• First-Year Seminars

    Each incoming Freshman chooses an FYSM Gateway section as their "Gateway" into their HSU academic experience. Our best and brightest faculty and staff dig into topics they love while helping you connect to HSU. Outside the classroom, FYSM groups do life together, building community through shared experiences.

  • Announcing FYSM 1300 Gateway FALL 2018!

    FYSM 1300 A Gateway: Artificial Intelligence: The Enhancement or End of Humanity? | MWF 9:00-9:50


    Mr. Wade Ashby

    Self-driving cars? Robots as teachers? Technology is radically reshaping the workplace, classroom, relationships, & how we generally live. Stephen Hawking predicts, “The development of full artificial intelligence [AI] could spell the end of the human race. Yet Alan Perlis states, “A year spent in artificial intelligence is enough to make one believe in God.” So do we study AI to learn more about ourselves & our Creator, or do we try to run the other way? Join Wade Ashby as you enter HSU’s academic gateway in an FYSM investigating real-world AI applications & their potential impact on our world.

    FYSM 1300 B Gateway: Here For A Reason | T/TH 10:30-11:45

    FYSM 1300 X Gateway: Here For A Reason | T/TH 11:55-1:10 

    Mrs. Lindsay Boynton

    You are here for a reason, & this FYSM Gateway course will help you discover what it is! Since college is a time of exploration, this course features experiential learning, hands-on activity, & self-assessment. Through these methods, you will uncover your strengths & interests & align them with potential careers.

    FYSM 1300 C Gateway: Hollywood Science | MWF 11:00-11:50

    Dr. Jennifer Hennigan & Dr. Steven Rosscoe

    Can Thor’s hammer really fly? How could we stop a real- life zombie? Would we live in a world like “Waterworld” if the polar ice melted? Our best science fiction & action stories are based in scientific principles. This FYSM Gateway course provides an exploration of how science, scientists, & scientific ethics are portrayed in movies, television, & print media through the lens of two of our favorite scientists.

    *Students in the Pre-Health LLC: enroll in this section!

    FYSM 1300 D Gateway: The Disney Version | MWF 9:00-9:50

    Dr. Rich Traylor

    As a significant shaper of culture, Disney reaches the lives of millions, so Disney studies is serious business. Come consider the life, work, & legacy of Walt Disney & how they connect to your life, work, & legacy—even in college! Join Dr. Rich Traylor, respected History professor, in a semester-long conversation that will prompt some deep thinking, Disney-style.

    FYSM 1300 E Gateway: ESPN 30 For 30: Sports, Life, and Personal Values | T/TH 10:30-11:45 

    Dr. Melissa Madeson

    Framing learning through media & real world examples from sports & athletes, Dr. Melissa Madeson helps students investigate skills leading to success in college & beyond. Tackle critical thinking, time management, study techniques, & social skills in the world of athletes around the world & apply those to your own life!

    FYSM 1300 F Gateway: Paradigms of Crime: The Good, The Bad, and The Truth | MWF 9:00-9:50


    Dr. Karin Brown and Mr. Ryan Hunter

    Why do people commit crimes? What explains the ways we respond to crimes? Come join HSU Criminal Justice professors Brown & Hunter as they introduce us to these questions & more pertaining to crime & those who commit crimes. They’ll help us begin to uncover what our responses to these complex issues reveal to us about who we are as individuals, as communities, as Texans, & as Americans.

    FYSM 1300 G Gateway: Geocaching: Not All Who Wander Are Lost | MWF 9:00-9:50

    Dr. Corrie Reed

    A happy practitioner of geocaching around the world, Dr. Reed is excited to pursue this outdoor, GPS-enabled scavenger hunt with you! You’ll experience geocaching as a tool for enhancing both physical & mental abilities & work in groups as well as in the community. All participants need a GPS-enabled smartphone or device & a premium subscription to Geocaching.

    *Students in the Health & Wellness LLC: enroll in this section!

    FYSM 1300 H Gateway: Hogwarts at Hardin-Simmons | MW 1:00-2:15

    Dr. Susan Pigott

    Calling all Potterheads! Read from all seven Harry Potter books, choose your house, & enter the Hogwarts world of learning as you explore the struggle between good & evil, biblical themes & allusions, social issues, the hero journey, self-sacrifice, & other relevant issues. Wands optional.

