About ImPrint

ImPrint, Columbia College Chicago’s journal from the First-Year Seminar (FYS), publishes outstanding work created by first-year students in their FYS classes. The work collected in ImPrint represents students’ successful efforts in achieving the goals of the seminar.

The works showcased in ImPrint were created in FYS as Topic Studies, which generally consist of two parts: a study in any medium that explores a given topic, and a written rationale. As works done exclusively by first-year students, these attempts are particularly promising, and we present them here as they are: exploratory sketches, initial imprints of future work with exceptional potential.

About the First-Year Seminar
The First-Year Seminar assumes that part of a meaningful education is more than experiential knowledge or accumulating facts. It includes cultivating thinking dispositions to develop imaginative, reflective thinking strategies that question and contextualize information, identify assumptions, ponder multiple meanings and visualize possible implications.

Part of that process in FYS involves reflectively engaging with arts and media. In his work with Project Zero at Harvard University, David Perkins suggests that reflectively engaging with art exercises the mind, helping us to transcend the limitations of our experiential intelligence—the kind of thinking we use most of the time—and avoid the “intelligence traps” of thinking in ways that are hasty, narrow, fuzzy, or sprawling. When we engage thoughtfully with a piece of art, we are obliged to go beyond a strategy of “look and see”—deciding whether or not we like a piece of work—to explore “what awaits” or “what is hidden” in it. We tend to discover multiple meanings, pose more questions than answers, identify points of paradox or ambiguity, evaluate contradictions, and synthesize and communicate new ideas in new ways.

The learning goals of the First-Year Seminar challenge students to develop reflective skills that are fundamental to academics and artistry: questioning, exploring, communicating, and evaluating. In FYS, students practice these skills by engaging with timeless topics that help lay the foundation for the liberal education they will receive at Columbia—topics such as the composition of self, the nature of ethics, creative conscience, and manifesting vision. FYS explores these topics in a variety of ways: researching established texts and philosophies, rigorous seminar discussion, and Topic Studies that combine exploration in any media with an analytical written rationale.

The heart of FYS integrates the creative process with analytical reflection to explore topics that are inherently complex. In doing so, we experience firsthand how the creative process can inform ways of thinking and knowing, and how analytical reflection can be an invigorating process that informs, deepens, and provides structure for the kind of intellectual, emotional, and visceral complexity that creative work is sometimes uniquely suited to express.

Further information on FYS can be found here

Criteria for Selection:
ImPrint publishes student work that exemplifies skillful engagement with the heart of the course—work that transcends hasty, narrow, fuzzy, or sprawling thinking, challenging assumptions and generating questions that inspire contemplation. We look for the kind of work that takes risks, synthesizes discoveries into new ideas, engages with ambiguity, and communicates in eloquent, accessible, evocative ways. While this work typically demonstrates relevant personal connections with the ideas presented, it also fosters solid, meaningful connections between the individual’s exploration and a larger community of knowledge and ideas.

Selection Process:
The selection process for ImPrint is competitive. We select work through blind review by a jury of educators, artists, and professionals who teach the seminar. 

How to Submit work for ImPrint:
Students are typically approached by their FYS instructors and invited to submit work for ImPrint. If you are a first-year student at Columbia College Chicago with questions about possibly submitting your work to ImPrint, please contact Miranda Zent, FYS Assistant Director and ImPrint editor.