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FYS Information for Faculty

About FYS

This innovative and important program is designed to introduce first year students to both the challenges of academic engagement and the pleasures of belonging to the RIC community of scholars. We hope that students will remember their First Year Seminar course as one of the most important classes in their college careers.

FYS 100 is an opportunity for faculty members to pursue a personal interest or passion that may or may not be directly connected to their usual areas of academic expertise or pedagogy. Professors are encouraged to think creatively to construct projects and experiences so that students will not merely be the recipients of knowledge, but will be actively engaged in the learning process. Because the course is open only to first or second semester students, the instruction should be targeted at that level, and cannot assume prerequisite skills or knowledge.

First Year Seminars should:

  • Engage students in academic conversation
  • Offer students opportunities to work collaboratively with others
  • Guide students in constructing academic questions
  • Introduce students to college-level academic writing and speaking
  • Help students begin to learn how to evaluate all information critically, including its sources and authority; to recognize quality of material or point of view; and to respond to quality of material and/or point of view
  • Provide incoming students with academic role models
  • Establish standards of academic behavior and college expectations
  • Teach skills and introduce Rhode Island College resources organically throughout the class as they become relevant
  • Provide support for the transition from high school to college
  • Encourage connections among the students, with faculty, with the College, and with the broader community

FYS should NOT:

  • be dominated almost entirely by lecture
  • be online or hybrid courses. (Blackboard, however, may certainly be used as a tool for student engagement)
  • be introductions to a discipline or a survey of a field
  • use exams, whether mid-term or final
  • require "term papers" or other lengthy, research-based essays

Teaching First Year Students:  While developing the course, professors should remind themselves that these students are inexperienced with the academic world, but that they are very excited about being a part of it and are willing to work hard to succeed. Some may see the College as a place for a fresh start, where they can develop skills with which they may have struggled in high school. FYS is designed to channel that excitement into an active and informed participation in academic discourse. At the end of the First Year Seminar, students should feel a sense of pride and accomplishment for tackling a rigorous class successfully.

Course Format and Assignments:  Creative assignments, including field experiences and assignments that make imaginative use of technology or ask students to engage in service, are welcomed. Professors should be aware of their own pedagogical strengths, and centralize those strengths for this class. Each FYS course should be designed to introduce students to the General Education Outcomes listed below, with assignments and activities designed to help students begin to master these outcomes. Help and advice are available both from the First Year Seminar Coordinator and from the Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning (FCTL).

General Education outcomes associated with FYS: All the outcomes should be considered at the introductory level. So, for example, for the research fluency outcome, FYS is following the example of First Year Writing and focusing on helping students to understand that research is an iterative process. In FYS, students should begin to learn how to evaluate all information critically, including its sources and authority; to recognize quality of material and/or point of view; and to respond to quality of material and/or point of view.

  • Collaborative Work
  • Critical and Creative thinking
  • Oral Communication​
  • Research Fluency
  • Written Communication​

Page last updated: November 30, 2018