First-Year Seminars

First-Year Seminars at Hardin-Simmons University, required of each first-year student in the Fall semester, introduce students to the Christian liberal arts education considered the hallmark of HSU: a classroom where faith and learning intersect, where students practice creating questions and investigating answers, where academic and social connections are made (many of which will last throughout college, if not a lifetime), and where students strengthen their understanding of themselves and their relationships to others.

While the topics may sound light, the content packs a punch, so be prepared for heavy reading and writing as well as group work as a part of this course. We call this class FYSM: Gateway because faculty designed the course as an academic gateway into HSU’s Foundational Curriculum Journey, our general education experience centered on three fundamental questions: Who am I? Who are You (God)? What about my Neighbor?

Contact Dr. Laura Pogue, Dean of General Education with any questions:, phone 325-670-1366

Other essential components of HSU’s FYSM: Gateway are Clifton StrengthsFinder, exploring HSU History, taking part in campus-wide Community Coffee Hour, and creating an entire college course plan. Students are free to choose the topic/section of their FYSMs, but those in Living Learning Communities, including Honors, should pay special attention to the section assigned to their LLC, and everyone should pay attention to potential major-required course scheduling conflicts.

Faculty carefully designed this course, and each instructor must apply and be approved by a committee of peers before being allowed to teach each Fall. Also, each course has an individual Library faculty member assigned as a point of contact for students in their research, and each course has a Year-Round Mentor who not only attends each class meeting but helps connect and support students both in and out of the classroom and continues this role through the Spring semester.

Your FYSM will also be your Stampede Week Group, and you can expect to hear from your instructor even before you arrive on campus. You can review all of our FYSM sections here for this Fall.

FALL 2020 FYSM 1300 Gateway Courses

MWF 9-9:50 a.m.
MWF 10-10:50 a.m.

Dr. Lindsay Boynton

Do you dream of owning or running a business one day? It’s totally possible! Entrepreneurs embody a unique spirit, a spirit that must be cultivated. This seminar helps connect you with other incoming students also interested in this dream and helps you consider what it will take to successfully complete your college education on the road to fulfilling this dream. Small business owner Lindsay Boynton will help you refine your ideas and grow that entrepreneurial mentality of leadership and grit, as well as introduce you to concepts like marketing, finance, business planning, and more.

MWF 9-9:50 a.m.

MWF 10-10:50 a.m.

Ms. Carol Krueger

Whether you’re building a symphony or an organization, styling a menu or designing a classroom, creativity and the decisions that come with it are God-given pieces of who we are. The World Economic Forum identifies creativity and decision making as two of the top ten keys for success in industry’s current digital revolution.  In this section of Gateway, define, develop, and experience both your own creative potential and that of others.

MWF 9-9:50 a.m.

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 HSU History professor Dr. Rich Traylor in a semester-long conversation that will prompt some deep thinking, Disney-style.

T/TH 10:30-11:45 a.m.

Jeremy R Rhodes-Assistant Professor of Sociology at the Cynthia Ann Parker College of Liberal ArtsDr. Jeremy Rhodes

Begin to shape your course toward the Good, the Beautiful, and the Just as you examine James B. Simmons’ life-altering questions: What is the greatest thought to occupy your mind? What is your duty toward fulfilling it?

Meridian Fellows! This is your First-Year Seminar! Be sure to register for FYSM-F as a part of your Meridian Fellows Program.

MW 5-6:15 p.m.                               

Mary Burke-HSU Special Collections Manager

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.

MW 1-2:15 p.m.

Susan Pigott-Professor of Old Testament and Hebrew at the Logsdon School of TheologyDr. 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.

MWF 9-9:50 a.m.                     

Dr. Dee Ann Shelton

The wonderful world of Lego© has generated incredible creativity in generations of young people! Dr. Dee Ann Shelton, assistant professor of Communication Sciences and Disorders, uses the concepts behind this cultural phenomenon to explore your ability to create, exploring new ways to accomplish goals, and inspiring others on our journeys through life. Come strengthen these areas of your life and, along the way, strengthen your entire educational experience.

MWF 9-9:50 a.m.

Kelvin J Kelley-Associate Professor of Theology at the Logsdon School of TheologyDr. Kelvin Kelley

Join associate professor of Theology Dr, Kelvin Kelley to chronologically explore and examine significant American historical events through the lens of the marginalized: Native Americans, Black Americans, Asian Americans, and Female Americans. In addition to these views, the course will also take a broader look at the implications of militarism, racism, sexism, socialism, classism, etc., as you enhance your ability to authentically experience other’s humanity—N2MeC!

MWF 9-9:50 a.m.

Laura L Pogue-Dean, General Education Studies at the Cynthia Ann Parker College of Liberal ArtsDr. 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.

T/TH 8-9:15 a.m.

Dr. Bertie Kingore-Professor and Education InnovatorDr. Joanne Roberts

What is your family story? Come explore the compelling life stories of resilient people and families across the U.S. who have faced the adversity of prejudice and discrimination. Dr. Joanne Roberts, chair of HSU’s Sociology Department, shares her passions for families and the role of cultural experiences in family life in her Gateway section while helping students connect to each other and to themselves. A powerful introduction to your college experience, this course culminates in students creating their own families’ narratives.

*Only for fully-online, non-campus resident students*

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 online class.

T/TH 10:30-11:45 a.m.

Bryan D Yorton-Associate Professor at the Cynthia Ann Parker College of Liberal ArtsDr. 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.

MWF 9-9:50 a.m.

Becky Saterbak-Assistant Professor of Communication Sciences and DisordersMs. Becky Saterbak

Do you have what it takes to become a professional healthcare provider?  You and your classmates will explore various healthcare fields by meeting with and talking to mentors in the areas of medicine and the allied health sciences.  Sharpen your communication skills through mock interviews and networking sessions.  Build your conflict resolution skills by learning important verbal and nonverbal communication strategies.  Participate in interactive learning experiences that teach the importance of working on a team.  Join us as we explore the concept of ethics as it relates to decision making in health care.  Students will develop community with other like-minded HSU co-eds as they spend time learning necessary skills to be successful in the exciting healthcare field.

MWF 9:00-9:50 a.m.

Holly Edwards HSUMrs. 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.

T/TH 10:30-11:45 a.m.

John A. Hill-Professor of Economics at the Kelley College of BusinessDr. John Hill

The 17th-century phrase “A man’s home is his castle” underscores the idealized role real estate occupies in our modern economy while suggesting that our access to property and wealth has evolved across time. Professor of Economics Dr. John Hill will draw from his research in urban & regional economics, experience in land use as an Abilene city councilman, and co-ownership of the real estate brokerage Barnett & Hill to develop a hands-on understanding of the role of real estate plays in wealth creation.

MWF 9-9:50 a.m.

Dr. 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.

MWF 9-9:50 a.m.

Mrs. Tiffany Stotts

Worship isn’t just about music! Learning to know and worship God is a lifelong journey requiring our whole selves. Join us as we challenge ourselves into a deeper understanding of who God is, who we are as individuals in relation to God, and who we are as a community of worshippers. Through study, discussion, group projects, and creativity, we’ll try and re-frame the conversation about what living the life of worship looks like in today’s world.

A = MW 1-2:15 p.m.

B = T/TH 10:30-11:45 a.m.

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!