Learn More about the FGSS Fall 2021 Gateway Courses

Learn more about these FGSS Fall 2021 gateway courses that are available to first-year and sophomore class students:

Course Description
Feminist, gender and sexuality studies is an exciting interdisciplinary field that addresses gender, sex, and sexuality as well as related issues of race, class, nation, and citizenship across multiple disciplines, epistemologies, methods, and vantage points. At its most fundamental, the field addresses how persons are identified and identify themselves as similar to and different from each other and the relation of these categories of difference to power relations. The study of feminist and queer thought on sex/gender and sexuality offers a critical lens through which to examine social structures and social problems, inequality, difference and diversity, identity and the self, belonging and community, and the possibility of social change, among other topics. This course will offer a broad introduction to the field and provide a foundation for further study of specific areas of interest. The primary goals are to (1) explore the multiple ways feminist and queer scholars have understood sex, gender, and sexuality; (2) explore different methods and styles of feminist thought and expression; (3) situate these in time and place, with attention to historical and cultural contexts; and (4) explore the intersections of sex, gender, and sexuality with race, nation, and other categories of difference. The course will cover aspects of first-wave feminism (e.g., suffrage and the abolitionist movement); second-wave feminism and critical theories of sex/gender; and contemporary feminism, including queer theory, intersectionality and race, and transnational and postcolonial feminism.

History Course for Rising Sophomores: Dante in His World: Politics, Poetry, Religion

Rising sophomores are especially sought for a new course on one of the greatest thinkers and writers in history, Dante Alighieri. On the 700th anniversary of his death, this course in history, medieval studies, and World Literatures in translation is open to all class years.

HIST 236: Dante in His World: Politics, Poetry, Religion
Instructor: Gary Shaw
T.R.. 02:50PM-04:10PM

Dante has been famous since his life, especially for his poem “The Divine Comedy,” including its depictions of Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven. The book reveals his massive knowledge and his deep and complex commitments to love, hope, and the good. It might be less well known that he was also an active politician and a political theorist, as well as a student of literature and style.

This course will examine the body of his work and use it to outline some of the great political, moral, and religious crises of Europe around the year 1300, many issues that continue to today, such as the importance of ethical and political commitment and courage in public life, but also the dangers of false hierarchies and one’s own ego. Readings will focus on Dante’s own writings, including “The Divine Comedy,” “The New Life” and “On Monarchy.”

Still Need a Class This Semester?

CSPL/CGST480 ENGAGED PROJECTS is a new 1-credit course in which students study a topic of their choice and produce a final project for a public audience. EPs deepen student learning and self-reflection, ease the undeniable challenges of online learning, and introduce students to their own agency and positionality in society.

Interested students should contact the instructor (Makaela Kingsley, mjkingsley@wesleyan.edu), submit a proposal on Handshake (instructions at https://www.wesleyan.edu/patricelli/engaged-projects.html), and submit an enrollment request in WesPortal.

Two New Courses

Civil Rights Litigation Since 1978: A Practitioner’s Perspective
CSPL 217        Times: Th 6:00-9PM, Location: ONLINE

This course will examine major themes in modern civil rights litigation in the United States between 1978 and 2020.  The course will review major cases challenging police misconduct, school and housing segregation, including exclusionary land use policies, sexual harassment and bullying as well as cases supporting voting and gay rights. Students will be asked to present argument before their peers regarding the issues raised in and by these cases and will also be presented with imaginary fact patterns and asked to discern the critical legal issues raised and apply both the settled law and aspirational law as we develop it through Socratic method. In addition, students will select an area of civil rights litigation and writing about its evolution.

