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Characteristics of a First-Year Seminar

First-Year Seminars are an enrollment option for students in the fall semester.  Each First-Year Seminar offering is unique, but all are designed to satisfy the critical thinking learning outcome for the KU Core:

Students will be able to analyze and evaluate assumptions, claims, evidence, arguments, and forms of expression; select and apply interpretive tools.

Other characteristics of a First-Year Seminar:

First-Year Seminars foster a sense of belonging for students new to the university.  Through an investigation of an interesting question in a discipline, students also develop academic skills that serve as a strong foundation for their studies at KU.  First-Year Seminars share the following characteristics:

  • They have no prerequisites.
  • They use a small set of materials to help students develop skills critical to college success—information literacy, using evidence and source materials, early research skills, etc.
  • Class time prioritizes discussion and active learning.
  • Course and assignment design supports early and frequent feedback.
  • Seminars provide exposure to experiential learning opportunities.
  • Seminars provide exposure to experiential learning opportunities. To support faculty, FYE hosts an annual spring event that brings together FYS faculty with representatives from campus museums and offices that offer experiential learning opportunities in order to explore possibilities for class involvement. 

Required FYS course features:

  • Participation in a campus event.  We encourage the KU Common Book author visit.
  • Participation in the First-Year Seminar Colloquium.
  • A library visit.
  • A required office visit.
  • Seminars include an integrative assignment for gauging students’ achievement of the critical thinking learning outcome.

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