Byrne Seminars

About the Byrne Seminars

Byrne Seminars are small, one-credit courses offered only to first-year students at Rutgers-New Brunswick. Offered through the Office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs, these classes are taught by our world-renowned faculty, who come from departments and professional schools across the university. The Byrne Family First-Year Seminar Program offers students the chance to experience the excitement of original research as faculty members share their curiosity, their intellectual passion, and how they develop new ideas and fields of knowledge. Some seminars take field trips, do hands-on research, or share a meal at the Rutgers Club.

We offer nearly 100 seminars each semester to over 2,500 first-year students. Students consistently praise the program as a positive learning experience—one that engages them with new ideas and new knowledge. Over 300 faculty members from across the university have taught in the program; about 50% have taught more than once and most say they would recommend the program to a colleague.

How do the Byrne Seminars Work?

These seminars are small, one-credit courses, limited to 20 students. Seminars typically meet for 10 weeks, starting in the first week of each semester. The seminars are graded Pass/No Credit, and have no formal exams. Students may register for a one-credit seminar in addition to the 12–15 credit standard course-load; the seminars are not meant to compete with other classes.

Spring 2016 Byrne Seminars Taught by SEBS Faculty

  1. Biology of Women
    Joan Bennett (Plant Biology and Pathology; Associate Vice President for Promotion of Women in Science, Engineering, and Mathematics)
  2. Climate Change and Water Resources
    Jim Miller (Marine and Coastal Sciences)
  3. Environmental Remediation at Rutgers
    Donna Fennell (Environmental Sciences)
  4. Fighting the Fat: Do Obesity Treatments Work?
    Nicholas Bello (Animal Sciences)
  5. Food for the 21st Century: Can We Feed 11 Billion People?
    Paul Takhistov (Food Science)
  6. Food Microbes: What and Where Are They?
    Karl Matthews (Food Microbiology)
  7. From the Sea to the Raritan: The Spawning Journeys of our Local Anadromous Fishes
    Olaf Jensen (Marine and Coastal Sciences)
  8. Global Environmental Health: Rutgers' Global Reach!
    Mark Gregory Robson (Plant Biology and Pathology)
  9. Green-Fluorescent Protein—Applications of this Amazing Protein
    William Ward (Biochemistry and Microbiology)
  10. Kitchen Chemistry and Food Physics
    Richard Ludescher (Food Science)
  11. Medicinal Plants: From Ethnobotany to Pharmacognosy
    Mary Bridgeman (Pharmacy) and Lena Struwe (Ecology, Evolution, and Natural Resources)
  12. Metabolism: From Lavoisier to Metabolomics
    Malcolm Watford (Nutritional Sciences)
  13. Oysters Then and Now: Revolutionary Seafood Research at Rutgers
    David Bushek (Marine and Coastal Sciences) and Daphne Munroe (Marine and Coastal Sciences)
  14. Processed Food: Is it a Necessary Evil?
    Mukund Karwe (Food Science)
  15. The Gaia Hypothesis, Climate, and Ecosystems
    Benjamin Lintner (Environmental Sciences)
  16. The Human Microbiome: How Our Friends the Microorganisms Take Care of Our Health and Wellbeing
    Tamar Barkay (Biochemistry and Microbiology)
  17. The Theory That Wouldn't Die
    Edwin Green (Ecology, Evolution, and Natural Resources)
  18. Understanding and Preventing Food Poisoning
    Donald Schaffner (Food Science)
  19. Between Species: Focus on the Seeing Eye® Dog
    Mary Nucci (Human Ecology)
  20. Climate Change: Identifying Solutions through Supply Chain Archaeology
    Kevin Lyons (Supply Chain Management and Marketing Sciences)
  21. The Hunger Frames
    Gretchen Chapman (Psychology) and Peggy Policastro (Dining Services)