    FYSM 1300 I Gateway: Hamilton: Young, Scrappy, and Hungry | MWF 9:00-9:50

    Dr. Tiffany Fink

    “Who lives? Who dies? Who tells your story?” Smash Broadway musical Hamilton brings truth to life on stage, revealing both the flaws & strengths of great American figures. Join American Historian Dr. Tiffany Fink “in the room where it happened” to explore the intersection of historical narrative & creative genius through the lens of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Broadway hit. Hamilton: the first-year seminar with a hip-hop soundtrack. If you are young, scrappy, and hungry, enroll in Dr. Fink’s FYSM!

    FYSM 1300 J Gateway: Journey Through the Arts: A Cultural Quest | T/TH 10:30-11:45

    Mrs. Susetta Rockett

    Choosing a liberal arts university to further your education opens the door to many exciting opportunities in the world of Fine Arts! Concerts, theatrical performances, art exhibitions, guest artists, & guest lecturers fill the world of HSU & are the highlights of this FYSM Gateway. Join musician Suzie Rockett on an artistic journey toward a lifelong understanding & appreciation for the Arts.

    FYSM 1300 K Gateway: Formation: Knowing God, Knowing Yourself, Knowing Your Neighbors | MWF 9:00-9:50

    Holly Edwards - 100

    Mrs. Holly Edwards

    How does knowing God influence the way you know yourself & the way you relate to your neighbor? Come walk through a discovery in knowing God through spiritual formation opportunities & spiritual disciplines, knowing yourself through self-awareness discoveries & personality testing, as well as learning who your neighbor is & how to connect deeply with them.

    *Students in the Spiritual Formation LLC: enroll in this section!

    FYSM 1300 L Gateway: The C. S. Lewis Society | MWF 9:00-9:50


    Dr. Laura Pogue

    Explore your strengths & dig into your first semester of university life through the words of C.S. Lewis. Whether pursuing his education or educating others, serving in war or coping with the aftermath, denying the spiritual or coming to recognize it, Lewis gives us a fascinating lens on his world and ours. Members of the C.S. Lewis Society will be challenged & encouraged in this FYSM Gateway course as they examine HSU, friendship, education, conflict, calling, & more.

    FYSM 1300 M Gateway: Martial Arts and American Culture | MWF 9:00-9:50


    Dr. Coleman Patterson

    Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris, Ninja Turtles, Power Rangers, & Kung Fu Panda are American pop-culture symbols.  Martial arts programs for children & adults are now staples in our society for exercise, discipline, & well-being.  Today’s culture embraces self-defense & martial arts fitness programs as well as martial arts competition in the Olympics, tournaments, & MMA industries.  Students in this FYSM Gateway section will examine the prevalence of martial arts in American culture, learn the histories & particulars of various martial arts styles, & develop actual traditional skills with in-class training.

    FYSM 1300 N Gateway: The Legacy & History of HSU | MWF 9:00-9:50

    Mrs. Mary Burke

    Dig deep into the reserves of your university! Explore the lives of HSU icons Simmons, Sandefer, Richardson, & more while discovering the rich traditions & history of our 125-year old institution. Learn what campus life was like in war-time and moments of world crisis. Examine the values and priorities of those who walked these 40 acres before us. HSU Special Collections Manager Mary Burke will give access to primary documents & HSU archives as a part of this remarkable class.

    FYSM 1300 O Gateway: Exploring Middle-Earth: The Worldview Behind The Lord of the Rings | T/TH 10:30-11:45


    Dr. Bryan Yorton

    What understanding of reality lies behind the magic of Middle-earth? Where did it all come from? What was Tolkien thinking as he imagined a world of elves, hobbits, wizards, dwarves, dragons, & monsters where good & evil battle for supremacy? What is the Philosophy of this world? By what rules does it operate? How might it intersect with your own? Come explore the world of Tolkien, & see what wisdom we can gain about ourselves and our world.

    FYSM 1300 P Gateway: The Politics Behind Sports | MWF 9:00-9:50


    Dr. Daniel Allen

    In this FYSM Gateway course, investigate why sports is frequently more than just playing a game. Dr. Daniel Allen, political scientist, will help you & your fellow first-year students begin the next stage of your scholarly lives by looking at the places where political issues and identities emerge in competitive athletics.

