Professors and peers walk with students on their Senior Seminar journeys. Our hope is that this course will be an opportunity for students to engage in a conversation with the historic Christian as they reflect on their beliefs and convictions and, what’s more important, to make them their own. Students do this by reading thought-provoking material, having deep discussions with peers, and writing a Lifeview Paper: “a synthesis of your life story and worldview in which you write the central narrative of your life, how you see yourself and present yourself to others, those beliefs that make up how reality works for you, what you believe you should do and what you take to be your highest priorities, and the realm of doing that includes all of your activities.”
I tell students that there are three ways to look at this course:
Senior Seminar is the last course of your liberal arts education.
You’ll have an opportunity to read your FYS Essay and reflect on how much you have grown academically and personally over the last few years. You should bring the skills, knowledge, and ways of thinking that you have learned in your many courses at Hope to your Senior Seminar class. At this point, as a college-educated individual, you should be able to write a polished, well-revised paper that is the result of critical thinking and self-reflection. Put another way, Senior Seminar is your opportunity to pull together all of the pieces of your education.
Senior Seminar is the first course of the rest of your life.
Two of the most important skills you will need to use after college both responsibly and without prompting are critical thinking and effective writing. Take advantage of this first opportunity to take full charge of your education and to be responsible for the quality of the work that you will produce after you graduate. In Senior Seminar, as in your life after college, people will expect you to live up to your potential and deploy your strengths, knowledge, and skills without having your hand held and without being told exactly what to do and when to do it. Put another way, Senior Seminar is your opportunity to act as the mature, confident, and well-educated individual that have become.
Senior Seminar is a learning community.
You are a member of a particular cohort of students who share common academic goals. How you personally participate in this course will influence others’ experiences, and vice versa. Therefore, the conversations, discussions, and dialogues that take place within your Senior Seminar classroom depend on your active participation. Although completing the assignments and writing your Lifeview Paper are individual needs, your Senior Seminar community will help you fulfill them by creating spaces for interpersonal connections in which you can safely ask for help (and give it), provide your perspectives (and hear those of others), and share stories and emotional experiences. Put another way, Senior Seminar is your opportunity to give meaningful shape to both your and your peers’ capstone education experiences.