First-Year Seminars: Professorial Dumping Ground

Here at Dartmouth freshman undergo the first year writing program to ‘bring their writing up to par.’ This includes Writing 5 for some and a First-Year Seminar for all. So what is the administration’s attitude toward this latter program? Here’s the official version:

The First-Year Seminar Program serves four purposes. First, by means of a uniform writing requirement, the seminar stresses the importance of written expression in all disciplines. Second, it provides an attractive and exciting supplement to the usual introductory survey. Third, it guarantees each first-year student at least one small course. Fourth, the program engages each first-year student in the research process, offering an early experience of the scholarhip that fuels Dartmouth’s upper-level courses.

Why then, if this program is so important, would the administration recommend dumping problem professors into these classes? From today’s Daily D:

She was then informed that she did not fit in with the “culture” of the department and that if she stayed on, she faced assignment to first-year seminar theater classes.

I should note that some really excellent professors teach First-Year Seminars; nonetheless, the majority seem to be on par with Sabinson—especially those who teach the Writing 5 classes.