Skip to Main Content
Xavier Library Home Employee Hub Student Hub

First-Year Seminar for Faculty: Home


In Xavier's First-Year Seminars, new students work closely with faculty on challenging problems and texts. FYS is an interdisciplinary exploration of the greater good, laying the foundation for the Core and for major programs. Faculty in any department and college are welcome to teach a FYS.

This guide provides information on the FYS Goals and Student Learning Outcomes, a library of assignment ideas, and links to campus resources and to first-year experience resources.

What's new in the LibGuide?  Click here to find out.

FYS Events

FYS holds two events each semester.

Spark: The FYS Call for the Greater Good is panel discussion of professionals from a variety of disciplines. Panelists discuss their approach to the greater good and their personal vocations/career paths. This event is typically held in the evening early in the semester.  All FYS students are encouraged (or required by their professors) to attend.

Flame: The FYS Celebration of Student Learning is a showcase of FYS student research projects.  All FYS courses are encouraged to participate. It is typically held the last week of classes in the library.  

Core Connections

FYS lays the foundation for the Core and connects especially with Goa and E/RS.

You may wish to bring up points of contact between your CORE 100 classes and the discussions students will have in their Goa sections. 

Fall 2024 Goa Schedule


Week 1: Welcome to GOA. Students will learn about the resources and services available here on campus, including academic advising, career advising, success coaches, financial aid, health & wellness, etc.


Week 2: Personal Wellbeing. Students learn strategies and resources for maintaining and restoring balance between physical, financial, intellectual, emotional, social, community, purpose and spiritual pillars. This includes a list of on-campus resources. 


Week 3: Resilience and Mindset. Students will review three components of resiliency: emotional regulation, distress tolerance, and interpersonal effectiveness. In addition, they will learn difference between a fixed and a growth mindset


Week 4: Academic Strategies. Students will review personal strategies for academic success and identify campus resources to help with academic success.


Week 5: Keys to Success  Students will develop personal strategies for academic success, learn how to use Self Service tools to evaluate degree progression, and Identify steps to prepare for course registration.


Week 6: Reflection. Students will present on what you have learned about yourself during these first six weeks.


Please contact the Director of FYS, Randy Browne, with any questions or suggestions.

Getting Started

Course Design

While each instructor is free to design the course assignments, CORE 100 seminars should fit certain design expectations:

  • Seminar format with the focus on student discussion and interaction, rather than a lecture format.
  • Argument based and/or research based writing assignments totaling around 15 pages, and ideally no more than 20 pages (or the equivalent in alternative projects). In addition, short pre-class or reflective writing may be assigned. See Assignment Ideas for more.
  • Challenging texts as the heart of the course, of an amount and nature that may challenge students' expectations but does not overwhelm their ability to process and discuss the material. See FYS Student Learning Outcomes for more on selecting challenging texts.
  • Classroom climate and policies that set a high bar for student expectations and define student success, yet meet students where they are as first-year students. See Assignment Ideas for more.

Course Approval Process

The FYS Task Committee will issue calls for new course proposals each semester. Faculty in any department and college are welcome to teach a FYS. 

A course proposal consists of a title, a short description aimed at students, a long paragraph description aimed at the task force, a list of provisional texts, and an agreement to incorporate the FYS Goals and Student Learning Outcomes into the syllabus. See here for examples of approved courses. If you wish to propose a course, log on to Nexus and click on "Core Curriculum Course Submissions" under "Electronic Forms/Requests." 

During the approval process, the FYS Task Force will look for the following:

  • Are the title and description comprehensible and attractive to incoming students?
  • Does the proposal adequately address each of the FYS Goals, including explicit discussion of how the course fits with the theme of "the greater good"?
  • Does the proposal adequately address each of the FYS Student Learning Outcomes?

FYS works with faculty and department chairs to determine the semester and number of sections for each FYS course. 

Program Assessment

So that FYS remains strong over time, instructors are expected to provide course material and feedback for assessment and program evaluation.  Materials will be collected and reviewed to assure that assignments cover the SLOs of FYS. These materials may include:

  • Course syllabi
  • Assignment instructions
  • Completed assessment rubrics, as provided by the FYS Committee
  • Graded assignments (particularly ones saved via Canvas)
  • Instructor feedback
  • Notes from participation in focus groups