LSA Faculty Interested in Teaching a First-Year Seminar

How are first-year seminars designed?

Most departments offer topics courses that allow individual faculty to make use of their own scholarly expertise and interests. The material should be aimed at the level of first-year students and taught in a seminar format that emphasizes active participation and vigorous discussion. Each seminar must meet one of the following requirements:

Fulfill an LSA area distribution

  • 3-credit course that meets for three contact hours in the classroom per week, preferably divided into two or three time periods, with a maximum enrollment of 20.
  • Course content fulfills one of LSA's area distributions (Humanities, Social Science, Natural Science, Interdisciplinary, Mathematics & Symbolic Analysis, and Creative Expression).
  • Those with the appropriate content may also meet the Race and Ethnicity (R&E) or Quantitative Reasoning (QR) Requirement.

Satisfy the First-Year Writing Requirement

  • 4-credit course that meets for three contact hours in the classroom per week, preferably divided into two or three time periods, with a maximum enrollment of 18.
  • Course content fulfills the First-Year Writing Requirement.

What are the common characteristics of successful first-year seminars?

  • High level of student participation with a limited amount of lecturing
  • Carefully structured course with a planned syllabus, clear assignments
    and focused discussion
  • Availability of instructor for student interaction
  • Considerable feedback on writing and other assigned work
  • Substantial and "accessible" reading
  • Clear guidelines on grading policies

How are new seminars proposed?

Regular faculty are expected to teach departmental FYS as part of their regular faculty load and should contact their departmental staff. Part-time or non-LSA instructors want to teach a seminar offered previously through the University Courses Division should contact the FYS Office and include any changes such as course title, description, day and/or time. For new topics, instructors should submit the following information to the FYS Office:

  1. Completed UC Faculty Information Sheet
  2. One-page course proposal stating primary goal and focus of seminar, reading assignments, class format and instructional style, and methods of evaluation.
  3. Sample end-of-term evaluations from similar courses instructor has taught.
  4. Detailed description for the LSA online course guide that includes textbooks and course requirements.
  5. Brief description of 60-75 words (2-3 lines) for the FYS brochure.

LSA First-Year Seminar Program
2242 LSA
763-7139
Contact: Pam Rinker (pjmoran@umich.edu), FYS Program Coordinator, or Evans Young (evansy@umich.edu), Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Education.


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