Frequently Asked Questions for FYS
What are the learning outcomes of the First Year
- First Year Seminars are writing-intensive, topical
courses that introduce students to academic thought and
discourse. FYS courses address learning outcomes
designed to prepare and orient students toward
productive and fulfilling college careers. These
outcomes include the development of written fluency, the
ability to read texts purposefully, and the capacity to
gather topic-appropriate research materials.
What does it mean to be "writing intensive?"
- A writing intensive course contains substantial
writing assignments with feedback and revisions. FYS
courses must contain at least fifteen pages of evaluated
student writing. Some faculty assign three five-page
papers, but many use a variety of short and long
assignments including annotated bibliographies,
outlines, and shorter writing assignments mixed with
longer papers to reach the necessary fifteen pages.
Often, when counting all these writing activities, more
than fifteen pages of student writing is assigned.
What support is available for faculty who want to
teach a FYS course?
- The FYS coordinators assist faculty in generating
ideas for and planning FYS courses. Coordinators can
provide non-evaluative feedback and suggestions as well
as sample syllabi and assignments from successful FYS
- A Blackboard site with sample syllabi, rubrics,
assignments and outcome documents is available to all
faculty. Faculty may self-enroll in the course
“VC302-001 First Year Seminar Support” or email the FYS
coordinator. All current and past FYS faculty are
- The FYS coordinator and other faculty coordinators,
including the WAC coordinator, schedule workshops on
assignment creation and course design related to the FYS
and SYS courses. An annual May symposium encourages
faculty to discuss these issues further.
What are the unique challenges and opportunities in
teaching first year students?
- First year students confront a number of challenges
ranging from inexperience with college expectations and
etiquette to lack of effective writing and critical
reading skills. An explicit FYS goal is to assist
students in developing the critical skills necessary for
success in college. Many faculty teach FYS courses to
help shape the academic careers of BSU students at an
early stage. Faculty teaching First Year Seminars are
able to introduce students to the world of academic
discourse through small, topical classes that resonate
What Core Curriculum requirements does First Year
- FYS satisfy the mandatory FYS Core Curriculum
requirement, which must be completed within the first
24-credit hours. FYS may satisfy one of the distribution
areas (Humanities, Fine and Performing Arts, Natural
Science, or Social and Behavioral Science). If a FYS
satisfies a distribution area, then it must address the
outcomes of knowing and understanding the intellectual
frameworks, and methodologies of that distribution area.
The FYS does not have to satisfy a distribution area.
Who may offer a First Year Seminar?
- Any department may offer a First Year Seminar. If
the department is designated as normally offering
courses in a given distribution area, approval beyond
the departmental level for the course to count toward
the distribution area is not required. However, if the
course lies outside of a distribution area or is offered
by a department that does not normally offer
distribution-area courses, then that course does NOT
automatically satisfy a Core Curriculum Distribution
requirement. In order to receive approval for satisfying
a distribution area, the course must be submitted to ACC
How do I offer a First Year Seminar?
- As with all courses, FYS courses are offered through
departments. If you are interested in teaching a FYS,
the FYS coordinators are available to help develop your
course, but your department chair and/or curriculum
committee must approve the course and submit it to the
Dean for the course to be listed on the course schedule.
Again, consult with FYS coordinators about course
pedagogy, but consult with your department about
actually offering the course.
Last Modified: April 26, 2011