Policy and Procedures for First Year Seminar Instructors

First Year Seminar instructors form a dynamic group of instructors across disciplines. By clicking below you will find statements that are required on your syllabus, opportunities for extra-curricular activities for your class, instructions on how to apply to receive money for class functions, and other useful information for teaching your course. View teaching resources here.

Common Expectations of FYS Faculty

The First Year Seminar can be the most impactful course of a new student's first year on the Appalachian campus. FYS faculty are expected to teach engaging courses that meet the learning objectives of the FYS program as a whole, and to this end design meaningful assignments and activities, and give feedback to students in a timely fashion so that they can become more aware of their strengths and deficits. FYS faculty are expected to point students to relevant campus resources and co-curricular events for a successful and transformative experience of college.

In addition, all Appalachian State faculty are guided by the basic instructional expectations listed in our Faculty Handbook, namely:

Faculty Handbook 6.1.2 Instructional Expectations
Activity directly affecting the education of students includes class preparation and student evaluation, scheduled and unscheduled office hours for individual student counseling, and meetings of committees within programs, departments, colleges, and schools of the institution that are responsible for curriculum development, syllabus preparation, and program evaluation. Instructional assignments will be arranged through consultation among faculty, unit administrators, and deans and determined by the individual faculty member's total professional workload. Within this framework, classroom teaching assignments for faculty members may vary from semester to semester and from one faculty member to another. The maximum teaching load for faculty is twelve credit hours per semester, or equivalently twelve instructional contact/load hours in formally scheduled lab, clinical or studio courses, in addition to office hours as defined in Faculty Handbook section For each formal instructional credit/contact/load hour, faculty members typically spend two to three hours in preparation for teaching.

Faculty Handbook and require the following for all syllabi:
A syllabus is to be prepared for each course and distrubted at the first of the semester. The syllabus should include the following:

  • an explanation of course goals and objectives,
  • the name of the text and any other materials required of each student,
  • the instructor's office hours,
  • an explanation of how the grade is to be determined, and
  • an explanation of any additional readings, papers, projects, and examination which the instructor expects to give or assign.

Syllabi for courses taught in the present and the previous semester should be on file in the departmental offices and should be made available to students who request them. These syllabi would indicate the structure of courses as they are being or have been taught. See these expectations spelled out on the Academic Affairs website.

FYS Office Hours Policy

The Appalachian State University Faculty Handbook manadates that faculty schedule 1.5 office hours for every 3-credit course they teach in the regular academic year, and that each unit have a policy of the mix of in-person vs. virtual hours. In First Year Seminar, ideally all FYS faculty keep all required office hours face to face. However, up to 1/3 of the required office hours can be online/virtual, in which case instructors must articlulate the means of access to those virtual hours on the syllabus.

Faculty are Required to Meet Classes

Faculty are required to meet their students for all of the contact hours of the semester, including the final exam period. The Appalachian State University Faculty Handbook requires that faculty report any absence from class (any time one does not meet one's students in the scheduled class time), regardless of reason or the presence of a substitute instructor: Faculty Absences from Class
Whenever a faculty member must cancel a class for any reason, she or he must notify the unit administrator. The faculty member must make appropriate arrangements for the missed student class time.

Don't Cancel That Class!

In the rare circumstance where you cannot meet your class, you must notify the FYS Office and also make arrangements for another instructor/presenter to take your class. If you must cancel due to an emergency situation, you must still notify the FYS Office and attempt to make arrangements for an alternative assignment. See a number of possible arrangements if you can't meet your classes listed on our Don't Cancel That FYS Class List.

Peer Review of Your FYS Class

Appalachian State University requires that all untenured faculty receive a peer classroom observation and review annually, and that this must take place before personnel decisions are made. Read the rationale and guidelines for peer classroom observations here.

Requesting Contracts to Teach FYS

If you are or hope to be teaching in FYS and do not teach in any other unit on campus, and you are not on a multi-year contract to teach, then you must submit and updated CV and a formal letter requesting a contract to teach FYS in the following academic year. These letters are typically submitted before the end of the fall semester before the academic year for which you are requesting the contract. This letter should be addressed to the Director of FYS and the University College Department Personnel Committee and include the following:

  • The number (and titles) of FYS courses you're requesting to teach in the Fall and Spring of the next academic year, along with any specific classroom requests.
  • List any faculty development work you've engaged in during the past year relating to your FYS teaching;
  • List any University service (including service in FYS) or relevant professional or community service that you've done during the past year;
  • Discuss any plans to ensure quality teaching and address concerns revealed in your most recent sets of Student Evaluations of Teaching; and
  • Mention anything else you feel is relevant to show your engagement with teaching first-year students.

Why We Must Collect Your Current CV and Syllabi Every Year

We collect an updated Curriculum Vitae (CV) each year from all First Year Seminar instructors of record to ensure that all teaching faculty in FYS possess the appropriate credentials and meet or exceed the minimum requirements of our regional accrediting body, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). Your CV must include all educational degrees and certificates you hold, courses taught, and your current title(s). Please be sure the title/rank you are using on your CV is the one on your current contract (e.g., lecturer, senior lecturer, adjunct instructor, visiting assistant professor, assistant professor, associate professor, professor, artist-in-residence, clinical faculty).

We must have a copy of an up-to-date CV whether you are an EHRA Administrative employee, whether you are full-time or part-time, adjunct or not, whether your FYS course/course proposal was already approved or not, and regardless of the location of the course or mode of delivery. Therefore if you teach in no unit other than FYS in Univeristy College, you must sumbit an updated CV as well as your current FYS course syllabus.

Full-Time Faculty in FYS: Annual Performance Evaluation Materials