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First-Year Seminars are distinguished by their small size, interactive format, emphasis on oral and writing communication, critical thinking and information literacy with a topical focus. The FYS program seeks to create a community among entering students and to immerse new students in a stimulating intellectual culture from their first days on campus.

Purpose and Objective:

First-Year Seminars fulfill a requirement under the Drake Curriculum. The Drake Curriculum Handbook states:

"All Drake Students entering direct from high school or having completed fewer than 30 hours of college course work complete a First Year Seminar during their first year of enrollment. First Year Seminars are student-centered learning experiences that involve critical thinking and both written and oral communication skills. Through a topical focus, they foster understanding of methods of analysis and creativity."

Additional Support for Student Writing:

Students seeking assistance with writing may schedule an appointment with a writing tutor through the Writing Workshop. The Writing Workshop is located in Howard 227. Appointments are available during both daytime and evening hours. Evening appointments meet in Cowles Library. Questions about the Writing Workshop can be answered by calling 271-2729. Students may also make appointments for the Writing Workshop.

Plagiarism and Academic Dishonesty:

The following link connects you to the Office of Student Records, where a statement on academic integrity can be located on the Academic Regulations page of the Undergraduate Catalog.

Academic Integrity Policy:

The First-Year Seminar Program supports and enforces the idea of honesty in all scholarship. Plagiarism is a serious offense to this ideal. It is expected that all writing and scholarship will be the student's own creation. Appropriate citation of others work or ideas is always expected. Copying another author's work will not be tolerated, will result in a zero grade for the work, and may conclude in the student having to retake the First-Year Seminar requirement.

Violations will be evaluated under the rules of the home college/school of the instructor. For classes taught by instructors not affiliated with a particular school/college, the procedures of the College of Arts & Sciences will be followed. For comprehensive information, please see:

Grade Appeals Policy for First Year Seminar and INTD courses

A student who wishes to challenge the grading practices of an instructor for a course that is an First Year Seminar (FYS) or an Interdisciplinary (INTD) course, may appeal for a change of their final grade, using the following guidelines and procedures.

Reasons for Appeal

Students may appeal a final grade for one or more of the following reasons: 

  1. Procedural or clerical error by the instructor that had a negative impact on the student’s grade. 
  2. The grading being arbitrary, capricious or outside accepted norms with resultant negative impact on the student’s grade. Possible examples: work is graded differently than stated in the rubric; final grades are calculated with a different method than stated on the syllabus, etc.
  3. The evaluation was of a different standard than that required of other students in the class, resulting in a negative impact on the student’s grade. Possible examples:  some students were permitted to submit late work without penalty and others were not; extra credit opportunities were provided to some, but not all students, etc.

If the student believes that the grade received is based upon discrimination, harassment, or related retaliation, as defined and prohibited by Drake policy, the student should initiate the complaint process set forth in the related policy: Non-Discrimination and Discriminatory Harassment Policy (Non-Sex-Based), or Sexual Harassment Policy

To be clear, students may not appeal the final grade on the grounds that they disagree with the professional judgment of the instructor as to the quality of the students’ performance or work or whether they met course standards.  

Students must provide sufficient evidence to support how their appeal meets one or more of the grounds for appeal, and the inability to provide this evidence may result in dismissal of the appeal. 

Timeline for Appeal

The student must initiate the appeals procedure with the instructor within ten (10) business days of the final grade submission due date as published by the Registrar.  The appeal process is initiated by a student first seeking a resolution with the instructor.

We expect that most, if not all, appeals will be resolved between the student and their instructor. If the student and instructor reach an agreement at any step of the appeals process, the appeal has concluded and the grade may not be appealed again. If the student and instructor do not reach an agreement, the student may escalate the appeal by requesting a meeting at which the Deputy Provost, the instructor, and the student are present. 

The student must make this request to the Deputy Provost within five days of the meeting they had with the instructor. At this meeting, the student will have the opportunity to explain their position and present relevant documentation that person. The Deputy Provost shall prepare a written summary of the issues and their findings of fact and shall determine the final resolution of the appeal based on the criteria listed above.  The Deputy Provost will provide all parties with a final determination within 3 days of the meeting.

Steps in FYS or INTD Appeal

Student Appeals to Instructor

Instructor Responds & Meeting Takes Place

Student Appeals to Deputy Provost via Email

Meeting between Instructor, Student, Deputy Provost

Deputy Provost Decision

Max # of Days

Within 10 days of final grades posted

Within 5 days

Within 5 days

Within 5 days

Within 3 days


Contact Information:

First-Year Seminar Program: Jimmy Senteza
Administrative Operations Specialist: Madison Bemus

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