University College

University College

Common Goals And Objectives For First Year Seminar

First Year Seminar Conceptual Outline

University of Texas at Arlington

Nationally, higher education faculty are reporting concerns regarding the preparedness of entering students to deal with the rigors of college-level work, and colleges and universities are struggling to maintain retention and graduate rates of their students. To address these types of issues, more than 80 percent of colleges and universities across the country have created a first-year seminar (FYS) in some form. Once a feature of just small liberal arts colleges, FYS courses are now prominent at major research institutions such as Stanford, UCLA, UT Austin, MIT, Northwestern, Michigan, and Wisconsin, to name a few.

Proposed Course Type

The following points highlight the basic nature of an FYS course based on national "best practices" and the needs of our institution:

  • Seminar course with 25 students per section
  • Faculty-taught, with peer mentor inclusion
  • Three-hour, graded course
  • 50 percent disciplinary-based or popular-interest topic, 50 percent academic success and transition skills
  • Standard set of objectives that will be approved, monitored, and evaluated by a Faculty Review Committee chaired by the Faculty Fellow of University College
  • Professional development for faculty and teaching modules available for the non-discipline-specific course material

Goals and Objectives for a First Year Seminar at UT Arlington

Goal 1: To enhance the essential academic skills of incoming students

  • Objective 1.1: Students will examine and develop academic survival and success strategies (e.g., note-taking, active reading, test preparation and -taking, deep learning techniques, collaborative learning skills).
  • Objective 1.2: Students will examine and develop self-management skills necessary for academic success (e.g., time-management and goal setting, motivation, self-responsibility, concentration, financial literacy).

Goal 2: To facilitate the transition of incoming students to the university environment

  • Objective 2.1: Students will examine and understand the nature of a university and of academic disciplines, faculty expectations, and academic integrity. 
  • Objective 2.2: Students will understand University policies and procedures that impact their ability to acquire a degree.
  • Objective 2.3: Student will explore their strengths and learning styles and relate them to college tasks and major.
  • Objective 2.4: Students will become aware of and use academic and student support resources.
  • Objective 2.5:  Students will explore and apply techniques that promote student wellness.

Goal 3: To develop and utilize critical-thinking skills necessary for academic success

  • Objective 3.1: Students will explore and engage in higher order thinking activities related to a topic from an academic area.
  • Objective 3.2: Students will practice oral and written communication skills.
  • Objective 3.3: Students will conduct library research that includes a critical analysis of sources. 

Goal 4: To develop a connection with UT Arlington

  • Objective 4.1: Students will develop a connection with faculty member and peer academic leader.
  • Objective 4.2: Students will explore and become involved on campus.
  • Objective 4.3: Students will become aware of and use academic and student support resources.
  • Objective 4.4: Students will develop an appreciation for the diversity of the student body.