Understanding the 2020 Presidential Election
CSPL399    Times: M.W. 1:20-2:40PM, Location: ONLINE

In understanding the 2020 Presidential Election, students will learn how to read skeptically the political press and how to write critically about presidential campaign politics. Along the way, the course will touch on electoral history, political and social thought, public policy, media criticism, and much more. Students will read past examples of thought-provoking and influential commentary. They will read current coverage in the legacy press of the 2020 presidential election and come to class prepared to discuss the most important stories and issues of the week. Students will have the opportunity to learn about electoral politics and political writing alongside a veteran journalist. Students who have experience working for political campaigns will have a chance to share their knowledge and help the class incorporate their experience in a larger historical framework. They will have a chance to see their work published in the Editorial Board, the lecturer’s daily politics newsletter. Students will attempt to do what political writers do in real-time: explain what’s happening from a unique, particular, and informed point of view for the benefit of like-minded citizens seeking to achieve the ideal of self-government. In the end, the hope is that students see that campaign politics is simpler and more complex than it appears, but that neither is obvious without study, focus, and understanding.

Course Selection Tips from the Academic Peer Advisors

I’m going to give a brief introduction on the seminal period of your first Pre-Reg and tips on course selection that will hopefully clarify some questions that come to mind. Also, you can always feel free to email me, Quentin (htan03@wesleyan.edu) or the Academic Peer Advisors email where one of us will answer your questions (peeradvisors@wesleyan.edu).

What you are encouraged to do, and will find very helpful, is to read through the Advising Guidelines here (don’t skip this!). A big theme emphasized is balance. It’s going to be your first semester at Wesleyan, meaning you will have many more semesters to take classes you won’t be able to take right now, so don’t feel pressured to take all major requirements or all one-specific type of class. You have several opportunities to solidify your class schedule, extending two weeks after the first day of classes, so don’t stress!

The Process

There are 3 stages of choosing classes that lead to being enrolled in four full credit courses (or maybe 4.25 or 4.50 if you take a lab class, which are half or quarter credit).

  1. Pre-Registration Planning.  This phase begins in July. Freshmen will be ranking seven first-year seminars and seven introductory courses. If you are a transfer, you’ll be ranking seven introductory and/or upper-level courses from WesMaps. First year seminars aren’t mandatory, but highly encouraged! The extensive meetings with professors, emphasis on developing your writing skills, and small classroom setting that first-year seminars provide really helped prepare me for taking a wide range of classes at Wes. Wesvising is a great tool for looking at the different departments at Wesleyan and getting an idea of where you may want to look for classes on Wesmaps.
  2. Pre-Registration Adjustment.  In late August, you’ll see a list of your scheduled courses in your WesPortal. After seeing your schedule, you’ll meet with your faculty advisor during orientation to talk about your current courses and what you want your academic experience at Wesleyan to look like. You will then have an opportunity to change, drop, or add courses before classes start during a period called Pre-Registration Adjustment.
  3. Drop/Add.  Starting on the first of classes for two weeks is the Drop/Add period. You can go to the classes of the courses you are enrolled in, and those for which you aren’t, and continue to modify your schedule. It’s a great opportunity to see the syllabi for classes or drop in for a session or two to decide if they are right for you.

Factors to Consider for Course Selection

General Education Expectations.  Wesleyan doesn’t have any core requirements, true. But the General Education Expectations, commonly called Gen Eds, are an important cluster of classes to pay attention to for fulfilling certain majors and for getting the most out of the breadth of classes offered at Wes. More than that, it is also a fulfillment that aligns with Wesleyan’s ethos of encouraging innovative academic explorations and fostering interdisciplinary understanding! It is good to start thinking about Gen Eds in your freshman year. If you are having trouble thinking about the mix of classes to take, Gen Eds can help with structuring your course selection.

Here are the basics:

    • The Gen Eds are divided into three divisions: Humanities & Arts (HA), Social & Behavioral Sciences (SBS), and Natural Sciences & Mathematics (NSM).
    • While the courses in many departments (such as Biology and Astronomy) all belong to a single division, this is not always the case. For example, the Philosophy department holds the distinction of offering courses that span across all three divisions! Therefore, it is important to keep an eye out on the Gen Ed division the course belongs to on WesMaps rather than just the department itself.
    • There are 2 stages that can be fulfilled in Gen Ed:
      • Stage 1: Two course credits from each of the 3 divisions, all in different departments, by the end of the 4th semester.
      • Stage 2: An additional third course in any department in each division by your graduation
    • Some majors require your Gen Eds fulfilled for the completion of the major or honors. For more information on the specific requirements for each major, please check out this page.

