First Year Seminar Committee

Welcome to the FSEM!

We are excited that you are interested in teaching a first-year seminar. The subject matter of your FSEM is entirely up to you. Teaching an FSEM offers you the chance to teach a subject or series of topics that you might have been long hoping to explore but never had the opportunity to pursue.

The purpose of the FSEM is to introduce first-year students to college life with its many opportunities and challenges. To this end, all FSEM instructors are asked to include in their syllabi activities and assignments designed to help our new students succeed in college, including conducting research, writing papers, giving oral presentations, and participating in classroom discussions. Other activities, such as becoming acquainted with UMW’s Speaking and Writing Centers and learning how to use the library will help students navigate their future studies and learn to use the many resources often under-utilized here at UMW.

Finally, this course is an opportune moment to teach skills that students need to succeed in a college environment, such as note taking, study skills, writing emails and engaging with professors, basic wellness and mindfulness techniques, interacting with peers, and keeping a calendar. Given the importance of introducing these skills, an FSEM will not include as much disciplinary content as other three-credit courses. Think of your chosen subject matter as the playing field upon which your students will practice their new skills.

2023 – 2024 Dates

  • Call for proposals posted: May 15, 2023
  • Proposal due date: November 1, 2023
  • Proposal review: early November 2023


  • 2024 Jennifer Walker (Associate Professor, COE)
  • 2025 Bridgette Dennett, Chair (Assistant Professor, CAS)
  • 2025 Marcus Leppanen, Secretary (Assistant Professor, CAS)
  • 2026 Gary Richards (Professor, CAS)
  • 2026 Marco Millones (Associate, CAS)


2.8.2 The committee’s duties are to:

.1 Study and recommend to the University Faculty Council procedures and criteria for approval, deletion, and alteration of course offerings meeting the first year seminar requirement;

.2 Review and approve or reject proposals from the various departments for courses to be designated as first year seminars;

.3 Review at its discretion the frequency of offering and general relevance of courses so designated and make recommendations for changes as appropriate;

.4 Perform any and all additional duties, such as evaluating transfer credit, pertaining to this committee at the request of the committee chair;

.5 Make information available regarding the procedures and deadlines for proposing courses to the general education committee; and

.6 Perform other duties as assigned by the UFC.