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First Year Seminar

The Office of the Social Justice Initiative is responsible for overseeing the First Year Seminar class for all first year and transfer students who enroll at Philander Smith College. First Year Seminar is a two-semester requirement for all incoming first year and transferstudents. The purpose of this course is to acclimate students to college life; assist students on discovering who they are, their purpose, and greater role with their historical moment; orientate students 

Our Office has six learning Objectives that we achieve using our core values and office objectives. 


  1. Know Thy Self - Students will examine who they are within the context of their own family history; study and discuss the African and African American historical experience within the current global system; and explore various gender roles and identities in order to clarify their own sexuality.
    • Outcome 1: Students will be able to describe their family tree going back to three generations. 
    • Outcome : Students will be able to discuss how African and African American history relates to their current time period.
    • Outcome 3: Students will be able to express their own sexuality as well as distinguish between others. 
  2. Campus Culture - Students will be introduced to the rich and vibrate history of Philander Smith College; discover and utilize campus resources available to them to succeed; become knowledgeable of the college's mission, tradition, rituals, emblems and famous alumni. 
    • Outcome 1: Students will be able to recall important historical moments in Philander Smith College's history. 
    • Outcome 2: Students will be able to identify all of the major offices and resources on the campus for their social and academic development. 
    • Outcome 3: Students will be able to recall and discuss the campus mission, traditions, rituals, emblems, and famous alumni.
  3. Think Justice - Students will be introduced to a range of social justice issues or problems and analyze and discuss the social justice definition and institutional framework. 
    • Out come 1: Students will be able to explain and categorize the various social justice issues that exist in society. 
    • Outcome 2: Students will be able to define social justice and recite the four major steps.
  4. Service Learning - Students will identify their roles and responsibilities as engaged citizens by conducting a service learning activity. 
    • Outcome 1: Students will complete a service learning project in conjunction with a service agency. 
  5. College Transition - Students will adapt successfully to new environments and responsibilities, and will discover and utilize the resources available to them; and explore way how to make meaningful relationships with peers and educators.
    • Outcome 1: Students will identify the purpose and function of the campus resources and use these resources as a tool for success. 
    • Outcome 2: Students will be able to establish relationships with faculty, staff and peers. 
  6. Personal Development - Students will examine the values that influence their own decision making processes; take responsibility for their own learning and development in a manner consistent with academic integrity and the college's honor code; and become versed in life skills (i.e. time management, study skills, financial management) that will assist them in becoming a successful student and citizen.
    • Outcome 1: Students will construct a set of personal values that will guide their learning experiences
    • Outcome 2: Students will assess their understanding of academic integrity and what it means to be a Philander man or woman.
    • Outcome 3: Students will explain how life skills are critical towards becoming a successful student.