Your First Semester at SMCM: Core Seminars
The Core Seminars (CORE 101 and CORE 301) are an integral part of the LEAD Curriculum at St. Mary’s College of Maryland. As small, discussion-focused classes, they create a shared academic experience for all new SMCM students.
Core Seminars also provide a foundation for getting to know the College community. Each seminar has a Peer Mentor, who helps new students acclimate to SMCM inside and outside of the classroom. Seminar students also participate in at least five co-curricular events or activities on campus — we call this requirement “5th Hour.” Whether it involves attendance at an athletics event, a concert, or a lecture, 5th Hour helps students become active on campus and integrated into our community.
First Year Students complete CORE 101
First-year students (i.e., those who have not attended another college or university as well as students who have attended another institution but are transferring in 24 or fewer credits) are required to take CORE 101 during their first semester at SMCM.
Transfer Students complete CORE 301
Transfer students (defined as students with more than 24 credits) are required to take CORE 301 during their first semester at SMCM.
Focus on Fundamentals
While seminars vary by topic, each one focuses on the fundamental liberal arts skills students will use throughout their years at St. Mary’s College, no matter what their major is. These skills include:
- Critical Thinking: Critical thinking occurs when we ask questions about what we know. Seminar students practice their critical thinking skills by considering texts and contexts, and by evaluating the consistency, coherence, importance, and originality of ideas.
- Information Literacy: Information literacy skills support students’ critical thinking. In their Core Seminar, students get to know the library and learn to use electronic resources effectively. Students identify when information is needed, and practice how to locate, analyze, evaluate, and use various forms of information.
- Written Expression: All seminar students develop their ability to articulate a coherent, creative, and compelling line of thought in writing, with attention to language and rhetorical context. Writing in each seminar puts critical thinking and information literacy skills to work to communicate complex ideas effectively.
- Oral Expression: Students in Core Seminars are also expected to practice their oral expression skills. Through both informal discussions and formal presentations, students work on delivering a coherent, creative, and compelling line of thought that’s tailored to their audience.
In February 2021, the St. Mary’s College Board of Trustees approved a reimagining of Core 101/301 courses to be more writing intensive and humanities focused. The courses are under development with an anticipated roll out in Fall 2022.