Kenilworth Open Studios Sculpture Installation

The First Year Program (FYP) is a time of growth and awareness, both intellectually and artistically. In addition to coursework, students gain awareness of the resources and opportunities found within a research university. The program provides a framework and support as new students consider their areas of concentration.

In addition, students develop and expand their creativity, critical thinking, community engagement, technical skills and awareness of historical and contemporary practice, preparing them for their chosen area of study.

Cynthia Hayes
Director, First Year Program
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Program Structure

All First Year Program studio courses meet five hours per week for intensive hands-on work, one-on-one instruction and critiques in small studio communities of 16-24 students. Studio homework and research will also be a part of the experience. Coursework is project-based. Assignments and demonstrations are designed to give all students specific skill sets and awareness.

Our instructors are active professionals in their fields. They help guide new students in developing language to talk about, write about, see, and create art. Their mentorship of students begins in the first year, but continues throughout the student’s time at Peck School of the Arts and beyond. First Year Program instructors and staff are also available to help students gain additional creative experiences, individualized guidance and mentoring about university and community resources, internships and other pre-professional opportunities.

Declared Art & Design students receive priority registration for Art & Design courses. Students enter their chosen area of study after completing 27 credits with at least a 2.5 grade point average. The 27 credits include 15 First Year Program credits plus 12 academic credits (this includes the university Math and English requirements).

Events & Opportunities

First Year Experience

The First Year Program provides a series of events to specifically help new students become familiar with majors, faculty, facilities, resources, and opportunities including:

  • New Student Welcome Event – First Friday of Fall Semester,
  • Pre-Registration for Spring Art Classes – Mid-Fall Semester
  • Studio Tours – Mid-October
  • Advisathon – Monday before Thanksgiving
  • FYP Outstanding Student Scholarships – Declared majors currently enrolled in First Year Program courses may be nominated by instructors. Students are eligible to receive scholarships after filling out the general scholarship application and a supplemental department application by logging in to the Panther Scholarship Portal found on the UWM scholarship page.
  • FYP Exhibition – Early April
  • Test Drive! – Experience upper level Art & Design courses the first week in March.


Joel Butler HEADSHOT
  • Lecturer, First Year Program
  • Lecturer, Writing & Critical Thinking
  • Shop Technician, Printmaking & Book Arts
Kevin Giese Headshot
  • Teaching Faculty I, First Year Program
  • Lab Technician, KSE Woodshop
Cynthia Hayes Headshot
  • Teaching Faculty III, First Year Program
  • Teaching Faculty III, Painting & Drawing
  • Director, First Year Program
  • Co-Coordinator, Hubei University of Technology
Neil Horsky Headshot
  • Lecturer, Art & Design
Robin Jebavy Headshot
  • Lecturer, First Year Program
Teddy Dean Lepley III HEADSHOT
  • Lecturer, First Year Program
Katie Martin-Meurer Headshot
  • Teaching Faculty III, Sculpture
  • Teaching Faculty III, First Year Program
  • Outreach Coordinator, Art & Design
Aleksandra  Morozova
  • Lecturer, First Year Program
Amy O'Neill Headshot
  • Lecturer, Painting & Drawing
  • Lecturer, First Year Program
Josie Osborne Headshot
  • Teaching Faculty IV, First Year Program
Jared Patton Plock Headshot
  • Lecturer, First Year Program
Jeremy Plunkett Headshot
  • Lecturer, Painting & Drawing
  • Lecturer, First Year Program
Geryn Roche Headshot
  • Lecturer, Ceramics
  • Lecturer, First Year Program
  • Lab Technician, Ceramics
Mary Roley Headshot
  • Lecturer, Sculpture
  • Lecturer, First Year Program
Georgina  Rutherford
  • Lecturer, First Year Program
Adam  Stoner
  • Lecturer, First Year Program
Melissa Wagner Lawler Headshot
  • Teaching Faculty II, Printmaking & Book Arts
  • Teaching Faculty II, First Year Program
  • First Year Program & Retention Coordinator, Art & Design

Go Behind the Scenes with Us

As an arts school, we take campus tours one step further by offering on-the-go information sessions designed for creative minds. Go behind the scenes with one of our arts ambassadors and learn about our programs along the way.