SFA 101 Freshman Seminar(Section 49)

Linked Course with ENG 131 and HIS133

Dr. Scharff * Fall2007

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Semester Schedule
Writing Assignment Topics

Syllabus for SFA 101 Freshman Seminar(Section 49)

Fall 2007

Note: some aspects of this syllabus (schedule etc.) are tenativeat this time.

Instructor: Dr. Scharff
EDU 215f
EDU 117c
TEC Office:
Steen Library 202H

Office Hours: M 10-11, 1-2 T 11-12:30, W 1-2, TH 11-12:30,or by appointment

Student Assistant: Andres Ostria
Phone: 713-870-7415
Email: ostriaa@titan.sfasu.edu


The freshman seminar is designed to increase student success incollege. Topics include time management, college note and testtaking, critical thinking skills, career planning, the nature of auniversity, and ways to become part of the college community. Whileultimate responsibility for success in college rests with thestudent, this course can provide fundamental assistance.


At the completion of this course, students should be ableto:


All students will receive a 2007 SFA 101 Handbook andcalendar in class at the beginning of the semester. Information inthis handbook will be used for class discussion, and be the basis ofquestions on the exam. You will also receive The Keys to CollegeSuccess. Make sure you get them, read them, and understand them.Please bring them to class each day.


Attendance and participation is mandatory and will determine 25%of your final grade. You will lose 2.5% of your grade each time youhave an undocumented absence. You may also lose partial points if youattend, but you do not fully participate in the activities (unlessthere is a documented reason why you are unable to participate forsome reason).

There will be four evening / out-of-class events. The firstevening event will the SFA 101 convocation (Thursday Aug 30th, at4:00 p.m.); the second, (a fine arts event), will be chosen by theclass; the third will be a 'pizza' social on September 11th (5-6pm);and the fourth will be a trip to the observatory (Wednesday, November14th, 7:00 pm). You must attend all four of the evening events. Therewill be no class on four scheduled days (see calendar below) tocompensate for the required attendance outside of the normal classtime. Early in the semester you will also have a time scheduled tomeet with Dr. Scharff; at this time you will have a digital phototaken to put up on the class web page. Finally, at least once, youwill meet informally with Andres.

A documented excuse is one that is verifiable concerning somemedical, family, or personal emergency. You will be required tosubmit the documentation. Oversleeping, leaving town for weddings,concerts, etc. are not considered acceptable excuses.


There will be one exam during the semester. It will be on October17th, and it will include multiple choice questions, short answerquestions, and one essay question. The exam will be based on materialin the readings and classes. The exam will not be particularlydifficult if you have done the readings and attended class. Inaddition to testing you on the material, this exam will give us achange to see how you do on different types of questions and to makesuggestions to you for when you take exams in other classes. Yourgrade on this exam will determine 15% of your final grade. There willbe no final exam.


There will be four short, reflection writing assignments for thisclass(see schedule below). Two times during the semester (papers #1and #4) you will write the paper outside of class and turn in 1.5-2page typed papers (~400 words each). The other two papers (#2 and #3)will also be required, but they will be hand-written and discussed inclass.

A list of paper topics for the ones you write outside of class isavailable on the class web page (WritingAssignment Topics). Note that the list is divided into twosections: choices for paper #1 and choices for paper #4. When writingPaper #1, you should write based on your personal experiences /knowledge and reflections; no outside resources are required. Paper#4 in our SFA 101 class will link with your 4th paper in your Englishclass. For your English class, you will choose one of the topics inthe second list below and answer the topic questions based on yourpersonal experiences / knowledge and reflections. You will receivefeedback on that paper from Ms. Fox. Then, for the SFA 101 paper, youwill make corrections based on feedback from Ms. Fox, and you willadditionally work in another ~half page (~100 words) of text based oninformation you learned in our SFA 101 class (you will receivehandouts in some cases or you can refer to your class notes).

