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Freshman Seminar: COR 1203.021 - Imagine: Exploring Diversity Through a Pop Culture Lens

Sample Syllabi Only
Fall 2009

LV 9.113 : MW 9:30-10:45am

Office Location:
Office Hours: By appointment (must confirm with instructor via email at least 2 business days in advance)

Phone: 210-458-5170
E-mail Address:

Peer Leader:

COR 1203 Course Description

Freshman Seminar is a 3-hour college credit course that will satisfy UTSA’s Core Curriculum requirement for the social and behavioral domain. This class will count toward your degree at UTSA and will also count toward your grade point average (GPA). The focus of this class is on society and self with topics including: self-assessment/goal clarification, time/task management, effective study skills, and diversity awareness. Students will engage in critical thinking/problem solving activities, and practice oral, written, and electronic communication skills.

Course Objectives

Discover resources on campus to assist you in meeting your needs as a student.

Understand the challenges of university life and identify the adjustments and issues related to the university experience.

Develop strategies for improving time management, organization and reducing stress.

Determine your individual learning style so you can draw on your particular strengths as well as adapt to and develop skills using other styles.

Discuss & examine the importance of developing analytical, creative, and practical thinking skills.

Assess personal beliefs, priorities and values.

Explore different social identities (ethnicity, gender, religion, class, etc.) in order to examine our own beliefs and values while learning to appreciate the beliefs and values of others as well.


Suskind, Ron. "A Hope in the Unseen." New York: Broadway Books, 1998.


You must be able to use your UTSA e-mail account. If you are unable to access your account, contact the Multidisciplinary Lab or Business Building Computer Lab for assistance.

Attendance / Participation

It is your responsibility to attend class everyday. Learning takes place as a result of active participation in activities and discussion, therefore, participation is a significant part of your grade. In order to receive full credit for attendance and participation, students must attend each class, arrive on time, be prepared, participate in class activities and discussion, treat others with respect, work collaboratively with group members, and demonstrate a commitment to academic success.

Absences and tardiness are not acceptable unless there are of extenuating circumstances that are previously discussed and approved by the Instructor. Each unexcused absence will result in the loss of 10 attendance/participation points. Tardiness of 10 minutes or more will count as an unexcused absence.

Classroom Expectations

Students are expected to conduct themselves in a manner that is conducive to learning. To assure all students have the opportunity to gain from time spent in class, students are prohibited from engaging in any form of distraction. Inappropriate behavior in the classroom shall result, minimally, in a request to leave the class. Inappropriate behavior can result in a referral to the Office of Student Judicial Affairs for disciplinary action. No electronic devices (phones, laptops, iPods, etc.) may be used during class time without the permission of the Instructor.

Academic Integrity

According to the Student Code of Conduct, Section 203(B): “Scholastic dishonesty” includes, but is not limited to cheating, plagiarism, collusion, falsifying academic records and any act designed to give unfair advantage to the student, or the attempt to commit such an act.  Participation in academic dishonesty is subject to strict disciplinary penalties (Student Code of Conduct, Section 301).                                                                                      

Late Work

Late assignments/papers/projects will not be accepted unless prior arrangements have been made with the Instructor.

Peer Leader: Peer Leaders are successful, upper-class students who are outstanding academically, involved in campus life, and have a desire to help new freshmen in Learning Communities manage their transition from high school to UTSA. Our Peer Leader will attend all class meetings, assist with the course when appropriate and hold one-on-one meetings with students. He will serve as the bridge between the instructors and students, assist in moderating and facilitating class discussion, communicate with students outside of class and provide feedback to the instructors. He will also serve as a freshman advocate, provide information about campus resources, and serve as a role model for academic, co-curricular, and leadership behaviors.


Attendance/Participation 50points
LC Events (3 x 10) 30points
Quizzes(2 x 10) 20 points
Reading Project 20 points
Individual Presentation 20 points
Exam 1 / Midterm 50points
Assignments(10 x 10) 100 points
ResearchPaper 50 points
GroupProject 50 points
Essay 50 points
Exam 2 / Final 60 points
Total Possible 500 points


Your grade will be calculated on point total:
450 -- 500 A
400 -- 449 B
350 -- 399 C
300 -- 349 D
0 -- 299 F

Description of Course Requirements

Peer Leader Meetings: Each student is required to meet with our Peer Leader at least 3 times throughout the semester (September, October, November). Each meeting will last 30 minutes & the meeting location is up to the student and peer leader to decide upon. These meetings will count as an assignment & will count towards your overall grade.

LC Events: Students are required to attend at least 3 events sponsored by Learning Communities. A list of options will be provided during the first day of class. In order to receive credit for these activities, students must submit a red attendance slip (handed out at the activity/event) & a short (one page) reaction paper briefly describing the event, why they did or did not enjoy the event & if they would recommend it to their peers.

