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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 mid-September and late January/early February. Panelists will discuss their approach to the greater good and their personal vocations. Spark will be on Thursday, September 2, 2021 at 7:00 p.m. in Cintas.

Flame: The FYS Celebration of Student Learning is in late November and mid-April.  

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 2021 Goa Schedule


Week 1: Set up for Success. 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:  Money Matters. Students will learn about federal school loans, how to save/earn money, credit and the pros and cons of compound interest. 


Week 3: Personal Wellness. 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 4: The Xavier Community. Students will learn what it means to be part of the Xavier community, including the Xavier student commitment and engaged bystander techniques. As well, they’ll learn about faculty’s role as a mandatory reporter for gender based violence and their options for confidential reporting


Week 5: Microaggressions, Power, and Privilege. Students learn about racial stereotypes and microaggressions and how they can work towards preventing them in the future.


Week 6: Academic Strategies. Students learn about study skill strategies, calculating GPA and using DegreeWorks, and how to search/register for spring classes.


Please contact the Director of FYS, Niamh J. O'Leary, 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 Force 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. These materials may include:

  • Course syllabi
  • Assignment instructions
  • Completed assessment rubrics, as provided by the Task Force
  • Graded assignments (particularly ones saved via Canvas)
  • Instructor feedback
  • Participation in focus groups