Academics

First-Year Seminar

Taken during your first semester as a four-credit graded course, the First-Year Seminar at Southwestern University introduces students to the practice of making connections, with a special focus on incorporating perspectives from multiple disciplines. 

Contact

Office of the Dean of the Faculty

Phone

512.863.1567

Office of the Dean of the Faculty

The mission of Southwestern University’s First-Year Seminar Program is to help you begin to practice an education that arcs over the whole course of the your experience and across the curriculum, connecting the questions and perspectives you encounter and the skills you develop to each other and to the world. The First-Year Seminar (FYS) is a concurrent rather than preliminary experience, focused on exploratory topics or themes that help students think about what they are learning in their other classes and their larger education. Seminars introduce and reflect upon intellectual skills common to the liberal arts: formulating cogent questions, forging connections between methods of inquiry, recognizing and challenging assumptions, seeking out and listening to multiple perspectives, and rethinking the role of reading, writing, and discussion in inquiry and student-centered learning.

As you read the FYS summaries, you will discover that the topics are engaging and often edgy. But don’t be fooled. Seminars are real courses designed to introduce intellectual skills common to the liberal arts: formulating cogent questions, forging connections between methods of inquiry, recognizing and challenging assumptions, seeking out and listening to multiple perspectives, and rethinking the role of reading, writing, and discussion in inquiry and student-centered learning. Seminars meet daily during orientation week, which begins Monday, August 20, and continue meeting twice per week until November 1.

A list of the seminars is here.

Information regarding your FYS, as well as correspondence from your professor, including a summer assignment, will be available to you the latter part of June. Once your FYS has been assigned, it cannot be changed.

FIRST-YEAR STUDENT RESIDENTIAL OPTIONS

As you consider the FYS choices, you will also want to think about your residential experience because your FYS is determined by your housing assignment. First-year residence halls are either coed (male and female by suites) or gender-specific (all female or all male). With both residential experiences, you will live with, or in close proximity to, your FYS classmates. This will help you connect your in-class and out-of-class experiences by fostering an element of intellectual curiosity within the residence hall.

Residence Halls

Mabee Hall and Brown-Cody Hall are both coed residence halls. The gender-specific first-year halls are Kurth Hall for women and Ruter Hall for men. You will live in the same residence hall for your entire first year. You can learn more about all of Southwestern’s residence halls here.

Roommate Requests

Roommate requests will be considered, but are not guaranteed. You should both indicate your roommate request on your respective housing forms. Additionally, both students should rank the residence halls the same.

What do I do next?

After you have submitted your deposit, log in to my.southwestern.edu and click on WebAdvisor to review and complete the “First-Year Students - Preferences for Housing and First-Year Seminar” form under Student Life.

2016 FYS Presentations

 “Confucius Says” Dr. Allison Miller
“Tuning the Hemispheres” Dr. David Asbury