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ERIC Number: EJ1073601
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 14
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0316-1218
The Problem of First-Year Seminars: Risking Disengagement through Marketplace Ideals
Hickinbottom-Brawn, Sarah; Burns, David P.
Canadian Journal of Higher Education, v45 n2 p154-167 2015
First-year seminars (FYS) have become increasingly prevalent in North American postsecondary institutions. The popularity of such initiatives owes much to the belief that providing unprepared students general life and academic skills can bolster engagement and thereby improve retention. In this paper we argue that, despite their good intentions, many FYS actually perpetuate the kind of disengagement they were designed to alleviate due to their reliance on a narrow, instrumental view of education. To demonstrate, we briefly outline the history and curricula of the FYS movement to draw attention to its dependence on marketplace ideals, rationales, and strategies. We demonstrate some of the ways this vision of education impoverishes the university experience and suggest that, in order to be robust, FYS must focus first and foremost on cultivating rich understandings of the broader purposes of higher education and its relation to the good life, both for and beyond one's own fulfillment.
Canadian Society for the Study of Higher Education. P.O. Box 34091, RPO Fort Richmond, Winnipeg, MB R3T 5T5, Canada. Tel: 204-474-6404; Fax: 204-474-7561; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: North America
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A