UCLA has created a new program that, beginning in fall 2002, will offer a broad range of small seminars primarily to freshmen.
The new program is titled “Fiat Lux” (“Let There Be Light”), reflecting the motto of the University of California. Each course will enroll about 15 students, with enrollment preference given to entering freshmen.
“We called the seminar program ‘Fiat Lux’ because we want to illuminate the many paths of discovery at UCLA available to our undergraduates — in particular for our newest students,” university chancellor Albert Carnesale said.
These undergraduate courses will span the broad range of fields offered by UCLA’s College of Letters and Science, and by its professional schools.
The Fiat Lux seminars evolved from “Perspectives on September 11,” the nationally renowned UCLA program of seminars created after the terrorist attacks.
After Sept. 11, UCLA took the lead among the nation’s universities by creating 49 seminar courses to explore issues that emerged from the attacks. An additional 37 courses offered in the winter quarter produced by far the largest academic response to the tragedy by any university.
“The Sept. 11 seminars helped our students comprehend the issues surrounding terrorism and its implications,” said Carnesale, who taught two of the seminars on national security issues, his academic field. “Now, Fiat Lux will continue those critical links between faculty and undergraduates in the energized setting of small seminars, but through a much broader program of courses and topics.”
Each Fiat Lux seminar will meet at least 10 hours during an academic quarter. Graded pass/no pass, the seminars will be valued at one unit of course credit.
“The Fiat Lux seminars will engage undergraduates in challenging discussions that foster critical thinking about the broad range of topics explored at UCLA,” said Brian Copenhaver, provost of the university’s College of Letters and Science. “The new seminars will provide an enhanced opportunity for undergraduates to experience the most important strength of a premier research university: learning from experts who create new knowledge through discovery.”
The university plans to offer 150 seminars in the 2002–03 academic year, with 50 in each academic quarter.
“Our ultimate goal, when the Fiat Lux program is fully developed, is to offer a place for every freshman who wants to enroll,” Carnesale said.