Papers #1 and #4 must be turned in typed (there are severalcomputer labs across campus that you may use at no charge). Propersentence structure and spelling are required. Superficial papers (anyof them) will not receive full credit. Otherwise, as long as yourpaper is a reasonable attempt to follow the directions, it will beconsidered correct. The SFA 101 writing assignments will be read onlyby the instructor and student assistant, but we may discuss some ofthe general topics later in class. Your grades on these papers willdetermine 40% of your final grade (10% each paper). Late papers willbe penalized (-0.5% for later that day, -1% for each subsequentday).

In-Class and Email 5-Minute Thought Jots:

Ten times this semester, you will be asked to jot down yourthoughts in response to a question linked with the class discussion(you should write approximately half a page). This may be done at thebeginning or end of class to promote discussion, or they may be askedand responded to via email to the class email list. There will be noright or wrong answers, but you must answer the questions in acomplete, thoughtful manner. By this, I mean a response that revealsyour thoughts or ideas, and an explanation for your statement. Inother words, if you state an opinion, also include why you hold thatopinion.

Each response will be worth 2% of your grade, for a total of 20%after you complete all ten. Superficial answers may not receive fullcredit. If you have a documented excuse, you will be allowed to makeup the missed response.


This is a graded course. Based on your assignment, exam, andattendance points, you will receive a letter grade.

What will classes belike?

Classes will use a variety of formats: lectures, small groupdiscussions, guest speakers, visits to campus facilities, exercises,questions and answers and opportunities to simply express what youare feeling or thinking.Whenever possible, we will make directconnections to the other linked courses.

In order for this class to be beneficial to you and others, attendevery class on time, turn in all writing assignments on time, readthe assigned materials, participate in individual and groupactivities and discussions, and treat everyone in this class withrespect and courtesy.

Course Complaints

For any college course, complaints or problems should first bediscussed with the course instructor. Difficulties can usually beresolved there. If the complaint cannot be resolved, the next personto see is the department chair. For SFA 101 courses, the chairpersonis Dr. Tim Clipson (468-2188).

Important University Dates -- Fall2007

Aug 30 -- last day to add a course
Sept 3 -- Labor Day Holiday
Sept. 22 -- Parents Day
Oct 24 -- last day to drop a course / last day to withdraw without WPor WF
October 26-27 -- Homecoming Activities
November -- registration for spring classes
Nov 21-25 --Thanksgiving Holiday (begins at 8:00 am on Wednesday)
Nov 26 -- last day to withdraw from enrollment
Dec 10-14 -- final exam week
Dec 15 -- Commencement
Jan 14 -- Spring Classes begin

Important THEAInformation

If you have a non-passing grade on the THEA for one of the areas,you may schedule a time to take the computerized version of theAccuplacer Test on campus. The scores of this test can be used toreplace the THEA scores. Until you pass the THEA you will need toenroll in developmental courses. For more information contact theAdvising Center (468-1754, Ferguson 291).

Semester Schedule

The following reflects planned topics for each class date. Becauseopen-ended discussion will be encouraged, actual topics may vary somefrom below. Paper due dates, the exam date, and the evening activitydates can be considered fixed (unless some emergency comes up).






Aug 27 / Aug 29

 Intro to course & each other

Info Lab I in Library

(email / Pipeline / Internet etc.)

AARC information


Sept 3 / 5

 Labor Day Holiday

Goals / Calendar use / Time Management (bring copies of all syllabi to class)


Sept 10 / 12


Note Taking: In class and while studying

(Paper #1 due)

Study Strategies

Exam Strategies


Sept 17 / 19


Campus Tour and

Survey activity (English Link)

Health Issues / Drugs

Class Activity (English Link)


Sept 24 / 26


"Tell me something I don't know" (movie)


Time, Money, and Stress Management

Oct 1 / 3

Panel Discussion


In-class Writing Assignment and Discussion

(Paper #2)


