University College

Class with students

FYS Instructors

Why Teach a First-Year Seminar Course?

First-Year Seminar is taught by UNCW faculty, staff, and administrators who are dedicated to first-year student learning and success. UNI faculty find this experience personally and professionally rewarding as it provides them an opportunity to contribute to first-year persistence and offers them a deeper understanding of student perspectives and needs.

Assisting students in developing effective self-management and study strategies can often mean the difference between success and failure in the first year, regardless of academic aptitude or preparation. By fostering increased self-awareness, enhancement of critical thinking skills, and early engagement with the UNCW community, FYS faculty can have a significant positive impact on student success. Research also indicates that academic habits and attitudes established in the first year of college remain respectively stable through subsequent semesters, so the first term becomes a critical period in which approaches to learning can be shaped to best serve the student.

Click here for research related to First-Year Seminar.

How to Become a FYS Instructor

Recruitment of FYS faculty is ongoing with an annual call for instructors distributed campus-wide in January. First-Year Seminar instructors are drawn from the ranks of the full-time or part-time faculty, academic advisors, university administrators, and student affairs professionals. Currently, our instructors represent over thirty UNCW offices and departments. The minimum qualifications to teach FYS are:

  • A Master's degree or higher academic degree from an accredited institution (official transcript(s) required)
  • Prior experience in college teaching, student services, academic advising, or counseling
  • Interest in supporting new student transition and the unique needs of first-year students
  • Approval of supervisor or department chair

All new instructors are required to watch the UNI Instructor Information Session. The information session covers UNI as part of University Studies, the curriculum of UNI, and instructor expectations. In addition, new instructors are required to attend new instructor training's (March), and 

Applications for FYS will only be accepted after proof of review is submitted from the Information Session. Applications can be accessed below. You will be able to download your cover letter and/or resume/vitae via the online application. Please complete the appropriate application:

Apply Here!

Interviews for new instructors will be scheduled once the cover letter, resume, and application have been received and reviewed. Returning instructors will not need to interview but must submit an updated resume via the online application. If you have questions about the First-Year Seminar instructor position, please contact Dr. Rob Tripp, Curriculum Coordinator at 

First-Year Seminar Information Sessions

UNI instructors who taught in semesters prior to Fall 2017 and all new applicants must watch the 

UNI Instructor Information Session

Special Topic UNI 101

UNI 101: Special Topic sections are designed to engage students using a common theme that can be integrated with the UNI learning outcomes. Students will use the special topics title you provide in choosing a special topic section that interests them.

Your Special Topic will include a common theme that is woven into the UNI 101 curriculum. Students will still be required to meet all course requirements.
For example: Living Learning Community Special Topic on Mindfulness
  • Self-care and mental health are approached through mindful eating
  • Communication and critical thinking are approached through mindful listening
  • Information Literacy is addressed through mindful research
  • Journals are tied to students reflection on the various experiences they had while practicing mindfulness daily
  • One of the required campus events is tied to mindulness (like attending a meditation session)
  • Paper topic relates to some aspect of mindfulness
(Mindfulness is used as an example because it is a part of our Living Learning Communities, additional topics related to Mindfulness may not be approved because of this)

UNI 101 Special Topic Application

FYS Instructor Development

Teaching a UNI section is contingent upon attending all instructor development sessions. All returning instructors must complete a questionnaire and application in order to be eligible to teach in Fall 2020.

Instructor Orientation and Instructor Workshops

New instructors are required to attend new instructor training sessions, typically held at the end of March. Dates TBD.

Both new and returning instructors are required to attend UNCW's Seminar Conference in April and the Annual FYS Kick-Off (August)