    FYSM 1300 Q Gateway: Leading Through Challenge | MWF 9:00-9:50

    Megan Baldree

    Ms. Megan Baldree

    Who are you as a leader? What experiences have shaped your leadership journey? Walk with HSU’s Associate Dean of Students, Megan Baldree, in this section of FYSM Gateway this semester identifying and cultivating our leadership skills, understanding what it means to lead in difficult times, and studying exemplary practices for leadership. In developing our own philosophy of leadership at the gateway of the HSU experience, we will learn about our personalities, our strengths, and the motivators that drive us.

    *Students in the Leadership LLC: enroll in this section!

    FYSM 1300 R Gateway: Women in the Image of God | MWF 9:00-9:50

    AlyssaRasco-100JHunt - 100

    Ms. Alyssa Rasco and Mr. John Hunt

    The world depends on women.  Be a part of this FYSM Gateway course & explore God’s empowering vision for women & the profound impact their full participation can have in every community. All students are invited to join us as we consider how women are made in God’s image & uniquely equipped to fulfill an important role during the 21st century.

    FYSM 1300 S Gateway: Leadership in Sports | MWF 9:00-9:50

    Mr. John Neese

    Love ‘em or yell at ‘em, athletes significantly impact culture around the planet. Join HSU Athletic Director John Neese in this FYSM Gateway course to study Transactional vs. Transformational leadership through the examples of athletes & their influences on teams, companies, & society. Foundational texts for this course include Stephen Covey’s Principle Centered Leadership & Tony Dungey’s  Quiet Strength: The Principles, Practices, & Priorities of a Winning Life.

    FYSM 1300 T Gateway: Telling Your Story | T 5:30-8:15

    Dr. Jana Wesson-Martin

    We all love a good story! Narratives weave together our lives. Come consider the history, value, & power of storytelling with English prof Dr. Jana Wesson-Martin. What is your story? How does your story answer God’s calling? What do others’ stories teach us about faith, and what can we learn from others’ stories? In searching for the answers to these questions, you may just find some exciting & beautiful chapters yet to be written in your life.

    FYSM 1300 U Gateway: UNDECIDED: It's A MAJOR Decision | MWF 9:00-9:50

    Haley Carlson - 100

    Mrs. Haley Carlson

    Ever wonder what you want to do with your life? This FYSM Gateway course will lead you on a journey to discover your strengths, explore all the majors offered at HSU, & make connections for your future & career. Join Haley Carlson, HSU Student Success Specialist, as you learn more about yourself & come one step closer to choosing the right major for you at HSU! 

    *Designed for students in the Exploring Majors LLC!

    FYSM 1300 V Gateway: Art of Photography | MWF 9:00-9:50


    Dr. Larry Fink

    Your camera phone-- or digital camera-- & a bit of curiosity are all you’ll need to join Dr. Larry Fink for an exploration of the physiology, psychology, & spirituality of the gifts of seeing & creativity. You’ll be introduced to several styles of art photography & how to more fully appreciate them, & you’ll learn to use basic tools of composition as you create & share your own artistic images inspired by masters of the medium. Jump into college by learning how to look at the world & yourself in new ways!

    FYSM 1300 Y Gateway: Surviving to Thriving: In the Zombie Apocalypse | MW 1:00-2:15

    JoeMcCormickJohn McCormick - 100

    Dr. Joe McCormick and Mr. John McCormick

    How do you encounter the challenges of college?  What do you do when it seems like the end of the world?  As the zombie apocalypse looms, be prepared!  Join the McCormick brothers in studying the physical, psychological, & social challenges you will experience in your new environment.  Along your journey, you may even pick up some survival skills… just in case.

    HONR 1301 Honors Colloquium | MW 1:00-2:15

    Dr. Tom Copeland

    Honors students! You need to sign up for HONR 1301- Honors Colloquium, a course devoted to tackling the hard questions: How do I know what I know? How should Christians respond to authority? What is my responsibility for poverty? Does suffering have meaning?  Why does God allow evil in the world? Every week, we’ll read, talk, & write about these & other questions that may not have clear answers, but are essential topics for well-educated, deep-thinking people.  Along the way, you’ll get to know yourself & your classmates very well.  It may be the most intellectual fun you’ve ever had!  See you in Colloquium!

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