Going Abroad?  It may seem really far off, and especially given how uncertain the world has become in the age of COVID-19, but if you are thinking of studying abroad after the completion of your first academic year, it would be good to consider taking language courses in your freshman year as most of the non-English speaking programs require one or two years of language.

So if you want to go abroad Junior year, you should consider taking the language for the country you want to study in freshman year. You can explore the study abroad programs here and also check their respective language requirements here.

Think About Course Balance.  Here’s the big thing to consider while you select your courses: Balance! Listed below are some factors you’ll want to think about when choosing classes:

    • Class size and lecture vs. discussionSome classes are larger lectures while others are smaller discussions. It’s great to have a mix of lectures and discussions that way you can engage in your classes by both listening and taking notes and participating, and have a balance between the two.You can gauge the number of people in a class by looking at the Total Enrollment Limit box on WesMaps.
    • NSM, HA, or SBSDon’t just go for the same division in your cornucopia of courses – think about having a mix and spicing it up! If you’re dead set about declaring a NSM major, let’s say, you may want to only take NSM classes. However, this can get overwhelming, and you may find yourself having the same type of class assessments and weekly problem set due dates, which can be tedious overall. This idea holds true for all 3 divisions.While it’s always good to have identified your academic area of focus or interest early on, pigeonholing all your courses into one division. To say nothing of fulfilling your General Education Expectations (covered in the section above!), your freshman year is the best time for daring academic explorations, and the first year seminars are the masts that help you set sail! Try to take one class out of your comfort zone, or that is different in subject area than what you are most comfortable with.
    • AssessmentsOn WesMaps, look at the types of assessments used for each class so that you can try to choose classes that will give you the chance to demonstrate your understanding in different ways. For example, some classes will heavily incorporate papers and presentations as a part of their assessment, while others might lean more towards closed-book exams.
    • Grading ModeOn WesMaps, you can also take a look at the grading mode of the courses and take them into account while charting your classes. Course credits at Wesleyan are recorded in one of two grading modes: Graded (A-F) or Credit/Unsatisfactory (CR/U). Some courses offer students a choice of grading mode.
    • Days of the weekAside from the content of the courses, you should also consider the pragmatic aspect of attending them. While seemingly insignificant at first blush, you would find that how your courses are spread out over the week could make the difference between stifling and comfortable as the semester progresses.If you take all four of your full credit classes on Tuesday and Thursday, you’ll probably find yourself very tired these days and possibly wanting some more structure on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. While it may be tempting to have a “reverse schedule” where your “workdays” and “weekends” are flipped, try to space out your classes over the span of the week for some breathing space.Click on the “Planning Calendar” link in the list on the bottom right of your WesMaps planning pages to visualize what your schedule would look like!
    • Time of the Day.  Like the factor above, this one may seem trivial compared to the other factors listed above, but I cannot stress how important it is to take the time of the day of your prospective courses into account! If you are taking classes on campus, try spacing out your classes across the day so that you would have enough time to proceed or prepare for your next class. Trust me, it is no fun immediately running from one building to another after class ends so that you can make it in time for your next class that starts in 10 minutes!If you are generally averse to waking up early, it may be important for you to consider the time of your classes as well. While having to wake up for two 8:20 am classes a week may sound doable on paper, you might find it physically and mentally taxing – to the point of taking a toll on your general well-being – if it does not align well with your sleep schedule!
    • Choosing in the Time of COVID-19: Online or In-Person?  With the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping the world into territories unknown, taking classes in-person is no longer a certainty or something that is a given. As you make your decision on whether to return to campus in the fall, you should pay close attention to how the classes would be conducted by looking at the top bar of the course description on WesMaps. Learn more about the different instruction modes here.

I know there is a lot of info above, but if you have any questions feel free to email me or the other peer advisors (peeradvisors@wesleyan.edu). See you at virtual orientation; we can’t wait to meet you!

