For Prospective Instructors of First Year Seminar
First Year Seminar (UCO 1200) introduces first-year Appalachian students to a liberal arts education at Appalachian through interdisciplinary engagement with a broad topic or question. Experienced faculty engage First Year Seminar students in a shared process of inquiry in small (with an average class size of 22) seminar-style classes. Students in First Year Seminar practice thinking critically and creatively, communicating effectively, developing intercultural competence, and developing information literacy competence. Students in First Year Seminar also engage with the common reading book, and are exposed to university resources and activities, explicit expectations for college-level work, and the purpose of a liberal arts education. In addition to examining distinct topics from multiple perspectives, all classes equip students with a common set of transferable skills. In particular, First Year Seminar facilitates student engagement with fellow students, the university, and the community, and the development of the habits of rigorous study, intellectual growth, and lifelong learning.
Every First Year Seminar course is designed by an individual faculty member on a topic of their choice that integrates the aforementioned common learning goals. Prospective First Year Seminar instructors propose their course and describe how it will meet the common learning goals to an elected faculty committee, who review proposals about a year in advance, and whose approval is required before a course can be taught. First Year Seminar course approvals are valid for three academic years, after which time the approval must be renewed through the elected faculty committee before the course is taught again. First Year Seminar course approvals are also tied to the individual instructor who proposed the course, and cannot be "transferred" to another instructor, but rather must be re-proposed to the elected faculty committee by the new instructor.
First Year Seminar-style courses are offered at numerous colleges and universities around the world, but there are different types. At some colleges and universities, these courses are extended orientations or basic study skills seminars, while at others they introduce students to a specific discipline or profession. First Year Seminar at Appalachian is not a course of one of these types, but rather an academic seminar based on the unique content of the instructor's professional expertise, taught so as to meet the program's common learning goals. As such, First Year Seminar at Appalachian holds the promise and potential of being a rewarding, fun, and enriching experience for both the instructor and their students.
Interested in Teaching First Year Seminar?
The following links contain information regarding the steps to follow when proposing a course to be taught as a First Year Seminar at Appalachian. If you have any questions about this information, please contact Dr. Rick Klima, First Year Seminar Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org
The deadline for submitting a course proposal to be taught in any given semester is 5:00pm on the Friday of the second week of classes during the previous semester. For example, for courses proposed to be taught in the Fall 2024 semester, the deadline is 5:00pm, Friday, January 26, 2024.
First Year Seminar courses provide first year and transfer students the opportunity to learn problem-based research skills in a course that revolves around a common, broad topic. While topics may vary by course, each course is required to have certain elements in it such as use of the Common Reading text, co-curricular activities, and inquiry-based learning.
Why Teach a First Year Seminar Course?
- You have the opportunity to teach your favorite topic.
- You can make a differenct in the lives of first year and transfer students.
- Since First Year Seminar class sizes are small, you have the opportunity for close engagement with students.
- The interdisciplinary nature of First Year Seminar gives you the chance to work with colleagues from other disciplines.
- You have the opportunity to take students outside the classroom for things like service learning projects and co-curricular activities.
- You have the opportunity to participate in discussions on new pedagogies that may provide quidance in other areas of teaching and research.
The First Year Seminar Program employs eleven full-time "core faculty" members in non-tenure-track positions. These core faculty members, who begin as Lecturers but can earn promotion to become Senior Lecturers, teach full loads of First Year Seminar each regular (fall and spring) semester. Additional sections of First Year Seminar are also taught every semester by other instructors. These additional sections of First Year Seminar can be taught by faculty members who are already employed in other academic units at Appalachian, and who teach First Year Seminar either in-load or as an overload with the permission of their Department Chair or Program Director who commit to allowing them to teach First Year Seminar for at least three semesters. Additional sections of First Year Seminar can also be taught by part-time instructors who are hired directly by the First Year Seminar Program, and who have at least a Master's degree plus academic training, scholarly contributions, and prior teaching and/or work experience appropriate for the topic of their First Year Seminar class.
