First Year Florida Instructor Information

First Year Florida Peer Leaders | First Year Florida Instructors

We appreciate your interest in teaching First Year Florida, and have prepared the following information to:


  • Further familiarize yourself with the First Year Florida program and role and responsibilities of being an instructor
  • Highlight some of the core values and qualities associated with effective instructors
  • Provide you a sense of the First Year Florida program and what we are looking for in our instructors.
Program Overview

First Year Florida is a one-credit-hour class designed to help first-year students with their transition to the University of Florida. Limited to less than 25 students, FYF is co-taught by a UF faculty or staff member and an undergraduate peer leader.

Specific objectives for students taking First Year Florida include the development of:

  • skills for academic and personal success
  • an appreciation for and commitment to being a part of a diverse learning community, and
  • the personal, social, emotional, and intellectual skills necessary for involvement in leadership and service throughout the student's career in the university community.

First Year Florida students will be more engaged and involved in their college experience, achieve an awareness of the diverse world they live in, and obtain knowledge of resources to help them be successful.

Competencies of Effective Instructors

Ability to Connect with First-Year Students

  • Approachability: Is easy to approach and talk to; is sensitive to and patient with the interpersonal anxieties of others; builds rapport well.
  • Compassion: Genuinely cares about students; is concerned about their challenges; is available and ready to help; demonstrates real empathy with the joys and pains of others; is a giving person.
  • Integrity and Trust: Is seen as a direct, truthful individual; can present the unvarnished truth in an appropriate and helpful manner; is a role model of our University's mission.

Building Classroom Community

  • Building Team Spirit: fosters open dialogue; creates a feeling of belonging in the classroom community; shows personal care and concern for the development of students.
  • Ethics and Values: Adheres to an appropriate and effective set of core values and beliefs during both good and tough times; acts in line with those values; rewards the right values and disapproves of others; practices what he/she preaches.

Classroom Skills

  • Presentation Skills: Is effective in formal presentation and informal group settings; effective with cool data and controversial topics; commands attention and can manage group process during the presentation; asks thought provoking questions; effectively uses metaphors and personal stories to illustrate learning points; able to read the group to make necessary changes to increase learning.
  • Listening: Practices attentive and active listening; has the patience to hear people out; can accurately restate the opinions of others even when he/she disagrees.
  • Managing Diversity: Manages all kinds and classes of people equitably; can work effectively with all races, nationalities, cultures, handicaps, ages and both sexes; supports equal and fair treatment and opportunity for all; appreciates and respects differences.
  • Time Commitment: In addition to facilitating class sessions, able to meet regularly with Co-Instructor to plan class sessions and discuss class matters, to provide office hours for students, and to attend other activities as outlined in the syllabus (i.e. Convocation, service project); evaluates and returns students' assignments in a timely manner
  • Knowledge of needs of first-year students: Understand student development as it relates to a first-time freshman's transition to college; able to anticipate issues or concerns during the course of the class and address appropriately
  • Knowledge of campus resources: Guide and direct students to the appropriate campus resources whether for a classroom assignment or for personal reasons
Benefits of Teaching First Year Florida
  • Meet, learn from, and network with other caring undergraduate student leaders, faculty and staff.
  • Experiment with new teaching strategies that can be applied in other settings.
  • Learn more about students and how they learn.
  • Expand your knowledge of UF resources, student support systems, and learning opportunities.
  • Contribute to the University's educational mission through service teaching.
  • Engage students in small classes.
  • Be supported by outstanding undergraduate Peer Leaders or UF Faculty/Staff.
  • Help freshmen make a successful transition to college!
Interested in learning more?
  • Click here for more information about becoming an undergraduate Peer Leader
  • Click here for more information about becoming a faculty/staff Co-Instructor
  • Click here to see samples of current First Year Florida Syllabi