Undergraduate Academic Affairs

Why Teach a UW Collegium Seminar

From the beginning, the Freshman Collegium Seminar program has been animated by two goals:

  1. Help freshmen become participants in the academic life of the university by connecting them with our very best researchers and instructors early in their college career, and
  2. Provide a campus-wide community where faculty dedicated to undergraduate education can meet and learn from one another.

We hope that all participants in the Collegium Seminar program will share these two goals. But if these are not motive enough to teach a Collegium Seminar, here are some other reasons that Collegium faculty routinely cite.

  • Collegium Seminars are a great way to draw in students who have not yet selected a major or identified themselves with a particular academic path. This can mean that if you teach a great seminar, many students will follow up with more courses in your field or department.
  • Collegium Seminars get you out of your routine. You can teach on a topic that you are passionate about, even if it’s not in your discipline. Or, you can stay in your discipline but approach the topic from a new angle.
  • Collegium Seminars get you away from your usual colleagues. Not that there’s anything wrong with them, but it’s fun and interesting to meet colleagues from other departments and disciplines. The most common comment at Collegium gatherings? “Wow. You do that? That sounds fascinating.”
  • Collegium Seminars are wonderful spaces for experimenting and trying out new course ideas. They are small, will not take a lot of your time, and don’t have to fit the curricular needs of your particular department. Moreover, the other Collegium faculty instructors are always willing to trade ideas and share methods of instruction. Creativity is encouraged!
  • Collegium Seminars are designed to minimize their impact on your busy schedule. One credit means only a 50 minute commitment of classroom time a week. Graded on a cr/nc scale reduces the time you spend on grading. Instead, put your time and effort into the best parts of teaching: exploring the material, leading discussions, helping students discover the excitement of ideas and issues that are important to you and them.
  • We provide $1,000 compensation for each seminar you teach. We know the money isn’t the main thing, but it’s nice nonetheless.

Need more reasons? Contact the Collegium Seminar program or talk to a current Collegium Seminar instructor. We can be reached at seminars@uw.edu.