First Year Program: RMCS101

The Randolph-Macon Colloquium and Seminar, or RMCS101, is an innovative first year course which combines essential skills for students transitioning to college, exploration of the many disciplines offered at Randolph-Macon and the value of college in the real world, all within a small seminar setting and unified by a common theme. This year's theme is Extremes and Exceptions: The Extraordinary. Students will explore exceptional people, situations, and events in many different disciplines.

Why College?

How do the knowledge and skills gained in college prepare you for a career and citizenship in the real world? 

You may not be thinking of life after college just yet, but with RMCS101, we begin with the end in mind. You will hear professors from six different fields give guest presentations, called colloquia, highlighting how knowledge in their field applies to careers and real world problems. They will also profile how Randolph-Macon alumni from their major are taking their knowledge out into the real world. 

students listening

How Do I Succeed in College?

As many first year students discover, the skills necessary for success in college often differ from those practiced in high school. Your RMCS101 seminar professor will focus on skills essential for college success, but grounded in their fields of expertise. Topics will include: Academic Integrity and Research Skills: As both students and scholars, we know that our search for truth must be conducted with integrity and high ethical standards. We have a world of information available at a touch of a button or a whispered “Hello, Siri,” but being a successful college student requires advanced skills in searching and researching academic topics. This course will help you do your research effectively and ethically. Note Taking and Studying Effectively: Both reading and class attendance are crucial in college, but whether you actually learn or not depends on how well you take notes and manage your own attention. While you have certainly taken your fair share of tests in high school (Goodbye SOLs!), the tests in college often demand a different approach to studying. Student Professionalism: The role of “being a student” is another big change between high school and college.  With the freedom of being away from home, comes the responsibility to become accountable for one’s own education. 

Some sample courses from this year, Fall 2015, include:

RMCS 114 - When to Protect or Restrict Free Speech or Press – Joan Conners – Communication Studies

This seminar will explore the issues surrounding free speech in the United States based on the foundation and interpretation of the First Amendment.  Different perspectives will be examined, from those who are want free speech protected under all circumstances to those who are willing to sacrifice some freedom of speech in particular contexts.  Media contexts for aspects of free press will be explored, as well as issues of student speech, public protests, and creative expression.

RMCS 115 - Now and Later: Using Mathematics to Plan for an Uncertain Future - Brian Sutton – Mathematics

With limited time in the day and limited money in the bank, how can we make the most of what we have? This question becomes even more difficult when we consider the time value of money and the randomness of life. A dollar today may grow to several dollars in the future, but is it worth the wait? Insurance can smooth out the bumps in life, but how much caution is too much caution? This course will concentrate on the mathematics of personal financial planning, with an emphasis on achieving short-term and long-term goals. It will also emphasize communication and professionalism and introduce students to disciplines across the curriculum.

RMCS 118 - Liberty, Equality, or Fraternity? : The Tensions of Freedom and Constraint in Enlightenment Thought – Nathan Brown - French

We are all heirs to the Enlightenment. We accept, more or less, reason and empiricism as ways of knowing. We hold certain human rights as “inalienable” and “self-evident.” All modern democracies have followed the French revolution’s example and proclaimed Enlightenment ideals of freedom, equality, and fraternity as their guiding principles. But, does freedom equate happiness? Does equality? Or, brotherhood? Does unmasking nature through reason and empiricism always lead to positive results? Is there a place for a god in such a demystified world? Should there be? These are the tensions of the Enlightenment with which we will grapple. Beyond our theme, in this course you will also develop skills to become more successful college students. You will learn to take better notes, manage time better, and how to do proper research.

For questions or more information, please contact Professor Cedar Riener, the Director of the RMCS101 Program.