University Studies Advisory Committee

First Year Seminar


This document provides a description of the First Year Seminar component of University Studies. In so doing, it differentiates between common component-level student learning outcomes and discipline-specific course-level learning outcomes, offering examples of both types. The goal is to encourage the development of challenging and varied University Studies courses that share common assessable student learning outcomes.


Justification for a required First Year Experience course is derived from the first goal set forth in the UNCW Strategic Plan to "Create the most powerful learning experience possible for our student" and objective five, to "Improve experiences for students during initial entry into campus life and at critical junctures in their education." There would be several options available under the "First Year Experience" category as follows:

The First Year Seminar-UNI 101

Traditional first year seminar enhanced to broaden curriculum, including Common Reading.

First-Year Honors Interdisciplinary Seminar-HON 110

Team-taught, this course introduces all freshman honors students to the college experience by direct involvement in research, service, and leadership activities.

The EDGE-currently taught as UNI 292

A seminar designed to introduce students to life-long learning and engagement, the EDGE offers a lecture series, topical readings, and campus and community involvement

Cornerstone Learning Community Integrative Seminar-UNI 105

Cornerstone Integrative Seminars connect students with two designated basic studies courses during their first semester. The program has a strong residential component.

Covey's Habits of Highly Effective College Students

A course based on the Covey principles specifically addressing university student's specific needs.

These courses help students achieve success from their first semester forward by
  • Providing a small class environment conducive to students forming a sense of belonging to an academic cohort;
  • Ensuring students receive instruction in transitional issues such as accessing university resources, skills necessary for communicating at the college level, study skills required in higher education, and personal health and wellness;
  • Providing a learning experience in which students can develop their skills in critical thinking, academic discourse and information literacy within a course specifically designed to meet their academic transitional needs.

The small class size, content and personal attention from instructors committed to involvement in the First Year Experience concept enhance the likelihood that students will enjoy a successful transition to the intellectual and cultural life on campus.


The following are the Common Student Learning Outcomes for First Year Seminar. These are aligned with the UNCW Learning Goals. Each course in this category must address all of the Common Student Learning Outcomes for the category, and list these Common SLOs along with course-specific SLOs in the course syllabus. Proposals for inclusion in the category will describe the opportunities which will be provided for students to learn the outcome (readings, class discussion and/or activities, applied projects) and list the specific sources of evidence (exams, papers, projects, quizzes, etc.) that will be used to determine the level of student understanding.

The student will:

  • FS 1. Demonstrate the ability to identify, locate and use reference sources and materials necessary for success in a higher education experience. [Information Literacy]
  • FS 2. Participate in discussion of real-life issues as informed, critical members of the group. [Inquiry]
  • FS 3. Demonstrate ability to identify and apply academic strategies for analyzing, synthesizing, and critically evaluating information from all courses. [Critical Thinking]
  • FS 4. Compose purposeful, reflective, written responses related to transitional issues. [Thoughtful Expression]


Students are required to take three hours from this component.

[Although much of the curriculum in First Year Seminars is consistent from section to section, some seminars may be associated with academic majors.]