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University 101 Programs

University 101 Requirements

Each UNIV 101 section aims to foster a sense of belonging, promote engagement in the curriculum and co-curricular life of the university, articulate to students the expectations of the university and its faculty, help students develop and apply critical thinking skills, and help students to clarify their purpose, meaning and direction. Six basic principles underscore our philosophy and approach to creating an effective first-year seminar.

These principles underscore our philosophy and approach to creating an effective first-year seminar:

  1. Community should be established early in order to promote a sense of belonging and to create an inclusive and welcoming learning environment.
  2. Course content should be tailored to the specific needs of the students in each section.
  3. University 101 should be an active, engaging and enjoyable learning experience.
  4. Course content, methods, instructional strategies and assignments should be purposeful and firmly aligned with the common learning outcomes.
  5. Each student should receive an appropriate balance of challenge and support.
  6. The focus of this class is having students reflect on and process course content and their experiences, rather than simply distribute information.


Goals and Learning Outcomes

Carefully formulated to ensure relevant, sustainable and dynamic course design, our learning outcomes and common course requirements provide a degree of consistency across sections while also allowing instructors to customize their section.

The broad nature of these outcomes signifies that no one approach may be appropriate for all sections or all students. The content, topics and methods used to achieve the outcomes should be tailored to the needs of the students in a given section and to the strengths and expertise of the instructor.

As a result of this course, students will:

  • adapt and apply appropriate academic strategies to their courses and learning experiences

  • identify and apply strategies to effectively manage time and priorities

  • identify relevant academic policies, processes and resources related to their academic success and timely attainment of degree requirements.

As a result of this course, students will:

  • identify and use appropriate campus resources and engage in opportunities that contribute to their learning within and beyond the classroom

  • develop positive relationships with peers and faculty and staff members

  • describe the history, purpose and traditions of the University of South Carolina.

As a result of this course, students will:

  • clarify their values and identity and articulate how these shape their perspectives and relationships with people who are similar to and different from themselves

  • explore the tenets of the Carolinian Creed

  • examine and develop strategies that promote well-being and explain how wellness impacts their academic and personal success

  • initiate a process toward the attainment of personal and professional goals and articulate potential pathways to employability.

Successful instructors will be intentional in all aspects of course planning and design in order to facilitate student progress toward achieving these outcomes.

It is important to note that an outcome is not the same as a daily lesson or a specific piece of content. Individual lesson plans or topics may be applicable to numerous outcomes. Individual topics that could be vehicles for achieving some of these outcomes might include:

  • academic strategies
  • campus involvement
  • campus resources
  • campus safety
  • career development
  • diversity
  • financial literacy 
  • goal setting 
  • stress management
  • time management 
  • values clarification.

Instructors may also consider educational methods that promote the outcomes, such as community service, service-learning, cultural event participation, beyond-the-classroom experiences and campus partner presentations.


Other Course Requirements

In an effort to achieve these goals and learning outcomes, the requirements listed below will be included in all sections of University 101.

University 101 not only orients students to beyond-the-classroom learning opportunities, but also helps students articulate the significance of those experiences and how they contribute to overall learning. 

Each UNIV 101 section must require students to participate and reflect on at least one beyond-the-classroom learning opportunity. Beyond-the-classroom experiences may be completed by students individually, but instructors should consider that a group experience provides an even greater opportunity to build community and facilitate reflection on learning. 

Examples of Beyond-the-Classroom opportunities include, but are not limited to:

  • community service
  • leadership programs or workshops
  • campus lectures
  • diversity and international events
  • cultural events such as a theatrical performance, dance and/or music recital
  • campus clubs/organizations meetings/events

Examples of reflection activities include, but are not limited to:

  • a written reflection describing the event, what was learned and how it related to any one of the UNIV 101 learning outcomes 
  • class/small group discussions of the event culminating in a group list of “lessons learned”
  • reflecting on the event as part of an ongoing journal for the class

"Transitions" is the textbook used in all sections of University 101 to provide a consistent source of important information for students. While it is designed to serve as a resource for incoming students, it is not intended to reflect the entirety of the curriculum. Developed specifically for the University of South Carolina, this book provides a baseline of information that students will need to help them make the most of their first-year experience. Additional reading is not required; however, we encourage sections to incorporate the FYRE book. Please do not require student to purchase an additional text.

Assignments need to allow students to demonstrate evidence of achieving the learning outcomes for the course, as well as give an opportunity for students to reflect on and apply course material. It is important that new students receive early and regular feedback about their academic performance and that they have a sense of their progress early in the term. At a minimum, each section will assess students on the following components:

Required Component

Rec. Weight*




  • 1:1 meeting with instructor/peer leader
  • Actively engaging in activities and small-group discussions
  • Arriving on-time and prepared for class
  • Positively involved in the classroom community and listening respectfully

Personal Reflections  

4-5 entries per semester


  • Journals
  • Vlogs
  • Event/Engagement reflection

Oral Presentation


  • Resident Expert
  • DMSB assignment
  • TED Talk career assignment

Mid-Semester Written Assignment 

Assignment should be 3-5 double-spaced pages.



  • Reflection on first half of semester
  • Employability assignment
  • Personality preferences analysis

Final Reflection** 

The final should challenge students to reflect upon and synthesize the course goals and personal experiences during their first semester.


  • Letter to incoming students/former self
  • Video/Creative project

Other Assignments  

Any assignment worth more than 5% of the total grade should be listed as a separate line item in your grading criteria. 


  • All about me sheet
  • Lifeline
  • Do You Know - Resources
  • Academic Success Menu
  • Time management log
  • Homework to prepare for class (e.g., budget, inventories, wellness wheel)

*  Weights should be within +/- 5% of the recommended number.  

** Due to the nature and purpose of this course, multiple-choice or true/false exams are not an appropriate format. Please also note that according to the University Faculty Manual, no quiz, test, or examination shall be given during the last two class sessions before the regular examination period.  


Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.