Information for SAGES Faculty and Fellows


Information for Faculty Proposing a SAGES University Seminar 


• SAGES Learning Outcomes

Information for Faculty Proposing a Seminar

• Resources for Leading a Seminar

• Resources for Teaching Writing

• Other Helpful Information Regarding Leading Seminars

• Faculty Governance of SAGES


SAGES Learning Outcomes

Mission: SAGES is a seminar-based, writing-intensive program that emphasizes collaboration between students and the instructor to explore the ideas, individuals, and innovations that have shaped scholarly inquiry in a variety of fields. The developmental sequence of SAGES seminars is defined by Learning Outcomes: 

I. First Seminar introduces students to the CWRU academic community and to surrounding University Circle institutions. It emphasizes modes of inquiry, writing, and speaking used throughout the University. At the end of First Seminar, students should be able to:

  • Engage in thoughtful, productive discussion with peers, faculty, and other professionals;
  • Give and receive criticism respectfully and constructively;
  • Establish a personal voice in oral and written expression;
  • Present concepts and beliefs in clear, precise, and graceful language;
  • Frame substantial arguments, first by making interesting claims and then by marshaling and interpreting relevant evidence;
  • Assess whether an argument (including their own) is properly supported according to basic academic standards;
  • Engage with opposing or alternative perspectives or positions in their own writing;
  • Recognize and meet their responsibilities —as writers and speakers, readers and listeners— in promoting scholarly dialogue; 
  • Analyze and assess different kinds of writing from a variety of sources; and,
  • Refine their phrasing, analyses, and arguments through a rigorous process of revision.

II. University Seminars focus on academic modes of thinking and writing specific to scholarly discourse about the natural and technological world, the social world, and the symbolic world. Students in University Seminars continue to develop the skills and dispositions emphasized in First Seminar. In addition, they should acquire the ability to:

  • Pose a relevant, appropriately focused question;
  • Construct extended arguments that incorporate quotations and ideas from multiple sources;
  • Analyze and evaluate a variety of sources and forms of evidence; and,
  • Demonstrate thorough familiarity with one method of citation and follow its conventionsnot mechanically, but with full appreciation of their ethical significance.

III.  Departmental Seminars introduce students to disciplinary modes of inquiry and presentation.

Students in Departmental Seminars continue to develop the skills and dispositions emphasized in First and University Seminars.

In addition, they should acquire the ability to:

  • Articulate a question or problem of interest to the discipline;
  • Skillfully employ research methods to address that question or problem;
  • Produce clear, precise academic prose in appropriate modes (e.g., lab report, close reading, analytical argument, persuasive argument, quantitative analysis); and,
  • Provide useful, relevant criticism to others, and respond constructively to criticism, within a disciplinary context.

IV.  Senior Capstone Projects encourage students to pursue independent research and scholarship with the guidance from faculty in their chosen major or discipline.  In their Senior Capstone Projects, students demonstrate their ability to:

  • Articulate a problem or question that is both interesting and relevant to their chosen field(s) of study;
  • Identify an appropriate research method or analytical approach to the problem or question;
  • Present their method or approach in a discipline-specific mode of writing (such as a project proposal);
  • Conduct sustained researchdesigning and conducting experiments, exploring an archive, analyzing data, reading publications in their fieldsufficient to draw conclusions significant to their discipline; and,
  • Produce a substantial presentation in response to the question or problem.

Information for Faculty Proposing a Seminar

First Seminar 

With enrollment limited to 17 students, First Seminar promotes active engagement and discussion, allows students to learn from one another and from the professor, and offers a vigorous introduction to academic inquiry at the university level. Like all SAGES classes, First Seminar is writing intensive. The seminar leader is the students’ advisor until they declare a major.

Key information for those planning to lead a First Seminar is here 

University Seminar

Though the writing and discussion proceed at a more advanced level, University Seminars have a family resemblance to First Seminars. Enrollment is still limited to 17 students, and the thematic “worlds” introduced early in the sequence—social, symbolic, and natural/technological—are retained as organizing principles of the curriculum.

