Designed and run by students, Student Seminars explore experimental subjects and themes through an interdisciplinary and collaborative lens.
Each spring students are invited to propose a seminar to take place the following year in either the fall or spring semester on a topic of their choosing. They are supported by a faculty advisor who helps the development of the seminar curriculum and structure. Proposals may include site visits or inviting guest speakers to campus. Once accepted and approved, the Center issues a call for participation to all students and selects participants with a diversity of disciplinary perspectives and experiences. Seminars typically meet five to six times, and all books, materials, trips, and refreshments are funded by the Center.
Seminar participants are considered Undergraduate Humanities Fellows and eligible for a $150 stipend at the conclusion of the seminar to purchase other texts or materials related to the seminar once the final report is submitted.
For questions about student seminars, contact James Weissinger to set up a meeting and discuss ideas.
Current Seminars (2021-22)
How Artificial Intelligence Is Dividing Us Today, and How Terminator Might Kill Us Tomorrow
Seminar Leaders: Keeton Martin '22 and Harry Taussig '22
Around the world we are suffering from increased polarization, information overload, disinformation, and poor mental health made possible only by the increasing influence of Artificial Intelligence. Because AIs are often trained on biased data or designed by biased people, the negative effects of AI are already disproportionately harming underprivileged groups. As AI becomes more powerful and prevalent the stakes will only get higher. Understanding the extent to which AI is currently harming us, and the ways it will continue to do so is a complex problem that needs a diverse set of perspectives as it is intertwined with almost every discipline at Haverford. These problems may come to define or destroy our generation, so we hope you’ll join us in this important conversation.
Communication Disorders in Context: What Do We Know About Aphasia?
Seminar Leader: Maggie Zhang '24
This seminar will focus on the study and treatments of speech sciences in a wider social context, including both clinical and non-clinical elements. It offers a comprehensive overview of basic aphasiology and other related topics including but not limited to classification of aphasia and its current issues, apraxia, language processing, bilingualism, aphasia/apraxia treatments and art education. We will also look into the influence of visual art in aphasia treatment, such as the role of art therapy and artistic expressions of people with disabilities.
Seminar Leader Guidelines
- All Undergraduate Fellows will meet with the faculty advisor and James Weissinger prior to the start of the seminar. They will work with leader(s) and participants to set a schedule of meetings and review responsibilities and processes.
- Groups should be composed of leader(s) plus six or seven students from a variety of disciplines.
- All seminar participants will meet as a group at least five times during the fall semester. Full participation is essential. The student seminar leader(s) will work with their peers at the beginning of the fall semester to create a schedule of meetings amenable to all members of the group.
- If there is a faculty advisor, they will assist the Undergraduate Fellows in choosing reading materials and organizing a speaker event if so desired. The advisor will also serve as an engaged mentor throughout the process and can attend a planning meeting one of the five seminar meetings during the fall semester.
- After the reading list is finalized, the Center will send the texts to students over the second half of summer break.
- Participants will provide a final assessment of the seminar experience in a form determined by the group.
- All books/materials/refreshments will be funded by the Hurford Center.
- Each student receives a $150 stipend to purchase books or materials related to the seminar topic once the report has been turned in to the Center. Reports are due by February 1, 2022.
- The Center may also fund a visiting speaker who will address both the seminar group and the campus as a whole.
Purchasing and Procurement
Once a seminar proposal has been approved, the student leader will provide a detailed budget request. They will then work with the Program Manager to request materials related to the seminar and manage the seminar budget over the summer preceding the seminar.
The Center will provide up to $25 per meeting for food. Leader(s) should save receipts for the duration of the Seminar, and submit them to Hurford Center Financial Administrator Assistant Kerry Nelson in VCAM 104 as soon as possible. Receipts must be submitted by February 1.
The Center can support a visiting speaker to campus in the fall semester the seminar takes place. It is recommended but not required that the student leader works closely with a faculty advisor to develop a list of potential speakers and assure that the invited guests understand the character of this visit.
Reports & Undergraduate Fellow Book Allowance
Each Undergraduate Fellow receives an individual $150 stipend for books and materials related to the seminar topic once their report has been turned in.