First-Year Seminars

First-Year Seminars (FYS) are 3-credit hour courses developed for freshmen. They are taught by faculty and focus on thought-provoking and innovative topics that capitalize on the faculty member’s expertise. During the 2011-2012 academic year, a steering committee of faculty, staff, and students designed the FYS program and developed the pilot seminars for Fall 2012. Members of the steering committee are currently teaching pilot First-Year Seminar courses. For more information, please review the detailed FYS steering committee work plan for Spring 2012 and committee roster.


FYS Program Objectives:

The FYS program is a cornerstone of KU’s plan to invest in first-year experiences that promote student engagement in the intellectual life of the university (Goal 1C in Bold Aspirations). FYS courses are designed to introduce students to intellectual discovery and scholarly inquiry at the university, develop and inspire students’ own intellectual curiosity, and foster critical thinking and learning skills. The goal is to lay a strong foundation for lifelong learning and inquiry to serve our students in their academic and professional careers. FYS also create early connections between students and faculty members.


FYS Course Guidelines:

  • Enrollment in each First-Year Seminar is limited to 19 freshmen students.
  • There are no prerequisites for FYS; therefore they should be designed for students from any discipline who have an interest in the topic.
  • FYS classes promote active learning, discussion, and engagement with peers.
  • All FYS are designed around the critical thinking goal and learning outcome for the KU Core. See kucore.ku.edu.
  • FYS course assignments also emphasize written communication skills.
  • FYS courses are organized around applied problems and expose students to hands-on or experiential learning opportunities.
  • FYS courses include a capstone assignment and a plan for gauging students’ achievement of learning outcomes on this assignment.
  • FYS courses include library training and promote collaborations with other units on campus.
  • Interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary courses, or cross-course connections between individual FYS, are encouraged.

First-Year Seminar Steering Committee Roster:

  • Andrea Greenhoot (chair) - Psychology
  • Jill Becker - Libraries
  • Robert Bayliss – Spanish & Portuguese
  • Sarah Crawford-Parker – Provost’s Office
  • Chuck Epp – Public Affairs & Administration
  • David Fowle – Geology
  • Lisa Friis – Mechanical Engineering
  • Alison Gabriel - Linguistics
  • John Gronbeck-Tedesco – Theatre
  • Dennis Karney - Business
  • Deron McGee – Music
  • Haley Miller - Student
  • Milena Stanislavova – Mathematics
  • Mike Williams - Journalism
  • Nathan Wood - History
Bold Aspirations

Bold Aspirations is the strategic plan for KU, comprising individual plans for the following:

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#KUtbt to the dedication of Hoch Auditorium in 1927. After Hoch was lost in the fire of 1991, the building was rebuilt as Budig Hall, but the three lecture halls inside are still known as Hoch Auditoria. What is your favorite class you've taken in the 1,000 person classroom in Budig? Tags: #KUcampus #tbt #History #Auditorium

KU-Van Go partnership supports young people in need Van Go, a Lawrence social service agency, and student interns from the University of Kansas use art to teach job and life skills to high-needs youth. Since the program was established in 1997, hundreds of teens in crisis have found success as they create art for the community. In 2013, Van Go and KU received the inaugural Outstanding Community & Campus Collaboration Award at the Campus Compact Heartland Conference on Civic Engagement. The award recognizes an outstanding, involved, and sustained campus--community partnership.


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