Junior Seminar (TC 357) Requirements
Requirements for Junior Seminars
The Plan II junior seminar requirement is designed with two purposes: to allow our students to explore topics from different academic areas at an advanced level, and to train them in the research methodologies and writing skills needed for their required thesis. Graduate seminars frequently require from their students little more than participation and a massive research-based term paper. Plan II junior seminars sometimes emulate this format with awkward results unless the professor keeps in mind following, that Plan II students have interests and backgrounds in many different fields. Although they should all have good training in writing when they come to you, for most, this will be the first attempt at a research paper of more than 8 to 10 pages. Many will not be well versed in the research methodologies of different disciplines. They will not know what sort of work is expected in your field, and they may not know how to integrate a variety of presentations made by their peers.
We therefore make three recommendations:
If the primary requirement is a single long paper, make sure that the students receive graded feed-back from you on their writing by mid-semester on at least one short paper also requiring one rewrite of the short paper if possible. This is the latest useful time for students to learn what you expect of them and how far they must change in order to meet your expectations.
Avoid building seminar discussion exclusively around oral presentations based on student research. Our students may not know your field well enough to put the pieces together by themselves, and they want to learn something from you.
We do, however, hope that at least one oral presentation is required in every junior seminar. Each Plan II major is required to give a 10-15 minute oral presentation of his/her thesis at a Plan II Thesis Symposium. Oral presentations in the junior seminars are excellent preparation for this requirement.