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Faculty Institute First Year Seminars 2012

April 2-4, April 27, May 4
Pre-workshop Jan 13, March 16
Sponsored by the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost


The Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost approved funding for a faculty institute on the design of First Year Seminars as the first phase of implementation for general education revisions approved by the Faculty Senate in November 2011.  The Institute was held April 2-4 with follow-up half-day sessions on April 27 and May 4.  Faculty and course coordinators interested in developing first year seminars were invited to preparatory sessions held on January 13 and March 16 to communicate procedural information about approval and implementation of these new courses. 

The University Libraries partnered with several academic and administrative units to deliver this institute as there is no single entity on campus in a position to provide the needed faculty support and development:

  • Academic Assessment
  • Academic Success Center
  • Advising
  • Diversity Initiatives
  • General Education, Director
  • Information Technology
  • Student Affairs, Civic Engagement and Diversity
  • Online Education

Twenty-five faculty participants from eight colleges were partnered in teams with nine librarians during the institute to elaborate course syllabi for first year.  The participating colleges were Education, Engineering, Fine Arts, Health Sciences, Hotel Administration, Liberal Arts, Urban Affairs, and the Lee School of Business. 

Different models for first year seminars will be implemented by the schools and colleges, e.g.:

  • A single large enrollment lecture course with small discussion/quiz sections
  • A shared course syllabus offered as multiple small enrollment sections
  • A single course, team taught in modules - students meet with different faculty over the semester
  • Multiple small enrollment courses, syllabus built around content in the faculty member’s expertise

Enrollments – Fall 2012




Anne Zald      Head, Ed Initiatives, University Libraries
Dana Moran Williams (CFA 100) Theatre, College of Fine Arts
John Mercer (HSC 100)  Kinesiology/Nutrition Sciences, College of Health Sciences
Jack Young (HSC 100)    Kinesiology/Nutrition Sciences, College of Health Sciences
Caroline Smith  Head, Architecture Studies Library
Glenn Nowak (CFA 101)    Architecture, College of Fine Arts
Venkatesan Muthukumar (EGG 101) Electrical/Computer Engineering, College of Engineering
David Shields (EGG 101) Civil & Environmental Eng. & Construction, College of Engineering
Peter Stubberud (EGG 101)  Electrical/Computer Engineering, College of Engineering
Kate Wintrol        Instruction Librarian, University Libraries
Dan Gianoutsos (COLA 100E) Coordinator, First Year Programs, Academic Success Center
Lateka Grays  Hospitality Librarian, University Libraries
Jennifer Keene (COLA 100) Sociology, College of Liberal Arts
Rhonda Montgomery (TCA 103) College of Hotel Administration
Patrick Griffis Business Librarian, University Libraries
Beth Gersten (BUS 103) Assist. Dean, Undergrad Programs, Lee School of Business
Chris Heavey (COLA 100)         Psychology, College of Liberal Arts
Laurel Pritchard (COLA 100) Psychology, College of Liberal Arts
Paula McMillen    Education Librarian, University Libraries
Larry Ashley (EDU 102)  Ed & Clinical Studies, College of Education
Jeffrey Gelfer (EDU 102) Ed & Clinical Studies, College of Education
Glenn West (EDU 102) Ed & Clinical Studies, College of Education
Priscilla Finley       Humanities Librarian, University Libraries
David Holland (COLA 100)    History, College of Liberal Arts
Gene Moehring (COLA 100)  History, College of Liberal Arts
Cian McMahon (COLA 100)  History, College of Liberal Arts
Steve Fitt      Instruction Librarian, University Libraries
William Jankowiak (COLA100) Anthropology, College of Liberal Arts
Levent Atici (COLA 100)  Anthropology, College of Liberal Arts
Ted Jelen (COLA 100)  Political Science, College of Liberal Arts
Susie Skarl         Urban Affairs Librarian, University Libraries
Kathy Espin (GSC 100)   Journalism/Media Studies, College of Urban Affairs
Helen Neill (GSC 100) Environmental & Public Affairs, College of Urban Affairs

Institute Facilitator

  • Steven Hoover, Instruction Designer UNLV Libraries

Institute Curriculum

During the three-day institute faculty worked through a local adaptation of the L. Dee Fink model of Integrated Course Design.