About Course Registration

Course registration at Wesleyan is a three-step process.  The first step of this process, which opened on July 20, is Pre-Registration Planning.

During pre-registration planning, you should be selecting courses of interest and ranking them in your preferred order. Be sure to build full list(s) to maximize your chances of getting a desirable schedule during the scheduling process.

Once planning closes, the scheduling process will be run. Your schedule will be viewable on August 14.  Once your schedule is available, you’ll be able to prepare for the Adjustment Period, which is the second part of the registration process and takes place August 17-20. During the adjustment period you will be able to make modifications to the schedule that has been assigned to you, pending approval from your faculty advisor.

The third step of the course registration process is the Drop/Add Period, which will take place from August 24-September 11. During drop/add courses can be added and dropped from your schedule with the approval of the instructor and your faculty advisor.

As the summer progresses, you will receive email for updates from the Registrar’s Office as we enter into each phase of the course registration process.

The following questions might guide your course planning:

  • Do I select a course about something I love?
  • Do I need to add a gateway course for a department or major?
  • Do I need to continue or begin a language?
  • Could I explore something new and interesting?

Course planning involves much more than just the subject matter. You should aim for variety in subject as well as the kind, size, format, and time of day of the courses.

There are a few curricular pathways that require special attention, such as pre-healthpre-law and dual degree engineering programs. There is a three-year option. There are three majors that require declaration during the spring semester of the first year: College of Social Studies, College of Letters and the College of East Asian Studies.

Course Pre-Registration Opens July 20

The Course Pre-Registration system opens July 20.  Until the system closes on August 6, you will be able to browse WesMaps and rank your course preferences for the fall semester.  You will be informed of your course placements in mid-August.

You should begin to think in terms of building a manageable course of study that offers challenge as well as flexibility for you to explore the curriculum and discover new interests. As you pursue your educational goals, keep in mind the idea of constructing a schedule that is balanced, challenging, and interesting. An academic schedule is balanced when:

There is a combination of small and large classes, lecture and discussion, and variations in course content and focus (e.g., reading, writing, quantitative work, artistic activity). This can provide breadth and stimulate academic curiosity while keeping a schedule manageable yet challenging.

There is variation in class days and times and instruction mode. For some students, this is as important a consideration as what courses to choose. Without sacrificing intellectual rigor or interest, students should try to distribute their courses across the week and throughout the day in the way that works best for them.

Free Shipping for Summer Course Materials Ordered from Wesleyan RJ Julia Bookstore

Summer Special! Attention Class of 2024, purchase your Summer Sessions course materials from Wesleyan RJ Julia Bookstore and receive FREE SHIPPING. Visit  https://wesleyan.verbacompare.com/ to find your textbooks and enter coupon code FREESHIP2024 at checkout.

Wesleyan RJ Julia Bookstore, located on Main Street in Middletown, serves both the Wesleyan and Greater Middletown communities. We offer course materials; Wesleyan gear and insignia merchandise; school supplies, the latest bestsellers; and unique gifts, games, and greeting cards. Thank you for supporting your local independent bookstore!

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the bookstore at books@wesleyan.edu or (860) 685-3939.

Preparing for Course Pre-Registration

We will be entering into the pre-registration period in July, so it is a good idea to start thinking about your possible course selections now.

Students typically welcome Wesleyan’s feast of course offerings with great enthusiasm. Some even imagine a scenario in which they may immerse themselves in the endless study or performance of their scholarly or artistic interests. Your goal should be to create a manageable course of study that offers intellectual challenge as well as flexibility for you to explore the curriculum and discover new interests as you pursue your educational goals.

Have you ever heard the phrase, “prior preparation prevents poor performance”? This applies well to selecting courses in college too. The Advising GuidelinesWesvising, and WesMaps combine to form a powerful trio of services through video and text that will facilitate your exploration of Wesleyan’s diverse liberal arts curriculum. You will get advice from faculty and students as they discuss different academic disciplines, pathways, and the General Education Expectations, among many other things so that you can create a balanced, challenging and interesting course of study for your first semester at Wes.