January 14, 2021

This message is distributed to SBFACU-L.  (Click here to view description of distribution groups.)  

The following is being sent on behalf of Associate Dean Linda Adler-Kassner

Dear Faculty Colleagues,

We in Undergraduate Education hope you are safe and well.

We’re writing with the call for Spring 2021 Discovery@UCSB seminar proposals. The preferred application deadline is Friday January 29th; we will review proposals after that date and schedule as we are able. 

Discovery@UCSB seminars are intended for first year students or transfer students. We especially encourage proposals that:

  • provide opportunity for students to focus on issues associated with and strategies to address our current challenges: pandemic, structural racism and inequality, environmental degradation, and more; and
  • explicitly invite students to bring their assets – their knowledge, identities, and commitments – to exploration of these questions.

As with all Discovery@UCSB seminars, we also encourage you to talk with students how you and others in your discipline bring particular perspectives to bear as you examine issues and create strategies: What kinds of questions you ask, evidence or data you collect, how you analyze what you do, and how you and others share what you have learned. Building this layer of meta-analysis and meta-learning peels back the curtain on knowledge-making in disciplines and enables students to develop their own strategies for recognizing and navigating among these practices.

In your proposal, you’ll propose one of three Discovery@UCSB seminar types. 

Exploration Seminars (1 unit) are taught by one faculty member, focused on a topic of interest to the faculty member. Exploration Seminars can be for first year students (Exploration Seminars) or transfer students (Transfer Exploration Seminars). Enrollment is limited to 20 students, or 11 students if a field trip is involved. Faculty receive $1500 in professional development funding for teaching first year or transfer Exploration Seminars.

Discovery Seminars (2 units) are taught by two faculty members from two different disciplines around a common theme or topic. In addition to learning about the subject or theme, faculty will discuss how their disciplines lead them to approach the subject differently. Students will develop both knowledge of the subject, and a framework for understanding disciplines and their expectations. 

Linked Seminars (2 units) are taught by two faculty members from the same discipline or perspective. They focus in greater depth on one subject and provide greater insight into one disciplinary perspective. 

Faculty teaching Discovery or Linked Seminars may set their class sizes for 30, 35, or 40 students. Each faculty will receive research/professional development funding; the amount increases based on the enrollment cap set by faculty. 

For seminars capped at:

  • 30 students, each faculty member will receive $2000 in research/professional development funding. 
  • 35 students, each faculty member will receive $2500 in research/professional development funding. 
  • 40 students, each faculty member will receive $3000 in research/professional development funding. 

On the form that you’ll use to propose Discovery@UCSB seminars, you’ll indicate:

  • What kind of seminar you want to propose (Exploration, Discovery, or Linked)
  • How many students you’ll want to include (20/11; 30, 35, or 40). 

To propose a Discovery@UCSB seminar, go to: https://forms.gle/tyQ3CahG52b3Mtqh6

You can find more information about the seminars here:


If you have questions or would like to brainstorm possibilities for courses, I’d be happy to talk with you!




Linda Adler-Kassner
Faculty Director, Center for Innovative Teaching, Research, and Learning
Associate Dean, Undergraduate Education
Professor, Writing Studies
University of California Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-2085