Oct 8 / 10

Guest Speaker

Information Literacy / Psych Computer Lab (ED 127) (History Link)


Oct 15 / 17


SFA fun facts Review Activity

Exam in Class

Oct 22 / 24


Guest Speaker: Relationships and STDs


No class due to evening event

Oct 29 / 31


Knowing yourself: personality inventories


In-class Writing Assignment

and Discussion (Paper #3)


Nov 5 / 7


Guest speaker: Registration Sherry Wells

Panel Discussion


Nov 12 / 14



Guest Speaker: Multicultural Center

No class due to evening event


Nov 19 / 21


Advising questions / Calculating Grades

(Bring your proposed schedule)

(Paper #4 due: English Link)


Thanksgiving Holiday


Nov 26 / 28


Managing the end of the semester

Course Evaluations (ED 127)

No class due to evening event


Dec 3 / 5

Bowling Party

No class due to evening event

 Additional Dates toRemember:

SFA 101 Convocation: Thursday Aug 30, at 4:00 p.m

Linked course Pizza: Tuesday, September 11, (5:00 - 6:00)

Observatory Trip: Wednesday, November 14th, 7:00 pm

Fine Arts Event: to be voted on by class


Writing Topics

Below are the two lists of several possible paper topics fromwhich you may choose for Papers #1 and #4. Choose a topic from thefirst list for Paper #1 and a topic from the second list for Paper#4. See the above section on Writing Assignments for more informationon the papers.

Papers #1 and #4 are due at the beginning of class on theindicated due dates.


List 1 (Choose one of the following for Paper #1)

* Sometimes being in a new situation (i.e. away from home atcollege) can open your mind to new people and experiences. Writeabout a friend that you have made here at SFA that, prior to cominghere, you would not have thought would end up being your friend.Explain why you previously believed that and what changed yourmind.

* Go to a football game. Describe some of the different people andactions you observe. Explain what makes some of the people seeminteresting / attractive to you (as people to get to know, notnecessarily as dating possibilities) and makes others not attractiveto you.

* Interview an RA for your dorm. What are his/her thoughts aboutthe job? What are two dorm situations that he/she hopes not to haveto deal with during the year? What is his/her favorite thing that hashappened on the job?

* Interview your roommate. Find out about his/her background andthings you have in common. Discover some differences also. What doyou think your relationship will be like in the semester/ in thefuture?

* Volunteer to help at one of the agencies around town or at anevent on campus. Write about your experience. Don't just summarizewhat you did; include your impressions and feelings about theexperience.

* Volunteer at a local nursing home. Sit and talk with an elderlyperson and find out about his/her past. For example, what experiencesdid he/she have? What does he/she like to do now?

* Give the gift of life and donate your blood to the Blood Center.What were your feelings before, during and after your donation? Wasthis your first time? Turn in proof of donation along with yourpaper.

* Involvement is a large part of college life. If you decide tojoin an organization, describe your thoughts on the organization, thepeople who are involved, the pros and cons of joining, and what youhope to get out of the experience.

List 2 (Choose one of the following for Paper#4)

* Take a 30-45 minute day-time walk through the arboretum andalong LaNana Creek with a friend (stay in area around campus).Describe in detail two things along the way that caught yourattention. Assess your thoughts and feelings before, during, and atthe end of the walk. Did you sense a change in focus, concentration,relaxation, or general energy level?

* Sometimes the responsible thing to do may feel strange orawkward (or it may not!). Go out and buy a condom. Turn in thereceipt with a date on it, and a summary of your thoughts before,during, and after you bought the condom.

* Eliminate your favorite food item for one week. What was it likegoing without it for those 7 days? Was it hard to resist the urge?Did you go through withdrawal? This is only fair if it is a food thatyou eat regularly.

* Reflect on yourself. What do you currently believe are yourstrengths and weaknesses? How have they influenced your academicendeavors this semester? Do they match well with what you believe areyour professional and personal goals? Explain for each type ofgoal.

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