First Year Seminar Program

new fys

The First Year Seminar (FYS) Program: An Innovative Gateway to NAU’s Liberal Studies Program. 

NAU’s approach to student success, learning and satisfaction is multi-faceted. It includes a foundational and transformative experience which embodies the values of the university, encourages students to engage with faculty and the curriculum and serves as an academic entry point to the Liberal Studies program for entering NAU students.

NAU, through its First Year Seminar (FYS) programming weaves transition program skills, engaged learning practices and liberal studies outcomes into one unified design taught by key faculty through a specific unique topic of high student interest. Our First Year Seminar courses are academically rigorous and successfully satisfy part of the liberal studies requirements and promote progression to graduation.

The FYS is a three credit, graded, topics-based seminar with 25 students per section, taught by highly engaged faculty from across campus. This program serves as the entry point for NAU’s interdisciplinary Liberal Studies program and is designed to be representative of NAU’s student population. The FYS provides a unique opportunity to transcend disciplinary boundaries and empower all students to expand their horizons. All FYS courses are academically rigorous, support the intent of the First Year Learning Initiative (FYLI) and provide students with a mindset, skills, awareness and knowledge that can be applied again and again in every field of study.

The First Year Seminar Program is guided by the following four goals:

  1. To foster a diverse, inclusive academic community through high touch engagement with interdisciplinary faculty and students from diverse backgrounds 
  2. To construct a student-centered teaching and learning experience in small classroom settings that focus on engaging, relevant topics with a strong emphasis on developing critical thinking and oral communication skills through a shared process of inquiry 
  3. To build student resiliency and increase student success by creating a strong sense of academic and community belonging and actively engaging students in their learning experiences 
  4. To provide students with an introduction to the mission and four goals of a liberal education at NAU by exploring contemporary, meaningful topics aligned to majors and interests which partially fulfill their Liberal Studies Degree requirement

The classes are small, relatable and fun. They are designed to bring students and the best faculty, teachers and scholars on campus together to explore rich and engaging topics based on student interest and current issues. They also serve to build community and relationships with faculty and peers that endure throughout their university experience.

Kevin Ketchner
Director, First Year Seminar Program
Northern Arizona University
Bury Hall (Bldg. 8), Room 314