To propose a First Year Seminar course, individuals must submit a current CV, a completed course proposal form, and a draft syllabus. It should be clear in both the proposal form and the draft syllabus how the proposed First Year Seminar course topic, activities, and assignments align with the First Year Seminar student learning goals and expectations for instructors.
Course Bulletin Description
First Year Seminar provides students with an introduction to a liberal arts education at Appalachian. Students practice thinking critically and creatively, communicating effectively, developing intercultural competence, and developing information literacy competence. Students also engage with the common reading book, and are exposed to university resources and activities, explicit expectations for college-level work, and the purpose of a liberal arts education. In addition to examining distinct topics from multiple perspectives, all classes equip students with a common set of transferable skills. In particular, First Year Seminar facilitates student engagement with fellow students, the university, and the community, and the development of the habits of rigorous study, intellectual growth, and lifelong learning.
Note: The First Year Seminar requirement in General Education (which is satisfied by UCO 1200, HON 1515, or WRC 1103) is waived for students who (1) graduated from high school at least one year prior to entering Appalachian, (2) are classified as transfer students by Admissions, AND (3) have earned at least 24 transferable semester credit hours at postsecondary institutions prior to entering Appalachian. Credit by exam or for military or life experience is excluded from the 24 semester credit hours. Students whose First Year Seminar requirement in General Education is waived might have three fewer semester credit hours of General Education.
Explore the next step to see Common Expectations for First Year Seminar and peruse the "For Faculty" links on this FYS website to see how and why the First Year Seminar is designed the way it is.
Each First Year Seminar course is designed and delivered by the instructor, who proposes the course on the topic of their choice in a way that integrates the First Year Seminar student learning goals and expectations of instructors. As such, Appalachian's First Year Seminar courses are academic seminars based on the unique content of their instructor's scholarly expertise and taught so as to meet the shared goals of the program. To provide a measure of consistency and meet the learning outcomes of First Year Seminar, all instructors, regardless of their scholarly focus, should:
- Design a course (topics, assignments, activities) that will enable them to meet the First Year Seminar student learning goals and expectations of instructors.
- Utilize at least two different modes of inquiry.
- Use engaging pedagogies and involve students in a shared process of inquiry.
- Provide formative and summative assessment, giving students feedback early and often so they get a good sense of their strengths and weaknesses.
- Use best practices for syllabus and assignment design so that students get a clear understanding of what is expected of them and what they can expect from the instructor.
- Involve students in problem-based learning with a research/library component.
- Help students make connections with faculty, other students, their courses, and the university through an intentional focus on community building and co-curricular involvement (e.g., service learning, cultural events, outdoor programs, etc.).
- Find ways to incorporate the year's Common Reading book.
- Not design a course that is narrowly focused or an introduction to a specific discpline.
The design of First Year Seminar provides an opportunity for students and faculty to use co-curricular opportunities both on and off campus. These opportunities will help first year and transfer students to make the connection that learning is not always done in the classroom. The incorporation of these opportunities can be as simple as accompanying students to the event and then having students write a reflection journal about what they learned and how it applies to what is being learned in the classroom; however, if you want to incorporate the experience in a much more intricate way in your classroom you can.
Examples of how faculty have used co-curricular activities include:
- Attending the Russian Ballet and writing a reflection journal on the performance
- Attending a performance of Romeo and Juliet and writing a reflection journal on the performance
- Attending Del Mccoury Band and Preservation Hall Concert and writing a reflection journal
- Studying the culture of rivers and then helping with the New River Clean Up
- Learning about the community of Elk Knob then building the hiking trail at Elk Knob Park and helping with Elk Knob Community Day
Instructors have also worked with colleagues to combine classes and take them on co-curricular activities. Activities done in the past include:
- Attending the National Storytellers Festival in Jonesborogh, TN
- Visiting to the National Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C.
- Visiting the RReNEW Collective, an organic farm in Appalachia, Virginia
Instructors are encouraged to seek out and support free campus and community events and activities. Here are some helpful links to see what's happening on campus and in the community:
Free Events for Students and Faculty
- Arts at Appalachian - This site is an overview of the diverse and vibrant arts programs that enrich the cultural and intellectual climate of the ASU campus and region.
