Faculty First-Year Seminar (FFYS) Information
FFYS Application form Fall 2021: Application Deadline is Wednesday, April 14th, 2021
QUESTIONS? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org
UMass Amherst is committed to providing all entering first-year students with a seminar that affords an opportunity to make connections, discover ways to become engaged on campus, and increase their ability to become self-guided learners through a small class experience.
To assist seminar instructors in providing this common experience, Student Success has developed expanded explanations of common content requirements, resources with suggested activities as well as support materials for students.
First-Year Seminar Common Content Goals
This common content has been identified via research through the Provost’s Office of best practices. The content contributes to the objectives of engaging our first-year students and assisting them in their transition to the college environment.
Every First-Year Seminar (Faculty First-Year Seminars and seminars sponsored by the schools and colleges) will contain the elements of the common content which attend to the following themes/goals:
- Goal #1, Enhancing Engagement: Ensure students are well informed about the wide array of opportunities and campus resources that will assist them and enhance their college experience.
- Goal #2, Building Connections: Foster students' feeling of connection to their fellow students and various partners across campus. Assist students in understanding the core values and community standards define what it means to be a member of the UMass Amherst community.
- Goal #3, Self-Guided Learning: Introduce students to the importance of developing and utilizing mindful time management, targeted study strategies, and intentional planning for academic achievement and pathways to success.
Expanded explanations of each theme, including background and rationale, information and resources, and one or two suggested activities, are available to assist faculty and instructors in developing a syllabus that reflects the inclusion of these concepts into seminars.
Materials for Students
Student Success has developed a Student Success Planner that is available virtually:
In addition to monthly and weekly calendar pages, the planner has a wealth of information that supports the common content goals. There are explanations of policies, plenty of suggestions for ways to achieve success, and a wealth of resources for academic, cocurricular, and personal support. Instructors may choose to suggest students read particular pages that correlate with seminar goals and/or respond to questions students are asking. The activities on certain pages could be utilized during or between classes.
Student Success also produced a First-Year Seminar Student Resource Guide for students. This digital handout is intended to help guide students to success as they begin their mostly remote college experience. The handout notes pages in the planner where students can find particular categories of information, provides Tips for Success and spotlights some important resources.
Instructors who would like support in any stage of teaching a first-year seminar; developing a syllabus, planning activities, considering ways to utilize the planner and/or the handout, and/or responding to student issues during the semester are welcome to contact Kathy Weilerstein at email@example.com to set up a time to meet.