First Year Seminar

What is the IDEAS Seminar?

The first year seminar is a core course for IDEAS students which emphasizes intense faculty mentoring within a small seminar environment. Students read novels, watch movies, and discuss a wide range of engineering disciplines and ethics. The topics explored enable students to develop, write, and present their individual interst areas, ultimately helping them to select their concentrations for their degree.


The first year seminar helps students become accustomed to thinking beyond the boundaries of traditional academic fields and see how disciplines interrelate. Through case studies, students view issues from multiple perspectives - engineering and otherwise. The seminar is an exploration of what it means to be an IDEAS student.


Previous Seminars


Creativity and Antidepressants
(Technology and Religion by Noreen Herzfeld)


(An Enemy of the People by Henrik Ibsen)

Video Games and Violence

(Technology and Religion by Noreen Herzfeld)

Future by Design & Technology


Relationship of Technology and Religion

(Technology and Religion by Noreen Herzfeld)

Truth and Society

(Enemy of the People by Henrik Ibsen)

Engineering and Progress

(Player Piano by Kurt Vonnegut)

Role of the Engineer

(The China Syndrome)

Consequences of Development

(Manufactured Landscapes)

Standard of Living and Social Responsibility (Part 1)

Standard of Living and Privilege
(Part 2)

The Brooklyn Bridge and Symbols of Technology

Design and Comfort


The Engineer's Responsibility

(Life of Galileo by Bertolt Brecht)

Revising Society

(Future by Design Part 1)

Engaging with Technology

(Future by Design Part 2)

Science vs. Technology

and the Technological Society

(Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut)

Definition of Technology and How Our Society Interacts With It

(Hard Times by Charles Dickens)

Technology, Law, and Ethics

(A Civil Action Part 1)

Regulation, the Justice System, and Technology

(A Civil Action Part 2)