Key information for those planning to lead a University Seminar is provided here 

Departmental Seminar

By their third year, students are prepared to take a discipline-specific Departmental Seminar, usually in their major field. They may take a seminar outside their major, however, so long as they have the appropriate prerequisites for that course. The Departmental Seminars are under the control of individual departments, which can, at their discretion, count them as electives that fulfill requirements for a major.  Departmental Seminars:

  • are taken after the completion of the First Seminar and the two University Seminars;
  • are seminar based, with enrollment capped at 17 students;
  • are primarily discussion-based but may also include experiential learning. For example, a Departmental Seminar in a natural science could involve hands-on experiements that provide the basis for ongoing discussions. As in First and University Seminars, lectures would be employed only occasionally, as a strategy to stimulate discussion or to help students master difficult concepts; and,
  • include discipline-specific writing assignments and oral presentations, with instruction provided in the forms of writing and presentation that are typical in the relevant department.


The SAGES capstone program is based on courses offered by individual academic departments. These courses vary widely.  Some involve individual research, while others involve group projects. Some may be similar to an advanced seminar, while others will require creative endeavors. In some cases, faculty will define the course topic, while in others students will pursue their own ideas. There are, however, unifying principles for all SAGES capstones. For example, they all require:

  • Critical thinking on the part of the student;
  • Clear goals with an appropriate plan of action;
  • Regular oversight by the project advisor;
  • Periodic reporting of progress;
  • Regular writing (e.g., drafts, progress reports, critiques) throughout the project, including a final thesis or other written   document, as approved by the relevant department;
  • A public presentation or performance at the Senior Capstone Fair or another venue, as approved by the relevant department.

Courses proposed as SAGES seminars are reviewed by the SAGES director, who makes a recommendation to the appropriate curriculum committee.

Resources for Leading a Seminar

UNDER CONSTRUCTION - In the meantime, SAGES has a folder that includes material that may be helpful.

Resources for Teaching Writing

(English Department Recommended Writing Outcomes)

By the end of First Seminar, students should be able to:

  • Engage critically and considerately with the written ideas of peers;
  • Identify and summarize the main points of a published piece of writing supplied by the instructor;
  • Respond critically in writing to scholarly ideas from a variety of perspectives or positions;
  • Craft a specific question that can form the basis for sustained inquiry on a topic;
  • Identify representative University and University Circle resources to support writing projects;
  • Write in a consistent, clear, and grammatical personal voice;
  • Reflect critically on their own ideas;
  • Describe Case's Academic Integrity Policy;
  • Explain the role of and significance of differences among various citation formats (MLA, APA, Chicago, etc.); and,
  • Refine phrasing and ideas through directed revision.

By the end of a University Seminar, students should be able to:

  • Identify, summarize, and respond critically to an array of scholarly ideas and texts gathered through independent research;
  • Develop a focused, informed, and specific research question (appropriate to the topic of the course and to the context of a scholarly problem);
  • Define a scholarly position in a clear, grammatical voice that is characteristic of an academic community;
  • Draft persuasive and/or analytical arguments of appropriately delimited scope for a 10-12 page paper. These arguments should include strong and clear claims, appropriate presentation and interpretation of evidence, and substantial exploration of the warrants/backings that authorize them;
  • Cite consistently and comprehensively a variety of print and electronic resources using a citation format appropriate to the area of inquiry;
  • Demonstrate a facility with the sentence structures and rhetorical moves most common to academic writing; and,
  • Demonstrate a capacity for self-directed revision of writing for effective argumentation and for stylistic clarity.

Information about the University's writing programs, the Writing Resource Center, and resources for student writers and their teachers can be found at the English Department's Writing@Case website.

Support for the Teaching of Writing

Seminar leaders have the opportunity to work with co-instructors (generally lecturers from the English department) to develop the writing component of their courses.  Three levels of support are available: collaborative teaching, consultation, and occasional writing workshops. Seminar leaders may also forgo support if they choose. A compendium of the resources on writing instruction available to faculty can be found at

Support for Student Writers

All students are eligible to sign up for tutoring appointments with the Writing Resource Center and the SAGES Peer Writing Crew.

