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FYS: Faculty Resources And Frequently Asked Questions

Course Numbering Policy

  • The Registrar's Office and Office of Academic Affairs created a common course numbering for all FYS courses at UW. Departments should use their department prefix plus 1101. Courses not tied to a department should use the UWYO prefix.

  • Department FYS courses - Department Prefix 1101

  • Courses outside of UW departments or programs - UWYO 1101

Please note: Academic Affairs and The Office of the Registrar are piloting a new block enrollment process for Freshmen. For some students, the FYS will be included in the block. FYS Courses selected for Block Enrollment will show on the class schedule as having "zero enrollment - class closed". This will change as Orientation proceeds. Any class not filled by the end of the Orientation sessions will become available for general enrollment on July 5th.

Course Approval Process

Q. 1. I am interested in developing a First-Year Seminar. Where can I find out more information about the general philosophy and policies of the course?

The First-Year Seminar is designed to help students gain skills in critical thinking and information literacy skills - academic skills that we know help students succeed in college. For full details of the goals and learning outcomes of the course, as well as general information relating to the seminars, please see our FYS Policy Document.

Q. 2. Where can I find the FYS application forms for new submissions?

All FYS applications must be approved by the USP committee. If this is a first-time application, please complete the FYS application, and forward it, with the course syllabus, to Jake Hayden (  If you have any questions about the form, please contact Allison Gernant, First Year Seminar Coordinator.

Q. 3. What are the USP committee due dates for approval of new FYS courses?

i)  New courses to be taught in the Spring semester should be submitted by August 25th.
ii) New courses to be taught in the Fall semester should be submitted by November 13th.

Q. 4. Can I see examples of approved course syllabi and application forms?

Yes. Please see FYS Sample Syllabi

Q. 5. Do I need to submit a Course Action Request Form (CARF) for First-Year Seminar?

No. The list of approved FYS courses will automatically be sent to the Registrar's Office upon approval by the USP Committee. 

Q. 6. Do I need to resubmit my FYS course for approval every year?

The USP committee requires that each FYS course be re-submitted once following its original approval. The resubmission process is simpler than the initial application. Simply complete the online checklist and email your syllabus to
Subsequently, FYS courses that have been approved, and re-approved one time, will go onto the standard 3-year rotation that is required for re-approval of all USP courses. 

Q7. I will be taking over the teaching of an established FYS. Must I inform the USP committee?

Yes. Change of course instructor for a previously approved FYS also requires notification to Anne Alexander (Academic Affairs) and the FYS Coordinator, Allison Gernant. Send an email to us as soon as the change is decided.  The new instructor will then be provided with the previously-approved course application material from the USP Committee, and will be asked to provide an affirmation that they will use the same course description and learning outcomes.

Q. 8. I will be making significant changes to the previously approved FYS course. Do I need to make a new application.

Yes. If any major changes  - to the title or description of the course - are made to an already approved FYS, a new application must be submitted to the USP committee.

Q.9. What are the USP committee due dates for FYS reapprovals?

Resubmissions should be submitted at the end of the semester in which the course is taught. Deadlines are:
i)  For Fall course reapprovals - December 14th.
ii) For Spring course reapprovals - August 25th.

Student Progress

Q. 1. Is there any circumstance in which a specific First-Year Seminar can be required by a Department?

FYS may not be required for a major or a minor, nor may they be listed on a check list for a major or minor. These seminars are meant to foster intellectual engagement rather than meet foundational disciplinary requirements.

For additional information on the First-Year Seminar, please refer to our FYS Policy Document.

Q.2. My Freshmen students seem to have lots of questions. Where can I go to find the answers?

Please refer to Student FAQs for details. If you do not find what you are looking for, please contact, Allison Gernant.

Q.3. I am concerned about a student who has stopped attending class/suddenly earning poor grades/exhibiting behavioral problems. I have tried contacting the student directly but have been unsuccessful. How can I make sure that the student is ok?

Please see the Dean of Student's website, and access their UWYO Cares program. 

Q.4. Why must there be a "non-withdrawal without permission of instructor and advisor" statement on the FYS syllabus?

USP policy requires that students must complete  the FYS (and pass with a C or higher) within their first year at UW. Failure to do so could seriously impede the student's progress. Of course, withdrawal from the FYS is not forbidden. Sometimes it is in the student's best interest to withdraw from a class and try again the following semester.We would, however, like the student to discuss this option with their course instructor and advisor prior to making a decision, so that the student understands the possible consequences.

Q.5. Can you give me an example of what the Withdrawal Policy statement might look like?

Withdrawal policy:    Please note that students may not withdraw from the First-Year Seminar (FYS) without approval from their instructor and academic advisor. This policy is not intended to cause undue difficulty for students. Rather, it is intended to emphasize the importance of the academic skills that students will develop in this course that will help to set you up for future success in your programs. If at any time you are concerned about your academic performance in this FYS please make an appointment to meet with me as soon as possible.

5b. My student has discussed the reasons for withdrawal with the instructor and advisor, and has been made aware of the possible consequences and next steps (se Q.6).  How can my student now go about formally withdrawing from the course?

  • Student gains permission of instructor and advisor 

  • Student attaches a copy of the email withdrawal approvals from the instructor and advisor, and now sends an email withdrawal request to the Office of the Registrar (

* Q.6. The FYS policy states that students must successfully pass the FYS ( C grade or higher) during their first year. What re-take opportunities are available to students who may have failed or withdrawn?

We are piloting several options to best support our students:

Students who do not succeed in their FYS in the Fall semester

  • Students who did not earn a passing grade in their Fall FYS (i.e. failed, earned a D, withdrew or never took), and who end the semester on academic probation, should enroll in an Academic Success Skills class (UWYO 1105) in the Spring semester; these students must then enroll in a specialized "2nd Year" FYS course the following Fall.

  • Students who withdrew or failed to earn a passing grade in the Fall semester FYS, and who end the semester in good academic standing, must enroll in a FYS in the Spring semester.

Students who do not succeed in their FYS in the Spring semester

  • Students who withdrew or did not earn a passing grade in their FYS in the Spring semester, and who end the semester on academic probation, must enroll in a "2nd Year" FYS in the Fall semester

  • Students who withdrew or did not earn a passing grade in their FYS in the Spring semester, and who end the semester in good academic standing, must enroll in a "2nd Year" FYS in the Fall semester

Any questions regarding these policies, or individual student queries pertaining to these policies, should be addressed to Ben Herdt


Professional Development for Faculty

Q.1. I would like to find out about professional development opportunities for FYS faculty. Where can I go to find out about UW offerings?

Details of faculty development opportunities will be announced via email, but you can always contact Allison Gernant, First-Year Seminar Coordinator to find out about upcoming sessions.

Q.2. I cannot attend one of the professional development workshops that I think would be beneficial to me. Is there anywhere I can go to find the information that was discussed?

We have developed a WyoGroup shell - Developing Your First-Year Seminar - that is full of resources for Faculty. All FYS faculty should be automatically enrolled in the Wyocourses shell as their courses become approved by the USP committee. If you have not received an invitation to join this WyoGroup, or if you are simply interested in discovering more about the Seminar before deciding to develop a course, please contact Allison Gernant, First-Year Seminar Coordinator, to provide you with access to the site.

FYS Application Forms Now available

Please see Course Approval Process, Q.2 for details.

FYS Annual Re-Approval Checklists

All FYS courses must be re-approved annually by the USP Committee. Instructors of previously approved FYS courses should re-submit their syllabi and checklist (see Q.6.) at the end of the semester in which the class is taught.
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