A-7. Administration of the First-Year Seminar Requirement at Penn State Harrisburg, the Capital College

A-7. Administration of the First-Year Seminar Requirement at Penn State Harrisburg, the Capital College

Note: This policy is currently under review. (Summer 2011)


To establish a policy consistent with University Faculty Senate legislation requiring that each college implement an administrative policy for addressing situations when students do not complete the First Year Seminar (FYS).

Part I


In December 1997, the University Faculty Senate passed legislation (Academic Administrative Policies Manual Policy: L-9, which is available at: http://www.psu.edu/oue/aappm) mandating a first-year seminar requirement for all incoming first-year baccalaureate students who were admitted to the University after spring semester 1999.


It is expected that all baccalaureate degree candidates will include a first-year seminar as part of their first 27 credits scheduled in residence at Penn State. Students are encouraged to complete this requirement in their first two periods of enrollment.


The following students are exempt from the FYS requirement: provisional and nondegree (regular and conditional) students who have completed 18 or more credits in that status, advanced standing admits (18 or more transfer credits), admits with 18 or more credits in another status at Penn State (e.g., associate degree), and associate degree candidates.


Students who do not successfully complete an FYS must fulfill the requirement in an alternative activity.

Administrative Procedures

Students enrolled at Penn State Harrisburg will be expected to schedule the first year seminar during their first semester. The Division of Undergraduate Studies will be responsible for monitoring student schedules during the First Year Testing Counseling and Advising Program (FTCAP) to ensure compliance.

The Office of Enrollment Services and the Division of Undergraduate Studies will identify students who did not complete the FYS in their first semester and coordinate a mailing directing students to schedule the seminar in semester two. This will include students enrolled at Penn State Harrisburg and all students enrolled in CACOM at other campus locations. The mailing will include a statement explaining the FYS requirement and the College's policy for compliance.

Failure to register for a FYS by the end of the second semester of enrollment will require the student to:

  1. Schedule a FYS in the third semester, or

  2. Petition for an exception as outlined in Part II of this document.

Part II

Petitions for Exceptions

Although the current Capital College FYS is 1 credit, a substitute course may be 1-3 credits. To be eligible for substitution, the course must be a small class and must fulfill at least 3 of the 5 active learning elements listed below:

  1. Active use of writing, speaking and other forms of self-expression

  2. Opportunity for information gathering, synthesis and analysis in solving problems, including the use of library and computer/electronic resources and the application of quantitative reasoning and interpretation

  3. Engagement in collaborative learning and teamwork

  4. Application of intercultural and international competence

  5. Dialogue pertaining to social behavior, community and scholarly conduct

Students enrolled in other Colleges will be required to follow the first year seminar compliance policy of their college.


To have a course reviewed for substitution, the student must submit the proposal form (attached) for substitution to the Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs that includes the following:

  1. The students name and number

  2. The proposed course and description

  3. Details regarding how the course satisfies at least three of the active learning elements above. The proposal should clearly identify these elements as well as include specific examples illustrating the class activities that support them. NOTE: Courses currently in progress or completed are not eligible for substitution. English 015, English 030, English 202, and CAS 100 may not be used as a substitution for a First-year Seminar.

  4. Signature of the student's Academic Adviser

Review of Proposals

The Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs will review proposals and forward notification of approval to the student, the student's academic adviser and the Office of Enrollment Services. The Office of Enrollment Services will be responsible for noting the appropriate substitution on the student's audit.

Approved: Academic Leadership Council (11-18-03)

Approved: Provost and Dean (11-18-03)