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Message from the Associate Dean for First Year Curricula

Carolina’s First Year Seminars (FYS) Program provides a unique academic opportunity within our broader curriculum. FYS are small (no more than 24 students), taught by our best instructors, and address topics that are on the frontier of scholarship or research. FYS give you the opportunity to work together with faculty and classmates in a shared experience that provides a hands-on preview of the exciting world of engaged scholarship at Carolina. FYS are “regular courses” in the sense that they are one semester in duration, offered in the fall and spring, provide 3 credit hours, and meet General Education requirements. FYS go beyond “regular courses” in their emphasis on active learning, which usually includes class discussion and other modes of engagement such as fieldwork, artistic performances, class trips, presentations, projects, or experiments. FYS also help refine your ability to communicate clearly and persuasively in a wide array of formats. And, perhaps most important, FYS are designed to be lively and fun, promoting collaboration in scholarship and intellectual discovery.

Many students are attracted by the FYS that are directly relevant to their interests, but this strategy is a bit shortsighted because all students will eventually enroll in advanced courses in their major. Enrolling in an FYS is an opportunity for you to explore topics that are new and unfamiliar. Not only does this experience expand your mind (and possibly, your career path), but also it provides an opportunity to complete some of the more challenging curricular requirements in a pleasant way. FYS have limited capacity and thus fill up quickly. A successful strategy for registration is to identify a dozen or more FYS that would be of interest and put them in your “shopping cart” in ConnectCarolina. When registration is available online you can continue seeking seats in your target FYS and also view all FYS that have open seats. Finally, registration continues through the first week of classes. Most FYS are offered only once per academic year, but we offer almost as many FYS in the spring semester as we do in the fall semester.

Be wise and take advantage of this valuable learning experience!

Li-ling Hsiao
Associate Dean and Director of First-Year Curricula

Carousel photo by Hannah Burris, UNC-Chapel Hill