First-Year Seminars

The First-Year Seminar offers new students a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in the college experience by exploring an exciting, provocative, or timely topic in-depth. Much more than a traditional introductory lecture, seminars are designed to stimulate your intellect and engage you with the world.

Our most seasoned faculty will challenge you to think critically and imaginatively. Your seminar might even take you beyond the classroom—to attend a professional theatre production, tour an historic Boston site, or visit a local radio station, for example.

Seminars are small (19 students or fewer), so you’ll get to know your professor and classmates well. Your seminar professor also serves as your academic mentor—someone who will guide and support you throughout your first year and beyond. You may choose from a wide variety of seminar options. You can explore a topic you’ve always been curious about or jump right into a major that interests you. When you receive notification to register for classes, you will receive access to a list of specific First-Year Seminar courses offered in your first semester.

Popular course themes have included:

  • What is a Fact?
  • Enlightened Insanity
  • From Jazz to Jay-Z
  • Curators, Collections, and Exhibits
  • Rebel Girls and Nasty Women
  • Fantasy Fiction
  • Space Missions
  • History of Boston
  • Attention in the Age of Distraction
  • The Playwright and the Stage
  • Global Challenges on Film
  • Mad Criminals
  • In the First-Person
  • The US-Mexico Border

Our Mission

The First-Year Seminar program began in 2005 and represents a cornerstone of the enhanced curriculum of the College of Arts & Sciences. The program provides incoming first-year students with a 4-credit course taught by an expert faculty member in the manner of an upper-class seminar. Each course is limited to 19 students in order to encourage a high level of student-to-student and student-to-faculty interaction. The mission of the First-Year Seminar program is to introduce new students to the intellectual rigors of college-level work; to assist students as they transition from high school to the university; and to prepare students for continued academic success. Seminars are writing-intensive and designed to foster critical thinking skills. They reflect a liberal arts approach to education and encourage students to participate in cultural and intellectual activities and events outside of the classroom, both at Suffolk University and in the greater Boston community. New students will be invited to register for their first semester courses, including their First-Year Seminar, shortly before orientation.

First-Year Seminar Goals

All First-Year Seminar courses will:

  • Encourage cultural and intellectual activities, events outside the classroom, and/or guest speakers
  • Expect students to participate actively in class discussion and/or formal presentations

During their Seminar courses, students will:

  • Learn how to analyze course texts
  • Demonstrate critical thinking skills at the synthesis level in their written work
  • Have the opportunity to expand their interests, establish interdisciplinary connections, and work on their academic and practical skills in a variety of contexts, both in and outside of the classroom

Through mentoring activities and class instruction, faculty will familiarize students with Suffolk University and the network of resources available to promote intellectual and personal success, such as:

  • Center for Learning & Academic Success
  • Mildred F. Sawyer Library
  • Blackboard
  • Ford Hall Forum
  • MySuffolk
  • Counseling, Health, & Wellness Center

First-Year Seminar Events

  • SF 174 “Tragedy and Literature” (Prof. Kalogeris): guest speaker, poet David Slavitt, will visit on 11/29.
  • SF 182 “Heroes, Antiheroes, and Outsiders” (Prof. Bonikowski): guest speaker, artist Karl Stevens, will visit on 10/26.
  • SF 1143 “In the First-Person: 21st-Century Storytelling” (Prof. Monticello): guest speaker Silas Hansen will visit on 9/28.
  • SF 1172 “The US-Mexican Border” (Prof. Moreno): guest speaker Alba Jamarillo will visit on 10/19; guest speaker Dore Gardner will visit on 12/7.
  • SF 1176 “What Is a Fact?” (Prof. Frangipane): Christina Miller from Suffolk Law School will visit on 10/26; David Gansler from the Psychology Dept. will visit on 11/18.
  • SF 1185 “The Socially-Conscious Storyteller” (Prof. Cerrone): guest speaker, writer Christopher Castellani, will visit classes on 11/30 and 12/2.
  • SF 1189 “Urban and Contemporary Art” (Prof. Nichter): class will visit the ICA on 9/23; class will visit the MFA on 10/7; class will visit the MIT List Gallery on 11/18.
  • SF H116 “Enlightened Insanity” (Prof. Abrams): class will visit the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum on 11/4; class will visit the MFA on 11/23.
  • SF H1180 “Rebel Girls & Nasty Women (Prof. Armbruster): Gerry Wendel, relative of Kate Chopin, will visit on 10/14.
  • SF H1191 “Writing Your Future: Genes and Gene Editing (Prof. Peterson): class will take field trips to Kendall Square, MGH, and the Church Lab. They will visit the Broad Institute on 10/8.

Contact Our Staff

Amy Monticello is an Associate Professor of English and Creative Writing, and the author of two essay collections, Close Quarters (Sweet Publications, 2012) and How to Euthanize a Horse (Arcadia, 2018). She holds an MFA from The Ohio State University, and a BA from Ithaca College. Amy’s teaching and scholarly interests include creative nonfiction, forms of the essay, literary citizenship, first-year writing, and narrative theory. In 2013, she won the S.I. Newhouse School Prize in Nonfiction, and her writing has been listed as notable in Best American Essays.

Amy Monticello
Program Director
Send Amy an Email
Phone: 617-305-1918
Office Location: 73 Tremont St., Rm. 8076

Katie Sticca is the managing editor and fiction editor of Salamander, the literary journal established in 1992 and housed at Suffolk University since 2005. She received her BA in English from the College of Charleston in Charleston, SC, and her MFA from Emerson College in Boston, MA. As an assistant to the First-Year Seminars since 2014, she aids the Program Director in administrative matters and provides assistance to faculty and staff in planning program activities.

Katie Sticca
Program Administrator
Send Katie an Email
Phone: 617-573-8290
Office Location: 73 Tremont St., Rm. 8043