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Quest I/FYE Resources

The first year on campus is critical for our students. But what will make it inspiring, welcoming, and intellectually fulfilling is YOU. What you do matters.

Goals of Quest I/First-Year Experience

  • Create a new way of teaching first-year students
  • Introduce the general idea of a Liberal Education and specifically of a UW Oshkosh liberal education
  • Support the academic transition from high school to college
  • Foster a sense of community (for them and for us); it’s about relationships
  • Assess our students and our program to help develop both

Quest I/First-Year Experience Student Learning Outcomes

  1. Students will be able to describe the value of a Liberal Education.
  2. Students will become familiar with the expectations of a college-level education, the UW Oshkosh Essential Learning Outcomes, and the University Studies Program.
  3. Students will begin their acculturation to life at this university, developing familiarity with the academic resources and community engagement opportunities at UW Oshkosh.
  4. Students will engage in learning communities to enhance their connections to the class, the university, and one another.
  5. Students will participate in campus and community life through co-curricular activities.
  6. Students will begin to take personal responsibility for their intellectual development by archiving learning artifacts in the ePortfolio.

Characteristics of Quest I Disciplinary Courses

Liberal Education and Essential Learning Outcomes

 The Quest I disciplinary courses introduce students to the ideas associated with a Liberal Education. These courses emphasize how the goals of Liberal Education will inform students' learning experiences at the university with the aim of providing the foundations and skills for lifelong learning.  These courses also provide an explicit introduction to the campus Essential Learning Outcomes and the University Studies Program, engaging students intellectual curiosity while providing a supportive transition to university life.

Signature Questions

As the first class in a student's college career, Quest I with embedded FYE exposes students to the campus' three Signature Questions and itself addresses one of those questions in greater depth. The Signature Questions include:

  • How do people understand and create a more sustainable world?
  • How do people understand and engage in community life?
  • How do people understand and bridge cultural differences?

Transition to UW Oshkosh

The embedded FYE course places special emphasis upon acculturating students to the university, to the expectations of a college-level education, and the resources and opportunities that exist at UW Oshkosh.

Class Size and Co-Enrollment

The Quest I disciplinary course is capped at 25 to enhance the connection between the student and the instructor. This course is paired with a writing or speaking course, also capped at 25 students. As a result of their concurrent enrollment in both courses (embedded FYE and writing or speaking course) in their first semester at UW Oshkosh, students form a learning community that will further aid in their transition to the university.

Peer Mentors

All embedded FYE courses are assigned a peer mentor. The peer mentor enhances the students' connections to the class, to the university, and to each other. Peer mentors serve as intellectual role models and academic resources for first-year students, attending some class sessions and accompanying students to co-curricular activities. Student mentors undergo a training program and receive a small stipend for their service which includes assisting first-year students with the ePortfolio process.

Co-Curricular Activities

The Quest I disciplinary course delineates expectations for student attenance at a variety of co-curricular activities (events on and/or off campus) to reinforce students' engagement in the community. These options may include a campus play, an international film, an art exhibit, a music performance, an athletic event or other public opportunities outside the classroom. Lists of options for each semester will be posted on this website, to assist course planning. This component of Quest I generates student awareness of and engagement in campus and community life (crucial contributors to retention and academic success, particularly for first-generation students who comprise more than 50 percent of our population).

Assessment/ePortfolio Launch

The embedded FYE course introduces the ePortfolio as a mechanism for student assessment. During their first semester, students are introduced to the ePortfolio as a tool that is available for use throughout their college careers. A specialist in Learning Technologies will assist the USP teaching community with this element of instruction. In addition to providing the initial introduction to the ePortfolio, Quest I instructors select at least one learning artifact (paper, speech, reflection journal from the co-curricular activities, etc.) for students to upload to their ePortfolios. Instructors are free to determine the assessment tools for individual elements of their courses, though rubrics developed for the assessment of learning outcomes in Quest I are available on this CETL Teaching Resource Center. 

Quest I Course Design Checklist

Thanks to everyone who participated in our inaugural Quest I workshops!  We are eager to see how Quest I develops as a result of your intellectual creativity. 

As you prepare your syllabi for submission, you may wish to consult this "Quest I Syllabus Checklist."  You may find the "Sample Syllabus Language" document helpful, as it contains some statements you may wish to use or modify for inclusion in your syllabus.

This checklist emanated from the collaborative conversations that occurred during the May and June 2012 workshops and will be used to provide feedback on draft Quest I syllabi. You may be particularly interested in the elements required for the Signature Question content, which appear on page two of the checklist.

If you have questions about Quest I courses, please contact us at

Quest I Sample Syllabi

Thank you to all who submitted Quest I draft syllabi for review.

We enjoyed reading the innovative and insightful ways you have woven the Signature Questions and FYE elements into already full syllabi!   Below are few examples that colleagues have agreed to share.

A Community History of Business  Shared by Bill Wresch, COBA

Religion, Difference  and Children's Books  Shared by Jodi Eichler-Levine, Religious Studies, COLS

Sample Quest Speaking (COMM 111) Syllabus- Fundamental of Speech Communication  Shared by Jennifer Considine, Communication, COLS

Sample Quest Writing (WBIS) Syllabus- Pre-Apocalyptic Inventory of the Human Legacy: Focus on Intercultural Knowledge and Competence  Shared by Paul Niesen, English, COLS

Quest I Signature Question Resources

The following resources are provided to support the development of Quest courses during summer 2012. 

Signature Question: Sustainability

How do people understand and create a more sustainable world?

Signature Question: Intercultural Knowledge and Competence

How do people understand and bridge cultural differences?

Signature Question: Civic Knowledge and Engagement

How do people understand and engage in community life?

Quest I/First-Year Experience

About the First-Year Experience embedded in Quest I

Inclusive Excellence in the University Studies Program

About Inclusive Excellence throughout USP courses



May 22-24 USP Faculty College Morning Workshop Videos

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by Reinke, Heidi last modified Feb 08, 2013 01:36 PM