To the Editor:

It is gratifying that the new Freshman Seminar program is off to such a good start and to read that the News is so positive about it (Freshmen get lucky with their new seminars,” 9/20). However, the editors’ implication that, because there may be fewer Group IV seminars than some would like, the Yale curriculum has forgotten our science-oriented freshmen, is misleading. Long before the new Freshman Seminar program was a gleam in some professor’s eye, we have had the very popular “Perspectives on Science” (SCIE 198) for our freshman science students. This course, which now enrolls 60 students a year, has small seminars with not one, but two faculty members to complement topical lectures by Yale faculty in all the sciences. The fact that, at present, a freshman is limited to either Perspective on Science, Directed Studies, or a Freshman Seminar may contribute to the apparent under representation of Freshman Seminars with a Group IV designation because many science-oriented freshmen are enrolled in PS. As the only faculty member this year to be teaching in all three of these programs, I can attest to the intellectual and personal rewards of having seminars with freshmen, and I urge my colleagues to continue to make these programs the success that the News so appropriately recognizes and applauds.

William C. Summers

September 21, 2004

The writer is a professor of molecular biophysics and biochemistry.