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Pacific Seminar I

Pacific Seminar 1 takes place in the first semester and introduces students to the question: "What is a Good Society?"

PACS 1 develops skills students will need to succeed in any field of study at the University and beyond. The course represents an introduction to general education in the best sense of the term: education for self-examination and engaged citizenship. Such grounding will help students develop the agency and flexibility necessary to navigate a rapidly changing political, social, and economic environment.

Student Learning Outcomes

In PACS 1, students will work to become stronger:

  • Writers -able to write concisely and cogently for a given audience.
  • Critical thinkers -sharp, nimble, inclined to search for evidence, and skilled at appraising it.
  • Readers -able to reflect upon and apply an author's main and supporting ideas and perspective.

Pacific Seminar 1 allows all Freshman to share common intellectual experiences such as common readings and lectures, and an art experience.

2016 Slam Poets2016 Slam Poets were a Big Hit at the Freshmen General Session at the Alex G. Spanos Center on October 6, 2016. 
Freshmen participated in a general session that exposed them to slam poetry performed by poet/writers Sam Pierstorff from Modesto, CA and Joyce Lee from Oakland, CA.  Many were inspired by the poetry and joined the poets on stage after the performance to hear more about slam poetry and to find out where they can go to hear more poetry like they heard today. 

 Watch the entire Freshmen General Session:


Jim Hetrick Sitting
Professor James Hetrick's Lecture on "Renaissance 2.0" at the 2nd Freshmen General Session at the Alex G. Spanos Center on November 17, 2016.
Freshmen came to hear Professor Hetrick's lecture on "Renaissance 2.0" at the Freshmen General Session which was a lecture on science and society and if compared to the Rennaisance era some would say we are in a modern day "Rennaisance 2.0".  The audience was asked "How will history remember you?"

Watch the entire 2nd Freshmen General Session:

Check out the common syllabus template (may vary by section)
Readings in PACS 1 include the following books:


 50 Essays 5th Edition


The Happiness Hypothosis

Freshmen in Pacific Seminar 1 read essays from an anthology called "50 Essays" edited by Samuel Cohen.  The collection contains great classic and contemporary readings on a variety of issues related to "What is a Good Society?"  The diverse readings deal with race, gender, age, political diversity, social injustice, the environment, etc.  They provide a great foundation to discuss and examine differing points of views and help students to become open and curious learners. Table of Contents

"The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom" by Jonathan Haidt. The book explores where happiness comes from, how civilizations in the past have understood happiness, and how this applies to our modern lives. The author also examines other concepts such as virtue, reciprocity, love and attachment. This book is a great way to start thinking about larger intellectual questions and their meaning for our own actions and beliefs.