Life of the Mind

The First Year Seminar seeks to introduce incoming students to the richness of the intellectual life, particularly as this life is shared in the Scranton community. During a given academic term, many, many opportunities are available on campus and in the broader city environment for students to engage with this life. If students can become aware of this life, and experience it directly on a few occasions in that first term, they can come to form habits that will enrich their four years here. Which this in mind, the FYS encourages students to attend various “Life of the Mind events” over the course of their first term.

Life of the Mind Events

Life of the Mind Events can take a great variety of forms: lectures, panel discussions, plays, concerts, films that provoke thought and discussion, discussions with special university guests, simulations, etc., etc. Students are encouraged to check campus bulletin boards or electronic posting on a regular basis to see what is available. The CALLENDER available on this website keeps track of many of these events, listing titles, time and location.

Life of the Mind Requirements

The FYS includes the formal requirement that students attend at least two “Life of the Mind events” during the term. Since opportunities are available for life of the mind events almost daily, this is an easy requirement to fulfill.

  • KSOM’s “Passport” and PCPS’s “Tapestry” programs, which dovetail with the “Life of the Mind” feature of the First Year Seminar, sometimes specify which events students need to attend, and students sometimes need to “swipe in” to these events with their student ID. These rules apply specifically to students in those colleges, and not to all students. FYS instructors do not typically keep track of these swipes. Instead, the Life of the Mind requirement is administered in their sections in a way instructors believes best fits their particular course.

  • Many FYS instructors require attendance at more than two events. Also, they may specify specific events their students should attend, or a certain kind of event. FYS students should consult with their individual instructor about his or her policy regarding Life of the Mind events.

  • The Ignatian inspired vision of the FYS encourages students not only to attend but also actively engage with material presented at life of the mind events. This includes reflection about what was presented, which can include reasoned criticism, further questioning, and emotional or spiritual response. In most FYS students will be asked to write out this response and turn it in to their instructor.