University of Wisconsin–Madison

Wisconsin Experience Seminar Instructors

Course Overview

The Wisconsin Experience Seminar (Coun Psy 125) is a one-credit (75 min/wk., 15 wk.) first-year seminar open to all new students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. This course is taught by a university faculty or staff member and an Undergraduate Teaching Fellow in an active, discussion-driven, and community-oriented learning environment. Class size is capped at 20 students.

This small, interactive course is designed to help new students transition successfully to academic and student life at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Students will explore campus resources and opportunities; their skills, identity, interests, and goals; and the history and purpose of UW-Madison to help them make the most of their Wisconsin experience.

Click here to for the Wisconsin Experience Seminar Syllabus Template.

Instructor Role and Expectations

Training, resources, and support are provided throughout the year to ensure that Wisconsin Experience Seminar instructors have a successful experience teaching the course and find this to be a valuable professional development opportunity that can positively impact their work on-campus.

New Wisconsin Experience Seminar instructors are expected to participate in the following professional development opportunities:

  • Instructor Training
  • Summer Workshops (optional, date and times TBA)
  • Fall Kick-Off Meeting with their Fellow on Monday, August 28 (9:00AM – 12:00PM)
  • Weekly meetings during the fall semester with their Undergraduate Teaching Fellow (TBD by teaching team)
  • Bi-weekly meetings with other instructors during the fall semester (days and times TBD)

Wisconsin Experience Seminar instructors should expect to spend 4-7 hours a week preparing for and facilitating the course during the fall semester. This will include:

  • Preparing lesson plans and facilitating class weekly
  • Grading and providing feedback on student work in a timely manner
  • Mentoring an Undergraduate Teaching Fellow
  • Actively supporting first-year student success within and outside of the classroom (may include in-person and electronic communication with students)
  • Attending meetings with the Undergraduate Teaching Fellow and other instructors

Benefits and Compensation

This unique professional development opportunity has many potential benefits, which include, but are not limited to:

  • Enhancing group facilitation skills and teaching skills.
  • Engaging with, and mentoring, new, undergraduate students.
  • Developing positive relationships with new students over the course of the semester and beyond.
  • Mentoring an Undergraduate Teaching Fellow
  • Being part of a team of instructors from across campus.
  • Building relationships with and learning from campus colleagues.
  • Facilitating classroom conversations about important topics relevant to first-year students.
  • Bringing a richer understanding of first-year students and an awareness of classroom dynamics back to your department/unit.


  • New Wisconsin Experience Seminar instructors will receive a $1,000 stipend upon completion of teaching the course.
  • Instructors also have access to up to $5/student for class supplies or shared experiences for the class.

Instructor Requirements and Application Process

Academic staff, University staff, and faculty interested in teaching and supporting first-year students are encouraged to apply to be a Wisconsin Experience Seminar Instructor.

The minimum requirements to teach a Wisconsin Experience Seminar are:

  • Employment at the University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Masters’ degree or higher from an accredited institution
  • Approval from the applicant’s supervisor

Finalists will be invited for a brief interview with the Assistant Director for Academic Engagement, and final hiring approval will be given by the Counseling Psychology Department in the School of Education. The application process is competitive, and CFYE may not able to hire all qualified applicants.

Please refer questions to Tess Smith, Assistant Director of Academic Engagement in the Center for the First-Year Experience, at or at 608-265-3079.