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(L-9: First-Year Seminars)

In December 1997, the University Faculty Senate passed legislation mandating a first-year seminar requirement for all incoming first-year baccalaureate students who were admitted to the University after spring semester 1999.

  1. 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.
  2. FYS are normally taught by regular faculty—tenured, tenure-track, or full-time fixed term faculty with at least three years experience.
  3. The FYS section size is normally limited to 20 students. Minor exceptions to this limit may occur from time to time but should not be standard practice.
  4. Content and number of credits (between 1 and 4) are at the discretion of colleges, but seminars are designed to engage students in the scholarly community and to introduce them to the faculty. Activities to achieve these goals include:
    • Introducing students to university study and to Penn State as an academic community.
    • Acquainting students with learning tools and resources.
    • Providing opportunities to develop academic relationships with faculty and peers.
    • Introducing responsibilities as members of the community.
  5. It is expected that all baccalaureate degree candidates will include a first-year seminar as part of their first 27 credits scheduled in residence at Penn State. Students are encouraged to complete this requirement in their first two periods of enrollment.
  6. The following students are exempt from the FYS requirement: provisional and nondegree (regular and conditional) students who have completed 18 or more credits in that status, advanced standing admits (18 or more transfer credits), admits with 18 or more credits in another status at Penn State (e.g., associate degree), and associate degree candidates.
  7. Students who do not successfully complete an FYS must fulfill the requirement in an alternative activity as directed by the associate dean of their college.
  8. If a student is changing colleges or equivalent units, his/her FYS course or approved alternative activity is wholly portable and must be counted as meeting the FYS requirement in the new college/unit. However, if a student's college/unit waived the FYS requirement, his/her new college/unit may require an alternative activity.
  9. Each college at University Park will provide as many FYS seats as are required to meet the needs of all first-year students enrolled in that college, plus a proportion of Division of Undergraduate Studies (DUS) students. Annually, the executive director of DUS will identify and assign, in consultation with the colleges, the number of FYS seats that may be needed in each college. Colleges at other locations will provide as many FYS seats as are required to meet the needs of all first-year baccalaureate students enrolled at that location.
  10. Annually, ACUE will review each college's participation rate using data provided by the University Registrar and Undergraduate Education.
Approved: ACUE (9-06-01)
Revised: ACUE (3-14-0


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