LAS Seminars

All students enroll each year in Liberal Arts and Sciences Seminars, the heart of Dominican’s Core Curriculum. The seminar program is centered on questions that are both universal and urgent, and that engage the whole person throughout life. The seminars are designed to be integrative, helping students see and articulate connections between information and ideas originating in other courses; between their coursework and their lives beyond the classroom; and between their own lives and the lives of others—past, present, and future.

Students choose from a variety of seminars according to their class standing that explore a common theme:

LAS Seminars are taught by skilled instructors from various disciplines who help students consider alternative approaches to the general themes. But the seminars share several features in that they are courses in which students:

  • Investigate problems
  • Design projects
  • Explore resources
  • Share findings

Simply put, they are courses in which students learn with and from each other.

The seminars are thematic, building on prior semesters, and the program is centered on questions that are both universal and urgent, and that engage the whole person throughout life. Because all seminars at each class level share a common general topic and a common text or texts, they create a shared Dominican experience by embodying the distinctive community of learners each student has joined.

Finally, the seminars are designed to be integrative, helping students see and articulate connections between information and ideas originating in other courses; between their coursework and their lives beyond the classroom; and between their own lives and the lives of others―past, present, and future.

Specifically, the seminars help students:

  • Develop their skills in critical thinking, reading, writing, and speaking;
  • Synthesize knowledge drawn from other courses;
  • Learn to collaborate with others in building knowledge and understanding; and
  • Reflect on matters intellectual, moral, and spiritual.

Students will “take” from their seminars no more and no less than they “give.” Students gain new information, new insights, and new perspectives by:

  • Engaging actively with the seminar materials and the ideas of classmates,
  • Participating thoughtfully in class discussions, and by
  • Completing diligently their portion of the work of the group.

More important, though, they gain a "new" way to learn and respect for the power of the mind that, we believe, they will carry with them into their lives beyond the classroom. The LAS Seminars are at the heart of everything Dominican does in the university’s efforts to guide the new generation of students who will create a more just and humane world.

Note: LAS Seminar faculty have formally agreed that they will base their course syllabi and assignments on the expectation that students will devote to the work of the course an average of two hours outside of class for each hour in class, i.e., an average of six hours per week for a three credit-hour course. A student may not use the Satisfactory/Fail option for any Liberal Arts and Sciences Seminars.