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Student Organized Seminars

A Student‐Organized Seminar (SOS) consists of a small group of students under the sponsorship of one or more faculty members who organize a course to explore a specific topic not covered, but deemed appropriate to, the Northwestern University curriculum. Typically, a SOS comprises nine or fewer students.  One or more School of Communication students take responsibility for developing the syllabus, organizing the weekly seminar work, advertising the seminar, distributing permission numbers, and attending scheduled sessions at the Searle Center for Teaching Excellence for guidance on how to effectively lead a seminar. 

Rules for SOS Seminars in SoC:

1. The student organizers must be School of Communication students who enroll in the seminar.  A copy of the proposal for the seminar and detailed syllabus are presented to, and signed by, the faculty sponsor and department chair.  The SOS form, proposal and syllabus must then be submitted to the Student Resource Center (Music and Communication Building, Room 5-134) for the approval of the SoC Undergraduate Dean.

2.  Student organizers are required to meet with Dean Lori Barcliff Baptista for final approval of the seminar.   A preliminary meeting to discuss the draft proposal is also recommended.

3.  In order to receive credit for the course, student organizers are required to attend scheduled training sessions at the Searle Center for Teaching Excellence throughout the quarter for guidance on how to effectively lead a seminar.  

4. A student may take or teach only one SOS per quarter, and must register for the class as pass/no pass (P/N).  A student will be dropped from the class if this condition is not met.

5. Eligibility requirements must be detailed and specific on the course proposal form and appropriate to the content of the seminar.  There are to be no restrictions such as class or grade point average.

6. All students completing the work in a seminar will receive one unit of elective graduation credit, on a pass/no pass grading basis.   This unit of credit is not applicable to a major requirement. A student cannot receive duplicate credit for a seminar that repeats.

7. There will be no compensatory reduction in other teaching duties for the faculty volunteer sponsoring a Student Organized Seminar.   No faculty member should feel obliged to sponsor such seminars, and no faculty volunteer will sponsor more than one seminar a year.  A faculty sponsor agrees to attend at least 2 seminar sessions, including one during the first or second week of the quarter.

8. The faculty sponsor reviews the final class assignments and gives grades for the seminar.

9. In addition to an oral presentation, each seminar participant will produce some permanent examinable products, such as seminar papers, essay exams, etc.  These course work products will be made available for subsequent review by the Undergraduate Dean.

10. Yearly course proposal deadlines are listed on the proposal form and will be strictly enforced.