- Turchin Center - The Turchin Center for the Visual Arts presents exhibition, education, and collection programs that support Appalachian State University's role as a key regional educational, cultural, economic and service resource.
- Rosen Concert Series/Hayes School of Music - The Hayes School of Music also engages the local and regional community with more than 190 concerts each year, giving students valuable performance experience. The school offers summer workshops for teachers, year-round musical instruction for people of all ages through our community music school and the renowned Cannon Music Camp for outstanding high school musicians.
- The Hughlene Bostian Frank Visiting Writers Series -This series brings visiting poets, fiction and non-fiction writers to speak to the ASU campus and the community.
- Department of Theatre and Dance - The Department of Theatre & Dance offers an array of productions each year featuring students, faculty, alumni and other professionals.
- Outdoor Programs - Outdoor Programs has offered ASU Students, Faculty and Staff a chance to get outside and seek challenge and adventure for nearly 40 years. We are NOT a club and there is NO membership required. We always have something going on from 3-hour team building experiences to 55-day International expeditions, state of the art indoor climbing center to rental gear, OP has something for everyone. So, take a look at the 09/10 Adventure Book, poke around the website and stop by our Base Camp in the Student Recreation Center to discover everything OP can offer you. Don't settle for inside!
- Arts Calendar - This site shows upcoming arts and cultural events at ASU.
- APPS - Through its seven programming councils, A.P.P.S. members select, plan, promote, and present a diverse variety of popular entertainment programs and films which enhance the social and cultural life for Appalachian students.
Service Learning Experiences
- Appalachian and the Community Together - Appalachian & the Community Together (ACT) is Appalachian State University's clearinghouse for community service, service-learning, and community-based research opportunities within the NC High Country area, as well as across the state, nation, and world. We offer diverse opportunities for individuals and student groups to get involved in human services and environmental advocacy, as well as assist faculty members and community partners with integrating community service projects into their academic courses and local agencies.
First Year Seminar classes are framed around academic topics of which their instructors have professional expertise and a passion for teaching. First Year Seminar instructors design their classes with activities and assignments that align with the following expectations and learning goals.
Expectations for Instructors
These expectations, which are not subject to program-level assessment, require class activities but not graded assignments.
E1. Expose Students to University Resources and Activities
- Evidence of Success: Students will be able to identify and locate various resources available to them at Appalachian, and recognize opportunities for becoming involved in university life and within the community.
E2. Expose Students to Explicit Expectations for College-Level Work
- Evidence of Success: Students will understand the time and effort required during and outside class meetings to achieve success in college, complete work with deadlines, and apply previous learning to demonstrate comprehension and perspectives about education and life.
E3. Expose Students to the Purpose of a Liberal Arts Education
- Evidence of Success: Students will understand how a liberal arts education will help prepare them for the complexities and transitions of a life of civic engagement, cultivate their intellect and imagination, and develop transferable life skills.
E4. Engage Students with the Common Reading Book
- Evidence of Success: Students will engage critically with the common reading book, build topical and global knowledge based on the book, and be involved in a civil discourse about contemporary issues related to the book with diverse members of the university community.
Learning Goals for Students
These learning goals, which are subject to program-level assessment, require class activities and also graded assignments that provide opportunities for students to develop the skills while receiving meaningful and evaluative individual feedback from their instructors.
G1. Think Critically and Creatively
- Student Learning Outcomes: Students will question based on information, allow for alternate possibilities, reason following coherent sequences, evaluate and organize information, utilize novel ideas or types of evaluation, rely on appropriate evidence and methodologies to support conclusions, and use empirically derived evidence to address problems.
G2. Communicate Effectively
- Student Learning Outcomes: Students will identify the purpose of their message and aspects of their audience and sources, demonstrate an awareness of diverse viewpoints and the scope of their assumptions, organize their message, use appropriate modes of communication, follow conventions of the discipline, and maintain audience engagement.
G3. Develop Intercultural Competence
- Student Learning Outcomes: Students will be aware of their own cultural rules and biases, understand the complexity of elements important to other cultures, view others through their own cultural worldview, understand cultural differences in communication, demonstrate interest in other cultures, and be receptive to interacting with other cultures.
