First-Year Seminar Programs: Keeping the Academic Component of the First-Year Experience Academic

As faculty directors of first-year seminar (FYS) programs, one of us at a large public university and the other on a small private liberal arts campus, we have learned how easily FYS directors can find themselves in the crosshairs of competing understandings and goals of the program. FYSs are often a part of a larger set of campus programming known as the “first-year experience” (FYE). Our focus here is on the FYS, specifically, as the academic component of this FYE. FYS directors and faculty are often asked to be all things to all people, which can compromise the academic integrity of FYS and its distinctive contribution to the FYE. Here, we articulate a model structure of FYS that centers the importance and integrity of the academic experience.

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