The First Year Seminars (FYS) are a group of courses that are part of the FOCUS Program at UW-Green Bay. They are high impact, first contact courses designed to foster a learning environment for first year students which help students readily adjust to campus life, develop intellectual and life skills, and engage dynamically in a lower level class. The courses provide high quality interactions with the professor and classmates in a small size seminar environment. The Seminars also encourage students to connect with the campus community through a variety of activities.
Each seminar is an interdisciplinary course specifically designed by the instructor or a smaller section of a regularly offered general education course. Although the academic content varies among the seminars, each seminar focuses on common elements. The most important goal of these seminars is to provide fundamental support to the mission of UW-Green Bay and its focus on student learning. All seminars earn general education credit in their respective areas and lower level writing emphasis credit.
Because seminars are offered in different disciplines and are a part of the larger FOCUS program, all have common elements. The common elements are:
- To promote engagement and to facilitate a positive adjustment to college.
- To introduce students to a problem-focused, interdisciplinary education.
- To promote the development of critical thinking and problem solving skills.
- To develop communication skills
- To promote information literacy.
The First Year Seminars have a dedicated faculty. These faculty members are part of a team of instructors who are coordinated at the university-level and work with each other to plan, design, teach, and assess the seminars.
With their small size (maximum enrollment of 25 students), the seminars encourage an active learning environment. They devote significant portions of class time to group discussions, problem solving, inquiry-based learning, and activities that provide students with opportunities to develop their critical thinking and communication skills.
Why Teach a First Year Seminar?
Faculty may ask why teach a first year seminar? There are several excellent reasons for this.
- Satisfaction gained as you help first year students get off to a good start
- Close engagement with students during their first year
- A chance to teach a favorite topic
- An opportunity for creative teaching in a small seminar format
- Enhancing student retention of first year students
- Opportunity to work with colleagues from different disciplines who are dedicated to the same purposes
- Discussions on teaching pedagogies that provide a variety of good ideas to use in classes
Developing a First Year Seminar
If you plan to develop a first year seminar, you should know that all first year seminars must:
- introduce students to interdisciplinarity.
- develop communication skills.
- promote information literacy.
- meet the requirements for a lower level writing emphasis course.
If you would like to develop or teach a first year seminar, please contact Donna Ritch, Associate Dean of College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Denise Bartell, Director for the Students in Transition Center (email@example.com)