University of Oregon


First-Year Programs offer faculty members unique teaching opportunities:

  • FIGs — collaborate with a colleague in another department
  • Freshman Seminars — explore a special research topic with a small class of students

Faculty members from every discipline and department are encouraged to propose FIGs or Freshman Seminars.


: In a Freshman Interest Group (FIG), 25 students are co-enrolled during the fall term of their first year in two regular group-satisfying classes and a one-credit College Connections class.  College Connections, led by a faculty member and an advanced undergraduate, is intended to help students think critically, acquire necessary academic skills, and adjust to university life.  The two academic classes are from different disciplines, but are linked by a common theme. Collaboration between the two faculty members is encouraged and supported by a dedicated award.

Freshman Seminars

: Seminars emphasize active discussion and develop a sense of community among students.  The three or four-credit seminars have a class size of twenty-three or fewer and are offered fall, winter, or spring term.  Topics vary widely, according to the faculty member’s interests, for example: Buddhism Through Art, Making and Breaking Codes, and Be an Anthropologist.  Seminars are an excellent way to try out a topic in a small class setting.

Here is what participating faculty members have said about our programs:

“Teaching a College Connections course is the highlight of the academic year for me. I enjoy meeting the new students and feel connected to the rhythm of the University.”

Daniel Close, FIG “Education and Social Services” College Connections Professor

“The Freshman Seminar offers the most rewarding learning community and teaching experience of my academic career and I look forward to continuing to adapt this dynamic course all with the supportive collaboration of First Year Programs and my students.”

Kevin Hatfield, Freshman Seminar “Uncovering the Past of the ‘Real’ Wild West” Professor


Here are some helpful resources for your convenience:

Proposing a FIG

Proposing a Freshman Seminar

Developing an Interactive Classroom

Training Students to Facilitate Class Discussions