L-9: FIRST-YEAR SEMINARS
The University Faculty Senate passed legislation in December 1997 mandating a first-year seminar requirement for all incoming first-year baccalaureate students admitted to the University after Spring Semester 1999. The legislation was revised in April 2008 for Summer Session 2009 implementation. Currently, baccalaureate degrees offered by University Park colleges through any delivery unit, including World Campus and Continuing Education, must include the graduation requirement of at least one credit of first-year seminar. The Commonwealth Colleges and University College may require the first-year seminar, but are not required to do so.
- First-year seminars (FYS) are either identified by the course abbreviation "PSU" or by the suffix "S," indicating that the course is a first-year seminar; "T," indicating that the course is an honors course and a first-year seminar; or "X," indicating that the course is both writing intensive and a first-year seminar.
- FYS are normally taught by tenure-line or other regular, full-time faculty members (not staff or graduate students). The dean may grant reasonable exceptions, such as for professional practitioners who teach annually but whose appointments are not full-time.
- The FYS is taught in sections of not more than 25 students.
- Content and number of credits (between 1 and 4) are at the discretion of colleges. The seminars should engage students in learning and orient them to the scholarly community while facilitating students' adjustment to the high expectations, demanding workload, and other aspects of the transition to college life. These goals may be achieved through:
- Introducing students to university study;
- An emphasis on Penn State as an academic community, with many fields of study and areas of interest available to students;
- The acquisition of learning tools and resources;
- Opportunities to develop academic relationships with faculty and peers; and
- The concern for responsibilities that students accrue as members of a community.
Resources for First-Year Engagement Plans
Approved: ACUE (9-06-01)
Revised: ACUE (3-14-02)
Revised: ACUE (10-3-11)