolled in the course.

How would I become a Teaching Assistant?

Are you interested in becoming an UMD Seminar Teaching Assistant? The hiring process for UMD Seminar teaching assistants occurs in February or March of all academic years after students complete the TA training course during early spring semester. If you are interested in being an UMD Seminar TA, contact the Office for Students in Transition front desk (sit-info@d.umn.edu), 42 Solon Campus Center, 218-726-6393

Who is the UMD Seminar Coordinator?

Dr. Samantha DeVilbiss began working as UMD Seminar Coordinator in June 2014. Prior to joining the UMD community, Samantha has devoted years towards assisting first-year students in their transition to college at the University of Iowa, the University of Nebraska – Lincoln, and Florida Gulf Coast University.

At the University of Iowa, Samantha worked in Orientation Services, with both the student program and the parent program; taught a college transition course for new students; and examined first-year living learning communities to enable programmatic improvements. At the University of Nebraska – Lincoln, Samantha served as a coordinator and advisor in a first- and second-year retention program. In this position, Samantha was able to support a caseload of students; plan and implement academic, life-skill, social, and recognition programming; and oversee peer mentoring for all first-year students in the community as well as run a program for students on academic probation. At Florida Gulf Coast University, Samantha advised first-year students and served on the Academic Advising Council, supervised peer advisors, provided programming to assist students in choosing a major, and taught a course related to the institution’s mission of sustainability.

Samantha earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Iowa in the fields of History, Anthropology, Education, and Museum Studies. Her MA was also earned at the University of Iowa in Student Development in Post-Secondary Education. Samantha completed her EdD in the department of Educational Administration at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln, with her dissertation – The Transition Experience: Understanding the Transition From High School to College for Conditionally-Admitted Students Using the Lens of Schlossberg’s Transition Theory. She is thrilled to be at UMD working with UMD Seminar to help ensure the course is best meeting the needs of new students and is a program of which the campus community can be proud!

What is the UMD Seminar Advisory Group?

The UMD Seminar Advisory Group was established in academic year 2013/2014 to explore UST 1000 in context of the purpose, history, best practices, and research associated with first-year seminar courses across the country. The group is working to produce a report in February 2015 with recommendations of changes that can be made to UMD Seminar in order to ensure it is a model program, designed to assist new students at UMD through their academic, social, and personal transitions to college.

Members:

  • Dr. Jane A.K. Carlson, Associate Professor & Associate Department Head of HPER
  • Dr. Samantha DeVilbiss, Coordinator, UMD Seminar Coordinator & New Student Program Initiatives, Students in Transition
  • Kurt Guidinger, M.A., Academic Advisor, Labovitz School of Business and Economics
  • Dr. Paul Kiprof, Professor, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
  • Shelly Mann, M.S., Assistant Academic Advisor, College of Liberal Arts
  • Elias Mokole, MFA, Instructor, Department of Music
  • Dr. Jerry Pepper, Associate Vice Chancellor for Undergraduate Education
  • Lisa Reeves, M.Ed., Director, Students in Transition
  • Dr. Roger Reinsch, Professor, Department of Accounting
  • Dr. Katie Van Wert, Assistant Professor, Department of English
  • Dr. Liz Wright, Associate Professor, UMD Writing Studies