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Submit a New Seminar

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An Invitation to Teach
New Seminar Submission Process by Seminar Type
Types of IntroSems
Certifying Your IntroSem for Ways

An Invitation to Teach an Introductory Seminar

*Seminars offered in the current academic year will be automatically renewed for the next academic year as part of our curriculum development process. Please email introsems@stanford.edu if you would like to make any changes to an existing IntroSem's description or bio or to renew a seminar from one or more years ago.

Faculty and instructors from all seven schools of the University are eligible to teach an Introductory Seminar. Submitted seminars will be part of the curriculum contingent on department chair and dean approvals.

The seminar deadline for the following academic year is March 15th

New Seminar Submission Process

There is a slightly different process whether you are submitting a Frosh or a Sophomore IntroSem. Please follow the instructions for the type of seminar you would like to teach. You can learn more about the different types of IntroSems in the next section. 

Frosh IntroSems

Only Academic Council and University Medical Line faculty may teach Frosh IntroSems. Teaching is contingent upon your department's approval. Once your department has approved you to teach a new Frosh IntroSem, submit your seminar to the IntroSems program.

As your prepare your submission, you will need

  1. Title
  2. Co-instructor name and email, of applicable. No more than two instructors may teach an IntroSem.
  3. Primary Offering Department
  4. Intended Quarter of Instruction 
  5. A course description (150-300 words)
  6. A bio (150-300 words)

Submit a New Frosh Seminar

Sophomore IntroSems

New sophomore seminars require IntroSems Program approval before they can be submitted as a new seminar. To request program approval, submit your course proposal by February 1st. To complete the Sophomore IntroSem proposal, you will need

  1. A title
  2. A course description (150-300 words)
  3. A bio (150-300 words)
  4. To know which Way(s) you will apply for (all Sophomore IntroSems are required to fulfill at least one Way)
  5. To explain specifically how students will meet at least one learning outcome per chosen Way

Proposals will be assessed based on the likelihood they would attract students as a first offering and the degree to which they add diversity to the curriculum. 

Submit a Sophomore Seminar Proposal

Once You Have Submitted

  • After you submit a course, your materials will be edited for publication in the online IntroSems catalog and your course will be entered into the IntroSems' VCA, the database where students sign up for priority enrollment in IntroSems. During week 4 of the quarter prior to teaching, you will review student applications in the IntroSems' VCA and select students for your seminar.
  • If your department has already sent approval of a new seminar offering to the IntroSems program, please use the new seminar form to submit complete details of the course. 
  • If you'd like to consult about a new course or about redesigning a previously offered course, please contact Associate Director Lauri Dietz (lauridietz@stanford.edu). 

Types of Introductory Seminars

Three types of IntroSems exist and have different aims and eligibility and compensation models:

Frosh Seminars Sophomore Seminars Sophomore Dialogues
Provide first-year  students the opportunity to work closely with faculty and to develop an intellectual community with other students around a shared area of interest. Aim to personalize education for students considering a major, encourage a spirit of mentorship between students and faculty.
May have minimal prerequisites or be targeted to an audience of non-specialists
Provide a small-group introduction to a specific area of a department’s or program’s curriculum (maximum 6 students enrolled).
Are taught only by Academic Council or MCL faculty. May be taught by faculty who hold an Academic Council appointment; or by experienced and successful academic staff/lecturers, and staff or postdocs with ongoing teaching responsibilities at Stanford (such instructors typically hold teaching appointments as Academic Staff or Staff-Other Teaching/Research). Graduate students and non-teaching Post docs are ineligible at this time. May be taught by faculty who hold an Academic Council appointment; or by experienced and successful academic staff/lecturers, and staff or postdocs with ongoing teaching responsibilities at Stanford (such instructors typically hold teaching appointments as Academic Staff or Staff-Other Teaching/Research). Graduate students and non-teaching Post docs are ineligible at this time.
Are offered by departments in exchange for support, in the form of billets or funding on an annual basis. Frosh Seminars count as part of the normal teaching load for all participating faculty. Supplemental compensation may be available for overload teaching. Supplemental compensation may be available for overload teaching.
Are expected to meet university expectations regarding hours per week. A 3-unit Frosh Seminar typically meets twice weekly, in two 80-minute meetings, or 160 minutes of weekly in-class time. Sophomore Seminars have more flexibility in meeting times; however, the preferred schedule for a 3-unit Sophomore IntroSem is two 80-minute meetings per week, or 160 minutes of weekly in-class time. Sophomore Dialogues have more flexibility in meeting times; however, the preferred schedule is two 80-minute meetings per week, or 160 minutes of weekly in-class time.

Certifying Your IntroSem for Ways

Students highly favor courses that fulfill requirements and IntroSems are no exception. If your course incorporates both ‘thinking’ and ‘doing,’ and helps students consider intellectual issues from new perspectives, consider submitting your course for certification in the Ways Breadth Requirement. Submission for Ways (up to two) is strongly encouraged by the IntroSems program as seminars without Ways certification generally tend to attract fewer students.

So your IntroSem is certified in time for student outreach in the summer, try to submit your course for Ways in the spring prior to the year you are teaching your seminar, especially important if you plan to teach your IntroSem in Autumn or Winter. Please note that your department course administrator will need to create an Axess course record for you first for you to be able to submit for Ways. If you miss the spring submission deadline and your seminar is in WQ or SQ, please aim to submit your seminar by no later than the first Ways deadline of the new academic year in September so students may see new certifications in the catalog before their application deadlines later in the year. Review the submission process and see sample syllabi for each of the eight Ways on the Ways of Thinking, Ways of Doing website.