The Writing Resource Center

The Writing Resource Center (WRC) at Case Western Reserve University provides supplemental, discipline-specific writing instruction to students of all levels at the university. Our writing consultants work one-on-one with students on a wide variety of projects. We encourage visits from students at any stage of the writing process, from brainstorming and 
drafting, to revising and organizing, to sharpening expression. While we also work with students on issues of mechanics and grammar, we are not a proofreading service. Our consultants work collaboratively with students to assist them in becoming better writers.
For hours and location and other information go to

SAGES Peer Writing Crew

The SAGES Peer Writing Crew offer tutorial assistance to their fellow undergraduates—fostering habits of reflection, cultivating awareness of audience, and modeling strategies for composition and revision. The ten members of the Crew are all SAGES veterans who were recommended for the program by their seminar instructors. Your students can make appointments with the Writing Crew by logging in at TutorTrac.

Resources for Improving Oral Communication

Public speaking is one of the essential skills we want students to learn and practice in SAGES.  To that end, many seminar leaders have students make oral presentations in class. The following resources are available to support the oral communications component of SAGES seminars.

1. SPEAK: How to Talk to Classmates and Others is a concise, engaging guide to developing, organizing and presenting a public talk.
SPEAK covers such topics as the three key rules of public speaking; developing a key message; understanding your audience;
organizing, writing and presenting the talk, tips for using visual aids and PowerPoint; and words and phrases to avoid. SPEAK also has a list of useful resources and a rubric for evaluating a talk.

SAGES provides all students and seminar leaders with one free copy of the primer. If any of your students haven’t received SPEAK in a previous seminar, you can get copies for them from the SAGES office ( Copies are also available at the university bookstore for under $10.

2. Dr. William Doll, the author of SPEAK and a Presidential Fellow, will gladly visit your seminar at your convenience and give a free workshop on the essentials of public speaking. You can schedule a workshop by contacting Bill at or 216-721-2542. Sarah deSwart, a professional actress and presentation trainer and the assistant director of UCITE, will also be available for many of the workshops. 

3. SAGES now has a public speaking checklist, talking tips, and exercises on eliminating wordiness. These are available on the SAGES Blackboard site. Click on "SAGES" under "Courses in which you are enrolled" at the upper right under the course listings to find this material.


Other Helpful Information Regarding Leading Seminars

(SAGES Guidance on “Fair Use” - Adapted from Copyright@CWRU – Fair Use Doctrine)

The Fair Use Doctrine Section 107 of the Copyright Law sets forth a statutory exemption that may allow the use of protected material in a manner that would otherwise infringe upon the copyholder’s rights. (The copyright holder has the right to copy, distribute, adapt, display or perform the work publicly.)

The doctrine represents an effort to strike a balance between protecting the copyright holder's interests, contributions, and incentives for future work and furthering society’s interest in allowing for reasonable use by others so as to promote the progress of knowledge. A common misconception is that “fair use” covers any use so long as the purpose is academic. This is not the case.

The characterization of a use as “fair use” depends on the result of a four-factor balancing test, with each factor tilting the scale in favor of or against a “fair use” exemption. All four factors must be weighed with respect to each use:

1. Nature of the protected work. Use of published/factual/nonfiction work is more likely to fall under the fair use umbrella than use of unpublished or highly creative work.

2. Purpose of the use. Teaching, criticism, research, etc., are more likely to be acceptable than commercial use.

3. Amount and substantiality of the work used. Use of a small quantity in relation to the whole, use of material that is not considered the heart of the work, and use of an “appropriate” amount for educational purpose will all favor a determination of fair use.

4. Effect of use on the market or potential market for the protected work. Use of only one or two copies is more likely to fall under the fair use umbrella than repeated long-term use, measures that make the material electronically accessible, or use that looks like an effort to circumvent the purchase of the copyrighted work.

