CRC First-Year Seminar: Exploring the Foundations of Liberal Education
Integrated Liberal Studies (ILS) 138, Sec. 16, Fall 2015
CLASS MEETINGS: Thursdays, 1-2:15 (Barnard Buffet Room)



Stephanie Larson

Office Hours (Mondays, 3:30-5:30, Thursdays 11-12:30, HCW 6189)

Course page:

Class list:

Peer Mentor

Lindsey Kermgard

Office Hours (Mondays and Wednesdays,3:30-4:30,Rhetas)

Faculty Director of CRC

John Zumbrunnen

Assistant Director of CRC

Jasmine Clay

CRC Lead Peer Mentors

Sydney Heyler

Daniel Kirschbaum

CRC Mission:

As a partnership between University Housing and the College of Letters and Science, Chadbourne Residential College is a vibrant community of students, staff, and faculty committed to interdisciplinary learning and civic engagement for the purpose of developing responsible, invested citizens in our local and global communities.

Course Description:

Our hope and intention is that this class will help you become a truly successful and happy college student who is also on her/his way to becoming, in the words of the CRC mission statement, “a responsible, invested citizen of our local and global communities.”   CRC’s roots are in the tradition of “liberal arts education.” But what does that mean?   We’d like to take a journey into the question with you, so we start this course by unpacking and broadening conceptions (and misconceived stereotypes) of what “liberal education” is. Also, what does living in a Learning Community dedicated to the “life of the mind” mean to you? We’ll help you explore how engagement within CRC can enrich your life at the University, and make it tons of fun too.

Accessibility Statement:

Your success is important to us. We recognize that everyone will need some form of accommodations for this course and Stephanie and Lindsey are dedicated to ensuring that this classroom becomes an inclusive and affirming space for all abilities, learning styles, and life circumstances. We are committed to the full participation of all students enrolled in ILS 138. Students are expected to contact Stephanie with any circumstances that may affect their participation in the course. These may be personal, health-related, family-related issues, or other concerns. The sooner your instructors are aware of these accommodations the sooner we can work together to develop strategies for adapting assignments to meet both your needs and the requirements of the course.

The McBurney Disability Resource Center, located at 702 W. Johnson Street (phone number: 263-2741), provides resources for students with disabilities. You will need to provide documentation of disability in order to receive official university services and accommodations.

Grievance Procedures:

If you feel you’ve experienced discrimination or unfair practices in this or any other course, you should report your experience. For this course, please contact CRC’s Assistant Director Jasmine Clay at or CRC Faculty Director John Zumbrunnen at If your concern is not appropriately addressed, Jasmine or John will provide you contact information for the appropriate people to contact.

Academic Misconduct:

As noted on the Dean of Students Office Academic Integrity page, there are severe repercussions from the university for academic misconduct. If you are accused of misconduct, you may have questions and concerns about the process. If so, you should feel free to call SAJA at (608) 263-5700 or send an email to 

UW-Madison Mission Statement

 (1) Individual meetings with Peer Mentor: The most beneficial part of having a Peer Mentor is to ask questions and have conversations with someone who’s been in your place very recently. At least twice during the semester, you will set up a meeting with Lindsey to both discuss your Significant Learning Project, and to have friendly conversation with an older peer who will be happy to discuss anything inside or out of class that might strike you.

(2) Faculty Interview: Talking with your instructors is one of the best (and most under-utilized) aspects of a college education. This assignment is designed to help you expand your comfort zone and begin to get to know your professors. You will conduct an informal interview for 15-20 minutes with one of your faculty members outside of class. Office hours are a great way to complete this assignment, or perhaps you’ll make an appointment. You will write up your conversation and share the experience during class. We’ll talk more about this assignment before you select someone to interview. Additional information will be provided.

(3) Exploring Identity & Diversity: Our personal identities shape our primary points of view and ways of experiencing the world. College graduates are working in increasingly diverse and multi-lingual workplaces and social worlds. We’ll explore the concepts of identity, social justice, “isms” (racism, sexism, xenophobia, classism, etc.), and privilege as a way to better understand ourselves as well as listen and hear each other.

(4) Networking and Personal Exploration: A part of our class will be dedicated to exploring more about your individual interests and how they apply to your potential major(s) and/or future career. We will integrate campus resources to help us explore this topic and touch on a subject that many find confusing during their college experience.

(5) The Common Read 2015 The Glass Castle The themes and outcomes of this course are complimented by our texts. Passages of the 2015 CRC Common Read, The Glass Castle, will be assigned each week to correspond with themes, discussions and activities that will be taking place in class.

Course Requirements and Grade Distribution

Participation: 50%

Writing: 25%

Significant Learning Project: 25%

Late Policy: One point reduction per day after the assignment is due.

Participation – 50%

  • Attendance: Your presence in class is essential to your learning and to that of the other members of the course. It is expected that you come to class on-time and stay for its duration. If you must miss class we should be informed within 48 hours and that includes notification of the reason prior to your absence whenever possible. You may not have more than one absence without your grade being affected.
  • Reading, preparation, research: Your education is up to you, therefore learning how to prepare for discussions in class, being prepared to actively participate in those discussions, and following up after class are crucial to your learning in this course and in college. Reading is also an indispensable component to improving your writing.
  • Co-curricular Experiences: Your attendance at the selected Distinguished Lecture Series and CRC events will enhance your learning and provide grist for reflection. We will recommend that you attend certain events, but creating your community is ultimately up to YOU. We encourage you to pursue your passions AND try new things.

Writing –25%

Writing is itself an act of reflection, and reflection is a necessary component to learning. In this course, we’ll complete short pieces of writing that each build toward the final Significant Learning Project. We expect that your writing will become increasingly insightful, reflective, and honest. Improvement and growth is the key! Our writing topics will include critical self-reflection, readings, class discussions, and other experiences.

Significant Learning Project – 25%

We will discuss this project in detail in the first month of class. A full description will be provided at a later date.

Required Texts (note that all texts will be provided free or electronically!):
Grading and Assignments Outline
  1. Attendance and Participation (50%)
  • 1 class/week & 12 weeks
  • 8 points/class
  • 4 points (2 points per meeting) for Peer Mentor/Instructor meetings
    • Total= 100 points
  1. A Liberal Arts Education and Only Connect Reflection (12.5%)—DUE WEEK 3
  • 25 points
  • Write a reflection on a Liberal Arts Education and Bill Cronon’s Only Connect
    • 400-450 words, 12 pt. font, double spaced
  1. Faculty Interview Reflection Paragraph (5%) —DUE WEEK 8
  • 10 points
  • Write 1 paragraph reflecting on the Faculty Interview
    • 150 to 200 words, 12 pt. font, double spaced
  1. Identity Reflection (7.5%)—DUE WEEK 11
  • 15 points
  • 200-250 words, 12 pt. font, double spaced
  1. Significant Learning Project (SLP) (25%)—DUE WEEK 12
  • 50 points
  • Pre-approved and discussed with both Instructor and PM
  • 1000 words, 12pt. font, double spaced
  • OR a project can be done (Example: art work, performance, music, poetry…)
    • ~500 word writing portion should be included

** CRC EVENT/ DLS LECTURE: REFLECTION ASSIGNMENT **                                         

(Can be used once in leeway of missing one class or once as 8 POINTS EXTRA CREDIT)

  • CRC Event must be approved by both Instructor and Peer Mentor
  • 100-150 word summary and reflection on the event
  • 12 pt. font, double spaced

A: 93-100%

AB: 88-92%

B: 83-87%

BC: 78-82%

C: 70-77%

D: 60-69%

F: 60% and below

See course schedule.