Faculty-Librarian teams developed course syllabi by completing activities organized by the eight steps of the model:

  • Step 1.  Identify important situational factors (student / instructor characteristics, learning environment, course requirements, etc.)
  • Step 2.  Identify important learning outcomes (using the UULOs)
  • Step 3.  Formulate appropriate feedback and assessment procedures (in this model the term assessment is defined as, ‘what will students do to demonstrate the learning outcome.”  The feedback at this phase is primarily developmental.)
  • Step 4.  Select effective teaching/learning activities (how will I/we prepare students to do well on the assessment/demonstration of learning outcomes)
  • Step 5.  Make sure the primary components are integrated (do the assessment and learning activities address all of the learning outcomes identified for the course?)
  • Step 6.  Course Structure (sequence and rough timing for course content and activities)
  • Step 7.  Instruction Strategy (is there a progression of activities, feedback, and increasing challenge for the student; planning in- and out-of-class activities)
  • Step 8.  Creating the Overall Scheme of Learning Activities (add details to the course sequence sketched earlier with integration of activities, instructional partners, ensure that course activities and opportunities to provide student feedback are balanced across the entire semester, etc.)

On the final day of the Institute, Dan Bubb, Office of Academic Assessment introduced participants to the assessment plan for the FYS program that will enable campus-wide reporting on student attainment of the UULOs.  Faculty participated in an activity to describe levels of student performance on aspects of UULO #2 Inquiry and Critical Thinking as demonstrated in the activities designed for their course syllabi.  The resulting rubric will be used to analyze student work and provide authentic assessment of student learning on the UULOs.

Institute Curriculum – Follow-up Workshops

During the April 27 follow-up workshop Lori Temple and members of the OIT staff presented and demonstrated a variety of classroom technologies to address the faculty’s specific needs and interests. In addition Julie Staggers, Director of Composition sparked a lively discussion of the expectations for student writing in the First Year Seminars across the colleges. Carl Reiber, Director of General Education drafted a statement on writing that was reviewed by faculty at the concluding workshop on May 4. Other activities during the May 4 workshop provided faculty an opportunity to share syllabi developed during the Institute.

Guidelines for Writing in the FYS
Written communication is an objective of the Communication UULO, and like the rest of the UULOs, should be delivered within course content and context. The following guidelines are suggested for working with freshmen on their written communication competency in the FYS:

  1. Make a distinction between assignments or portions of assignments where students are writing for thinking or idea generation as opposed to a final written product.  
  2. Give students regular feedback on how they can better meet the requirements of the assignment. For example, depending on the requirements, have they stated their opinion clearly, provided evidence for an argument, proposed a new idea, etc.?
  3. When grading for grammar and usage, point out a mistake once or twice, rather than marking it each time it emerges.
  4. Utilize multiple methods to provide feedback—through peer evaluation, the writing center, graduate students, etc.
  5. Allow students options for writing assignments that apply to the real world, such as email messages, memos, or proposals.


Institute Evaluation

The evaluation of the FYS Faculty Institute experience consists of several elements. During the three-day Institute, feedback was gathered each day on participants’ understanding of the material and what concepts were/were not useful or needed further reinforcement. Teaching faculty were asked to complete a survey after the three-day Institute and to complete evaluations for each of the follow up workshop sessions on April 27 and May 4.  Finally, a content analysis of the faculty members’ course syllabi submitted on April 30 will also be undertaken to examine which concepts from the Institute were integrated.

The end of institute survey in April asked faculty to respond to the following questions:

Please let us know how well the Faculty Institute met each of the following objectives.  Indicate the extent to which you agree the Institute has prepared you to (strongly agree = 1; strongly disagree = 4):