WSU faculty give final approval for First Year Seminar requirement

Starting fall 2021, first-year students at Wichita State will be required to take a First Year Seminar during one of their first two semesters at the university. The Faculty Senate Gen Ed Committee’s proposal was given final approval at Monday’s WSU General Faculty Meeting — passing on a 65-39 written-ballot vote.

First Year Seminars, which can be proposed and developed by any of WSU’s six academic colleges, will count towards a tier-two general education requirement in the arts, humanities, social sciences, or natural sciences — as determined by the Gen Ed Committee.

Proponents of such seminars, which are already a requirement within the Honors College, say they will promote retention while exposing first-year students to subject-specific experts early on in their college careers.

Much of the debate Monday centered on academic freedom and the level to which professors who choose to teach First Year Seminars must adhere to explicit course requirements outlined by the Gen Ed Committee.

Committee Chair Shirlene Small said she felt “very good” about faculty’s decision to approve the requirement.

“It shows that our faculty have a very keen interest in helping our students to be successful,” Small said.