The University of Iowa

Submitting a Proposal

Fall 2020 First-Year Seminar Proposals

The Fall 2020 First-Year Seminar proposal process is now closed.
Proposals were due on Monday, February 3rd
Contact with questions.

All Instructors Please Note:
Changes Effective for Fall 2020 Proposals

  • Instructors should review the Four Pillars of a First-Year Seminar prior to submitting a proposal. You will need to provide a short course justification that speaks to how your proposed seminar aligns with these pillars.

  • Effective for the Fall 2020 semester, all First-Year Seminar instructors are expected to attend an informational session during each spring semester (after proposals have been approved) as well as an enrichment session at the start of each fall semester. These sessions create opportunities to share relevant information with and among all instructors and contribute to a more meaningful and consistent First-Year Seminar experience. You will select a spring 2020 session that you plan to attend as part of the proposal process. Instructors who are unable to attend any of the scheduled spring sessions will be asked to meet with Academic Support and Retention staff individually. 

  • Additional guidance on development of a First-Year Seminar can be found on the Attributes of a First-Year Seminar webpage.


Research-Focused First-Year Seminars

Consider turning your First Year Seminar into a "Research-Focused" course. Research-focused FYS's provide students with an opportunity to learn firsthand about the nature and process of university research and creative scholarship at the University of Iowa. Research-focused FYS's also allow faculty to engage students in asking and answering research and creative questions.

Many FYS's already have the structure of a research-focused FYS, where faculty share their passion and knowledge of research with students. If you would like your proposal to be considered as a "Research Focused" FYS (and be eligible for additional student research funding - see below for details), please note this on the application form.

In your research focused FYS course, you should plan to include the following research-focused strategies:

  • define for students what research is in the context of your own work or your FYS topic
  • describe the research methodology you use in your research or creative practice
  • with your guidance, students should develop a research question

As part of the FYS, students visit a research site, either on or off campus The following are suggestions for additional research-focused strategies to use in your FYS course:

  • Students present their research questions in groups and their proposed methodology for addressing the question
  • Students learn about the best practices in mentorship (both being a mentee and being a mentor).

**NEW** Effective Fall 2020, students will have an opportunity to showcase what they’ve learned through a FYS research-focused poster session, which will be held at the end of the semester; instructors are encouraged to use the poster session as final projects for their seminar. Funds will be made available to cover the expense of printing posters (for this reason, group projects are encouraged).

To further encourage student participation in research, ICRU will grant a one-semester ICRU Research Fellowship ($1,000 for Spring 2021) to the student of your choice from your FYS. The award may also be split between two students. You will receive more information on selecting and nominating your student at the beginning of the semester.



First-Year Seminars are funded by and administered through the Office of the Provost in collaboration with University College and Academic Support and Retention. Questions about First-Year Seminars can be directed to Angie Lamb, Assistant Director in Academic Support and Retention.