• 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. We'll even try to place you in the same sections of our first-year residence halls.

  • Announcing FYSM 1300 Gateway FALL 2017!

    FYSM 1300 I Gateway: Hamilton: Young, Scrappy, and Hungry |T/TH 1:20-2:35

    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 and strengths of great American figures. Join American Historian Dr. Tiffany Fink “in the room where it happened” to explore the intersection of historical narrative and 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 1:20-2:35

    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, and guest lecturers fill the world of HSU. Join Suzie Rockett on an artistic journey toward a lifelong understanding and appreciation for the Arts.

    FYSM 1300 U Gateway: Formation: Knowing God, Knowing Yourself, Knowing Your Neighbors | TT 10:30-11:45

    Holly Edwards - 100

    Mrs. Holly Edwards

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


    FYSM 1300 A Gateway: #hereforareason | T/TH 10:30-11:45


    Mrs. Lindsay Boynton

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

    *Designed for students in the Exploring Majors LLC!

    FYSM 1300 B Gateway: A Balanced Life* | T/TH 11:55-1:10

    Dr. Dara Brown

    Want to focus on balancing the pieces of your life? Want to create a healthy personal identity as you start your college career? Dr. Dara Brown is your guide as you explore seven basic human needs: Health & Life; Fun & Play; Usefulness; Relatedness; Independence; Inner Peace; and Spirituality. Students will clearly define each life area and work to identify appropriate coping skills and to minimize ineffective ones.

     *Students in Health & Wellness LLC: sign up for this section!

    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 and action stories are based in scientific principles. This course provides an exploration of how science, scientists, and scientific ethics are portrayed in movies, television, and print media through the lens of two of our favorite scientists!

    FYSM 1300 D Gateway: The Disney Version | MWF 11:00-11:50

    Dr. Rich Traylor

    As a significant shaper of culture, Disney reaches the lives of millions, so Disney studies is serious business. Come consider the many creations of Disney and how they connect to you. Join Dr. Rich Traylor, respected History professor and self-confessed Disneyphile, in a semester-long conversation that will challenge the way in which you see Disney and your world.

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

    Dr. Melissa Madeson

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

    FYSM 1300 F Gateway: Food and Culture | MW 1:00-2:15

    Dr. Lori Copeland

    Sit right down and have a hearty helping of food study! Human beings have a complex relationship with food. Tied to core dimensions of our lives, food influences us as individuals even as it shapes our social and family groups. This course will ask you to engage creatively and critically to examine food’s connection to our culture, relationships, faith, health, economy, and environment.

    FYSM 1300 G Gateway: The Joy of Geocaching | MWF 10:00-10:50

    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 and mental abilities and work in groups as well as in the community. All participants need a GPS-enabled smartphone or device.

    FYSM 1300 H Gateway: Hogwarts at Hardin-Simmons | T/TH 1:20-2:35

    Dr. Susan Pigott

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

    FYSM 1300 K Gateway: Parks and Rocks | T/TH 2:45-4:00

    Mr. Brian Dawson

    Our National Parks have preserved America’s most beautiful and historic places! Their struggle for preservation gives us powerful examples of leadership. Students will join HSU’s beloved Dean of Students in activities and theory-study involved in preserving these beautiful places for the next generation of Americans. Highlight of the course is a visit to one of our U.S. National Parks! *Designed for students in the Parks and Rocks LLC!

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

    Dr. Laura Pogue

    Explore your strengths and 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 and encouraged as they examine HSU, friendship, education, conflict, calling, and more.

    FYSM 1300 M Gateway: It’s a MAJOR Decision | MWF 9:00-9:50

    Mrs. Stacey Martin and Ms. Haley Carlson

    Ever wonder what you want to do with your life? This course leads you on a journey towards discovering your strengths, exploring majors offered at HSU, and making connections for your future and career. Stacey Martin, Dean for Student Engagement, and Haley Carlson, Residence Director, co-pilot this expedition into potential career paths.

    FYSM 1300 N Gateway: The Legacy & History of HSU | T 6:00-8:45

    Mrs. Mary Burke

    Dig deep into the reserves of your university! Explore the lives of HSU icons Simmons, Sandefer, Richardson, and more while discovering the rich traditions and 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 and HSU archives as a part of this remarkable class.

    FYSM 1300 O Gateway: The Office | MW 2:30-3:45

    Mr. Daniel Martin

    NBC’s mockumentary “The Office” allows students in this section of FYSM a humorous means for probing humility, courage, critical thinking, faith, and education. Come be challenged to think critically while seeking to develop strategies for pursuing harmony and reconciliation without requiring agreement. Daniel Martin brings his life experience and academic training to this exceptional FYSM.

    FYSM 1300 P Gateway: BreakAway | T/TH 10:30-11:45

    Ms. Cassie Mattern

    Become engaged citizens, researching and finding the root causes of social justice issues surrounding our daily lives, when you join this section of FYSM. You will identify causes, effects, and impactful strategies for serving our community. This class will create and carry out its own service project and seek to encourage volunteerism. Based on the Active Citizen Continuum Model of student development and leadership, this course will be a brains-on, hands-on first semester experience.

      *Students in the Social Work LLC sign up for this section!

    FYSM 1300 Q Gateway: Growing Into You | MW 1:00-2:15

    Mr. Michael LeRoux and Mrs. Nikki Rhodes

    Led by HSU’s Director of Student Activities and our Director of Counseling Services, this FYSM pushes us to become who we are meant to be by way of knowing ourselves and realizing our belovedness. This deeper understanding gives context and direction in all of our relationships and helps as we learn to commune with God. Key questions: How can I integrate all the parts of myself and function as a whole? How can seeing shame, guilt, and vulnerability transform the way I write my life’s narrative? How does God fit into my identity? Embrace self-exploration as you think deeply about your purpose at HSU and beyond.

    FYSM 1300 R Gateway: Half the Campus | MWF 11:00-11:50

    Dr. Meredith Stone and Mrs. Sierra Greenwood

    Did you know when women are empowered the quality of life in communities around the world is vastly improved? Come explore the Bible’s vision for women and their participation in communities local and global. Students of any gender will be invited to consider how half the population of the world and half of our campus participate in God’s vision for the Kingdom.

    FYSM 1300 S Gateway: Leadership in Sports | MWF 10:00-10:50

    Mr. John Neese

    Love ‘em or yell at ‘em, athletes significantly impact culture around the planet. Join HSU Athletic Director John Neese in studying Transactional vs. Transformational leadership through the examples of athletes and their influences on teams, companies, and society. Foundational texts for this course include Stephen Covey’s Principle Centered Leadership and 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, and 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 and beautiful chapters yet to be written in your life.

    *Students in the EDUC LLC: Sign up for this FYSM!

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


    Dr. Larry Fink

    Your camera phone—or digital camera-- and a love for reading, film, and creativity are all you’ll need to join Dr. Larry Fink for an intense exploration of the physiology, psychology, and spirituality of vision and creativity. You’ll be introduced to multiple styles of art photography the tools of photographic composition as you practice mindfulness through the appreciation and creation of art.

    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, and write about these and 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, and your classmates very well. It may be the most intellectual fun you’ve ever had! See you in Colloquium!

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