Prospective Faculty

Through this Seminar experience in the Liberal Studies Program, undergraduate research is pursued from the beginning of students’ careers, communities are established among Seminar students, strong mentoring relationships are formed with Seminar faculty, and increased numbers of students are retained from the first year into the second year.

All First Year Seminars are certified as part of the First Year Learning Initiative at NAU.  Learn more about the First Year Learning Initiative.


Program Details

The First Year Seminar

  • optional, three unit series of topics courses offered within the Liberal Studies Program
  • for entering students with up to 45 units
  • each section’s enrollment is capped at 23 students
  • an undergraduate Peer Teaching Assistant that the faculty member selects is hired for each section - More information about being a Peer TA, how to apply and the application request form can be found here: Peer TA Application
  • there is no fixed curriculum or mandated common readings — each Seminar topic is developed from the research or interests of the participating faculty member, with a focus on issues that are highly relevant to students and/or related to contemporary issues
  • Seminars are offered as topics courses in each of the Liberal Studies Program’s distribution blocks:
    - Science
    - Aesthetic and Humanistic Inquiry
    - Cultural Understanding
    - Social and Political Worlds
  • Each Seminar must emphasize one Liberal Studies skill that demonstrates critical thinking through 1) effective writing, 2) effective oral communication, 3) scientific inquiry, and 4) quantitative reasoning.
Again, each faculty member selected to teach a Seminar develops a topic based upon their research or interests.
FYSeminar Topics Course Shells

FS 111 Science First Year Seminar

Students learn the logic and techniques of scientific inquiry to understand the basis and limits of contemporary scientific knowledge. Students develop practical skills to understand scientific issues relevant to society. Topics vary. (3 units)


This course will enhance students’ ability to

  • describe and explain biological or physical phenomena
  • apply science and technology to understand the human condition and the natural world
  • evaluate data collected through scientific inquiry

FS 121 Aesthetic & Humanistic Inquiry First Year Seminar

Students learn about competing conceptual frameworks and the relationship between context and creative expression. Topics vary. (3 units)


This course will enhance students’ ability to

  • identify and understand the human condition through philosophical or historical inquiry, or through contextual analyses of the various forms of creative expression
  • examine competing concepts that frame experience

FS 131 Cultural Understanding First Year Seminar

Students learn about features and perspectives of cultures. Topics vary. (3 units)


This course will enhance students’ ability to

  • identify the personal, family, and cultural influences that determine world views
  • analyze meaning and implications of diversity within and among cultures and societies
  • describe how language reflects ways of thinking, cultural heritage, larger cultural values, or aspects of society
  • understand different cultures of the world through the study of language, literature, religion, and artistic expression

FS 141 Social & Political Worlds First Year Seminar

Students learn about the dynamic relationships between and within human communities, as well as significant psychological, social and/or political components. Topics vary. (3 units)


This course will enhance students’ ability to

  • identify ways in which cultures evolve, particularly as social and/or political systems
  • examine how diverse experiences lead to different approaches to solving problems that face humankind
  • apply appropriate perspectives to analyze a significant human problem
  • analyze the interdependence of humans and the environment
  • explore the causes and consequences of prejudice, discrimination and inequality
Financial Details
Seminar faculty
  • will either teach the Seminar on load (funds available to provide salary replacement to the department), or as a compensated overload assuming that there is no excess capacity available in the department
  • will be eligible for Seminar faculty development funding, for example to assist with faculty travel
  • all student credit hours (SCH) will be returned to the faculty member’s department