If you have any questions about applying the "Fair Use" doctrine, please contact Peter Poulos at the Office of General Counsel, (216) 368-0661.

Faculty Governance of SAGES

(Sages Governance)

1. Proposals for modifications to the SAGES Program from any source will be referred to the Faculty Senate Committee on Undergraduate Education (FSCUE).  The FSCUE will ask its Curriculum Subcommittee to discuss the proposal and coordinate a consultative process with the body designated by each constituent faculty.  Consultation with students will occur through the Undergraduate Student Government (USG), in addition to any consultations done within the constituent faculties and any additional consultations deemed appropriate by the FSCUE Curriculum Subcommittee.  The recommendations from each group shall be provided in written form.  Based on these consultations, the FSCUE Curriculum Subcommittee will develop a recommendation to the FSCUE that considers the recommendations from each constituent faculty, the USG, and any other groups consulted by the Subcommittee.

2. The Faculty Handbook outlines the process by which the president, the provost, the chair of the FSCUE, the chair of the Faculty Senate, or eligible voting members of the Undergraduate Program Faculty (UPF) may call for a meeting of the UPF to discuss important basic policies that govern undergraduate education at the University and extend beyond degree programs in a constituent faculty, such as the SAGES Program.  Any change to the fundamental structure of the SAGES Program (as of November 26, 2012, the requirement of a First Seminar, two University Seminars, a Writing Portfolio, a Departmental Seminar, and a Capstone Project) will always require a vote of the UPF by electronic ballot, following a meeting of the UPF to discuss the merits of the proposed change.  In addition, the FSCUE (upon the advice generated through the consultative process in item (1) above) or others (following the procedures outlined in the Faculty Handbook) may determine that a proposed change represents a sufficiently significant alteration to the pedagogic goals and/or pedagogic structure of the SAGES Program to warrant calling for a UPF vote by electronic ballot, following discussion of the proposal at a meeting of the UPF.

When proposed changes to the SAGES Program are referred to a vote of the UPF by electronic ballot following a meeting of the UPF, a summary of the discussion, prepared by the Secretary of the University Faculty, will be circulated with the ballot.  The vote of the UPF, including the percentage of ballots cast, shall be forwarded to the Faculty Senate for final action.

The FSCUE has authority for changes to the SAGES Program that are not deemed to require a meeting and vote by the UPF.  Because the FSCUE is a standing committee of the Faculty Senate, all such changes are subject to review by the Senate.

3. Based on its review of reports from the SAGES Program, discussions with the Director, and consultations with the constituent units, the FSCUE Curriculum Subcommittee may recommend changes to the SAGES Program, following the procedures outlined above.

4. The FSCUE Curriculum Subcommittee will invite the Director of the SAGES Program to share information and to meet with the Subcommittee as issues arise that would benefit from his or her perspective.  In addition, the FSCUE Curriculum Subcommittee will provide consultation and advice to the Director of the SAGES Program, as requested by him or her.

5. The Director of the SAGES Program will be expected to submit an annual report to the FSCUE Curriculum Subcommittee on the state of the SAGES Program, indicating any issues that require special attention.  It is also expected that the Director of SAGES will share with the FSCUE Curriculum Subcommittee any reports generated within the SAGES Program, such as the report arising from the annual review of students’ writing portfolios.  The representatives of the constituent units of the UPF will transmit these reports to their units.  Time will be allotted for the FSCUE Curriculum Subcommittee to discuss these reports and any feedback from the units.

6. Day-to-day operational decisions within the SAGES Program will remain the responsibility of the Director of the SAGES Program.

7. The FSCUE Curriculum Subcommittee will report at least once a year to the FSCUE on the status of the SAGES Program.  This report can be taken forward to other groups, as appropriate.

8. Amendments to SAGES governance policy must be approved by the Faculty Senate, following the processes, consultations, and UPF vote described in item (2) above.

Approved by Faculty Senate December 19, 2012