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?

Michael Monhollon

Contact Mike Monhollon, Associate Provost, with any questions:

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 should pay attention to potential scheduling conflicts with courses required by their major.

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 2021 FYSM 1300 Gateway Courses

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

Photo of Steven J. RosscoeDr. Steven Rosscoe

Here there be ghosts. And UFO’s. And cryptids. Are they myth or science? Examine the science — and pseudoscience — behind the unexplained mysteries that pervade American culture.

MWF 9-9:50 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.

T/Th 5-6:15 p.m.

Ms. Anne Post

When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place . . . The Psalmist said it. Have you done it? Practice seeing God’s handiwork in the world around you, and discover a sense of peace as the Creator of all speaks to you in the voice of nature.

MWF 9-9:50 a.m.

Rich Traylor Professor of History at the Cynthia Ann Parker College of Liberal ArtsDr. 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.

MWF 9-9:50 a.m.

Tiffany StottsMs. 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.

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.

T/Th 11:55 a.m. – 1:10 p.m.

Dr. Jemima Ingle

Are science and religion opposed? What does it mean to be a good person? A good person of faith?  A good scientist? We will examine the intersections of faith and science as we explore basic ethical theories and apply these to current scientific questions, such as bioengineering and energy production.

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 9-9:50 a.m.

Mr. David Christianson

Before you learn what to think, you need to learn how to think. The more you want to learn, the more you need to learn how to learn. Love leads to knowledge. All important truths, even if seemingly unrelated. HSU’s instructional designer will help you put it all together.

MW 1-2:15 p.m.

Myles LoflandMr. Myles Lofland

Wonder Woman, Superman … follow the hero’s journey, and discover your own superpower on the way. Stock your utility belt, know your enemy, and chart your path to a super career.

MWF 9-9:50 a.m.

John NeeseDr. John Neese

Love ’em or yell at ’em, athletes (and the sports they play) significantly impact culture around the planet. Join HSU Athletic Director John Neese in this seminar to study transformational leadership through the examples of athletes & their influences on teams, companies, & society.

MWF 9-9:50 a.m.

PJ MartinezMr. P.J. Martinez

TED Talks for self-improvement? Maybe so. Inspirational podcasts can be a guide to success in college and in life. And you will find that you have something to share in creating a TED Talk of your own.


Jared Reynolds-Assistant Professor in Business at the Kelley College of BusinessMr. Jared Reynolds

A job is more than a paycheck, but the paycheck matters. How can the institution that writes your paycheck function more effectively, expanding your opportunities for advancement, greater rewards, and more personal satisfaction? Explore the 10 Roads to Riches to find out.

MWF 11-11:50 a.m.

Mary BurkeMs. 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.

MWF 9-9:50 a.m.

Jagger GranMr. Jagger Gran

A course centered around story-telling and a role-playing game? What could be better! Examine the elements of story — narrative, conflict, relationships, settings, climaxes, and character development. Play D&D in small groups, developing your game character as the protagonist in your own story. Apply what you’ve learned as you develop your real character for the story we call life.

T/Th 8:00 – 9:15 a.m.

Carol KruegerMs. Carol Krueger

Do you know the four core dynamics of creativity? Can you apply your creativity to leadership and decision-making? Learn how practicing creativity can make you a confident, successful college student prepared for the challenges of life beyond “The 40 Acres.”

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

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

Tom Copeland- Professor of Psychology and Counseling at the Cynthia Ann Parker CollegeDr. 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!