How to Facilitate a First Year Seminar

Why Facilitate a First Year Seminar?

First Year Seminars offer instructors the opportunity to re-think their teaching and learning skills. Instructors can explore new, creative, and unconventional topics in the context of a small and enthusiastic group of students.

UOG Faculty Applications

A call for applications from UOG Faculty, Retired Faculty, Post-Doctoral Candidates, and P&M staff (part of workload) will be sent out by departmental Chairs and college Deans in the Fall and Winter terms. However, we encourage faculty to propose a future FYS to accommodate departmental course offerings/planning.

Sessional/Staff non-CUPE Applications

If there are openings in any given term they will be publicly posted as CUPE work assignments (Sessional – CUPE bargaining Unit 2).

All applicants no matter what pool they are in must submit a proposal (after attending an information session about FYSs hosted by the FYS Director) using the link below to a Qualtrics survey tool. Each application will be assessed primarily on the strength of the Proposal Rationale & Course Outline:

  • Course information: Catchy title, course learning outcomes, and assessment aligned with UOG undergraduate LOs, example of readings/course materials to be used, potential list of weekly topics, a lesson plan of what one week might look like.
  • Instructor information
  • Interdisciplinarity (at least 3 disciplines incorporated beyond your own College)
  • Uniqueness (not offered or available from any other department/program)
  • Explicit application of active pedagogies including; Active Learning, Enquiry Based Learning, Experiential Learning, Community Engaged Teaching and Learning, Collaborative Learning, etc.
  • Learner Centered and instructor role as facilitator,
  • Fit (current climate as well as rationale re: instructors’ passion)
  • Fun/Dynamism/Pizzazz.

Please find application and FYS documents at the bottom of the page under Attachment



From the Director

Dr Mavis Morton, Director, First Year Seminars
Associate Professor, Department of Sociology & Anthropology

The First-Year Seminars offer small, interdisciplinary, active, inquiry-based, and learner-centered courses that help students transition from high-school to university. Students engage directly with contemporary issues and ideas, in an inclusive and welcoming environment, with students from across the university. Instructors are facilitators who work with students to take responsibility for their own teaching and learning opportunities. They help students develop foundational academic, and personal skills that will benefit them beyond their time at the UofG.

FYS facilitators are faculty, graduate fellows, staff, senior administrators, and sessional instructors. They bring their passion and experience to a dynamic, active, teaching and learning environment.

First Year Seminars have been offered at the UOG since 2003 but have been traced back to the US since 1882 (Young & Keup 2012, 58). For centuries that have been defined as “Small, highly engaging courses that aim to “enhance the academic and/or social integration of first-year students by introducing them (a)to a variety of topics, which vary by seminar type, (b)to essential skills for college success, and (c)to selected processes the most common of which is the creation of a peer support group” (Barefoot, 1992, p.49)” (Young & Keup2012, 58). Research has found that FYS can facilitate a host of student outcomes including academic achievement and grades, civic engagement, intercultural competence, positive relationships with instructors, staff and peers, involvement on campus, development of academic and personal skills as well as graduation rates (Young & Keup2012, 58).

As always, we give thanks to our generous donors for keeping this program strong for years to come!

Previous Offerings:



Teaching and Career Development Fellowships (2020-2021)

Applications are invited from doctoral students who are passionate about teaching and learning innovation and new pedagogies for the Teaching and Career Development Fellowships. The Fellowships are sponsored by the Office of the Provost and tenable in the First-Year Seminars Program. The Fellowships, developed in cooperation with CUPE 3913, provide doctoral students the opportunity to design and deliver a First Year Seminar. Applications will be accepted from individuals, and teams of two are encouraged.

Please review information on the FYS homepage and on the Want to Teach a FYS page for application information.


Students registered in any doctoral program at the University of Guelph.

Application Procedures:

Applications are to include the following:

  1. A completed application form (via a Qualtrics link coming soon).
  2. A two-page curriculum vitae (one for each applicant in the case of a team) focused on teaching philosophy and experience.
  3. Please submit a note from your Chair/Director confirming: a) your eligibility; b) you will have access to conventional resources such as office space and printing/photocopying.

Due Date: Applications must be submitted by 9:00 AM on Feb 12th, 2022. This due date is not flexible. Please see Qualtrics Survey link (coming soon) for required information 

All applications are reviewed by the First Year Seminar Curriculum Committee (FYS-CC) and feedback to all applicants is given regardless of outcome. The FYS-CC may elect to conduct interviews with short-listed applicants at a time of mutual convenience.

Intellectual Property
Submissions by applicants remain the intellectual property of the applicants.

Term of Appointment

Four one-semester Fellowships are available for the 2022-2023 academic year. Applicants must indicate whether they wish to teach in Fall 2022 or Winter 2023 semester.

This assignment will be remunerated according to the Collective Agreement or Employee Group that applies to your employment status. Please note that his position is covered by the terms of the CUPE 3913 Unit 2 Collective Agreement and does not carry a Right of First Refusal. Additional Information: Contact the Director of the First-Year Seminars Program, Dr. Mavis Morton


Curriculum Committee

The First Year Seminars Curriculum Committee (FYS-CC) regularly reviews proposals for new courses and the graduate fellowship applications. They do important work and keep the spirit of inquiry and inter-disciplinary focus and contemporary SoTL alive in our program.

In addition to the Director (Mavis Morton, Department of Anthropology and Sociology), the membership is:

  • William J. Bettger, Associate Professor, Human Health and Nutritional Sciences
  • Justine Tishinsky, Instructor, Human Health and Nutritional Sciences
  • Dale Lackeyram, Associate Director, Office of Teaching and Learning
  • Kira Cheer, Animal Biology
  • Arielle Ramnath, Biological Sciences