Quizes: We will have 2 short quizzes to assist in the understanding of the common reading book: A Hope in the Unseen.

Summer Reading Project: Students must complete one of the Summer Reading Assignments provided to them by the Learning Communities Office.

Individual Presentation: Each student will make a brief (5-10 minute) presentation in order to share their Summer Reading Project with the class.

Exam 1 / Midterm: We will have one comprehensive exam covering A Hope in the Unseen.

Assignments: Throughout the course, students will be given 10 short assignments to be completed either in class or for homework.  Assignments will involve the application and practice of the skills you are learning in class.

Research Paper: Students will be required to write one formal research paper using at least 3 different sources & MLA format. The paper must be at least 5 pages & the topic options will be discussed in class.

Group Project: After the individual research paper has been completed, students will work in groups to present their particular topic to the class.

Essay: Every student enrolled in a Freshman Seminar class participates in the Summer Common Reading Essay Contest. The instructors will choose the top two essays in the class. These students will be honored by participating in a private reception with Ron Suskind when he visits UTSA on Thursday, November 19, 2009.

Exam 2 / Final: We will have a final exam which will be comprehensive of all subjects covered throughout the semester.

* Be sure to save all returned tests, assignments, and handouts for future reference.

COR 1203 Schedule*

Wednesday, August 26 Introductions – Class/Textbooks
Review syllabus
Review Summer Reading Project assignment & presentation
Schedule Peer Leader Meeting #1
Letter to Self due 8/31
Monday, August 31 Guest Speaker: Michelle Montanio – “True Colors”
Letter to Self Due (Assignment 1)
Study for quiz: Hope Ch. 1-7
Wednesday, September 2 Quiz: Hope Ch. 1-7
Hope Discussion Ch. 1-7
Discuss Professor Visit Assignment
Work on Summer Reading Project
Monday, September 7 LABOR DAY Study for quiz: Hope Ch.8-14
Work on Summer Reading Project
Wednesday, September 9 Quiz: Hope Ch. 8-14
Hope Discussion Ch. 8-14
Summer Reading Project Due
Prepare for individual presentation
Monday, September 14 Summer Reading Project Presentations
Prepare for individual presentation
Wednesday, September 16 Summer Reading Project Presentations Study for Exam 1: Hope
Volunteer Fair 10:30-1:30 UC (optional)
Monday, September 21 Review for Exam 1 Study for Exam 1
Wednesday, September 23 Discuss Essay Assignment
Exam 1 (Hope in the Unseen)
Monday, September 28  Library Visit (Assignment 2)  
Wednesday, September 30 Guest Speaker: Keri Shiplet “Complete  your Education…Get Involved!”
Schedule Peer Leader Meeting #2
Student Organization research
Monday, October 5 Watch “Cedric’s Journey” ABC News Nightline & Discuss
Discuss Research Paper & Group Project
Student Organization research due (Assignment 3)
Professor visit questionnaire due 10/7
Wednesday, October 7 Professor Visit DUE (Assignment 4)
Class Activity/Discussion: Cedric’s Music
Discuss Personal Playlist
10/10: LC Service Day (optional)
Create personal playlist
Wednesday, October 14 Present personal playlists
HOPE Rough Draft Due
(with Writing Lab corrections)
HOPE Essay – Final Copy    DUE 10/21
Monday, October 19 Class discussion & activity: Personal Values & Beliefs (Assignment 6) Hope Essay – Final Copy DUE 10/21
Wednesday, October 21 HOPE ESSAY DUE – FINAL COPY  
Monday, October 26 Rowdy Cents: Making Sense of Money Matters
Budget Exercise (Assignment 7)
 Research paper due 11/4
Wednesday, October 28  Guest speaker: Carrie Lunceford, “The Stressed Out Freshman”
Time/Stress Management activity (Assignment 8)
Schedule Peer Leader Meeting #3
Research paper due 11/4
Monday, November 2 Class Discussion & Activity: Diversity in the Media Research paper due 11/4
Wednesday, November 4 RESEARCH PAPER DUE
Work on Group Projects (in class)
 Group Projects
Monday, November 9 Work on Group Projects (out of class) Group Projects
Wednesday, November 11 Group Project Presentations  
Monday, November 16 Group Project Presentations  
Wednesday, November 18 Guest Speaker – Kelsey Bratcher, Office of Student Activities, Internet Safety - “Your Space or Mine”  11/19: Author Visit – Ron Suskind visits UTSA (optional)
Monday, November 23 Letter to Self Part II / Reflection on First Semester (Assignment 9)  
Wednesday, November 25 No class - THANKSGIVING HOLIDAY ENJOY!!!!
Monday, November 30 Movie Bring any remaining LC Event reaction papers to 12/2 class
Wednesday, December 2 Movie
All LC EVENT reaction papers due
December 1
FINAL EXAM 7:30-10:00 AM  


* Some assignments/due dates may be subject to change due to the needs of the class.