G4. Develop Information Literacy Competence
- Student Learning Outcomes: Students will use multiple sources to investigate a topic, utilize appropriate search strategies to locate sources, identify criteria and characteristics for authority to determine the credibility of sources, and demonstrate proper attribution and citation to credit and acknowledge the original ideas of others.
The university requires all instructors to post certain policy statements on their syllabi. These statements, which can be found on the Academic Affairs website, and include policies on the Academic Integrity Code, Disability Resources, Attendance, and Student Engagement with Courses, can be copied and pasted or described and linked directly in syllabi.
First Year Seminar Office Hours Policy
All instructors at Appalachian are mandated to schedule 1.5 office hours weekly for every 3-credit hour course they teach in a regular (fall or spring) semester. For First Year Seminar classes, office hours should be held based on the course delivery method as follows:
- For classes that meet fully face-to-face, office hours would ideally also be held fully face-to-face. As an accommodation for instructors who do not live near campus or are not able to be offered office space, up to half of required office hours may be held online. Online office hours must be held live iwth active video (i.e., not just via monitored email or by appointment), and the means of access must be included on course syllabi.
- For classes that meet fully online, office hours must also be held fully online, live with active video (i.e., not just via monitored email or by appointment), and the means of access should be included on course syllabi.
- For classes that meet with a mix of face-to-face and online meetings, office hours should be split with the same mix between face-to-face and online. As an accommodation for instructors who do not live near campus or are not able to be offered office space, up to half of required face-to-face office hours may be held online. All online office hours must be held live with active video (i.e., not just via monitored email or by appointment), and the means of access must be included on course syllabi.
The following are some recommendations for your syllabi:
- Instructor bio -- Why do you teach this topic? What qualifies you? Where were you educated? What are your academic interests, etc.
- Instructor's policy on recording/duplicating information -- Do you allow students to record, photograph, videotape, or otherwise copy your presentations, class discussions, slides, lecture notes, etc.? If not, this should be included in syllabi.
- Instructor's policy on technological devices -- While Appalachian requires that we allow students to have their cell phones with them and on in classrooms, provided they are set on vibrate mode (because of Appalachian's emergency communication system), instructors should include in syllabi whether students are allowed to be using devices in class, including mobile phones, tablets, laptops, cameras, etc.
- First Year Seminar website -- https://universitycollege.appstate.edu/programs/first-year-seminar includes many helpful resources for students.
The following forms are in Microsoft Word .docx file formats. If you need any of these forms in a different format, please contact Dr. Rick Klima, First Year Seminar Director, at email@example.com. The first link is to the First Year Seminar Course Proposal Form, which is for new First Year Seminar courses that have not been previously evaluated by the First Year Seminar Faculty Coordinating Committee. The second link is to a First Year Seminar Syllabus Template, which can be used to ensure that syllabi include all required/appropriate information. The third link is to the First Year Seminar Course Renewal Form, which is for existing First Year Seminar courses that have already been approved by the First Year Seminar Faculty Coordinating Committee, and taught during three academic years by their instructors, who are seeking to renew their courses to be taught during an additional three academic years.
In support of First Year Seminar Student Learning Goal G4: Develop Information Literacy Competence, all First Year Seminar students are required to complete the First Year Seminar Online Library Modules. Information about the Modules, which are made available by the university's First Year Experience Librarian to all First Year Seminar instructors and students each semester via AsULearn, can be found at https://guides.library.appstate.edu/fys-faculty. The University Libraries and First Year Seminar Program recommend that completion of the Modules be included by instructors as 5% of students' First Year Seminar final course averages.
In order that First Year Seminar students can practice what they learn in the Modules, all First Year Seminar courses should include a research assignment that helps students build information literacy skills. and through which instructors can provide individual students with feedback on their research strengths and areas for growth. It is recommended that the Modules be assigned to students prior to or concurrently with this research assignment, ideally scaffolded appropriately to align with parts of the assignment. Instructors and the university's First Year Experience Librarian can be close partners in helping students develop the skills they will need to succeed.