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Southern Oregon University

USEM MainWelcome to University Seminar, the first-year course that anchors University Studies (SOU’s general education curriculum) and your academic career. Our mission is to enable you to develop analytic, communication, quantitative, and information skills while introducing you to the expectations of university study. Our three-term, topic-based seminars engage you as an active learner and help you form a strong bond with your peers while you talk, write, and think about challenging concepts and ideas.

University Seminar (USem) is required for entering students who do not have the equivalent of Writing (WR) 121 and 122. Although sections have different topics, all students work toward SOU’s general education Foundational strands of Communication, Critical Thinking, and Information Literacy. Faculty have designed the three-term course around readings and activities that explore a focused subject or issue, but all students build the required academic skills through similar structured sequences of experiences. Students engage with a chosen topic and progress beyond unsupported assertions to reasoned argumentation and dialogue. The instructor will also serve as a first-year faculty advisor, ensuring frequent and informative communication between faculty and students.

Successful completion of the three terms earns 12 credits: 8 in writing and 4 in communication. In comparing the University Seminar experience with traditional communication and writing courses, the following guideline might be useful: successful completion of each USEM term (101, 102, 103) with a C- or better is equivalent to 3 credits of introductory writing and 1 credit of communication. Only after completing the whole sequence do students receive all 12 credits in writing and communication.

University Seminar also administers the lower division WR 122 and WR 227 courses. In rare cases, students may need to complete their University Studies written and oral communication requirements through WR 122 and an additional communication course. Students should contact the Undergraduate Studies Office, in the CS (West) Building on the 2nd floor, at 541-552-6260.