Fall 2020

US 101US: Place & Identity

University Studies First-Year Seminar (US 101US) is a discussion-based course designed to create a supportive environment to help students take an active role in their education, transition into the college academic atmosphere, and become a part of the Montana State University community of critical thinkers. It is a small, seminar class. This means that it is student-centered and student-driven. As an interdisciplinary course, US 101US is not about content-delivery. It is about offering opportunities for students to pursue meaningful answers to important questions related to how identity intersects with place, education, and justice:

  • Who am I?
  • Who am I becoming?
  • How do I engage in a just society?

In this inquiry-based course we will examine questions of place, education, and identity. Classical and contemporary philosophy will offer a guide to navigate issues of justice with a clear moral compass, and illuminate the questions that run through all course readings. In order to get the most out of the experience, we ask students to:

  • Ask meaningful questions, of themselves and their peers.
  • Be willing to learn from what challenges them.
  • Engage.


Convocation Text

Sarah Vowell's Lafayette in the Somewhat United States is Montana State University's convocation text for the 2020-2021 academic year. US 101US First Year Seminar (Place & Identity) always incorporates the convocation text into its curriculum each year.  This text provides students with an interesting look at American history, the disunity that has sometimes prevailed, and a unique comparison to what a 19-year old Lafayette was experiencing, while rubbing shoulders with famous individuals from America's past during a particularly turbulent period.

Please see the MSU News release:  Sarah Vowell to return to alma mater to deliver MSU's 2020 Convocation lecture Aug. 27 for more details about the author herself.