Engaging Minds, Transforming Lives

First-Year Seminar

The First-Year Seminar (FYS) at Southwestern University helps you begin to practice an education that arcs over your SU experience and across the curriculum. That education connects the questions and perspectives you encounter as well as the skills you develop to each other and to the world. Taken during your first semester as a two-credit graded course, FYS is a concurrent rather than preliminary experience. It focuses on topics that help you think about what you are learning in your other classes as well as your whole education. It is your first exposure to Paideia—Southwestern’s distinctive interdisciplinary approach to integrating curricular and co-curricular experiences.

As you read the FYS summaries, you will discover that the topics are engaging and sometimes even 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.

 As you consider your FYS choices, you will also want to decide if you are interested in a coed or a single-gender residence hall environment. In both cases, you will be living with or in close proximity to your FYS classmates which means your residence hall environment may become a hub for seminar conversations and activities.

You may indicate your five FYS preferences by completing the “First-Year Student Housing Request & First-Year Seminar (FYS) Preferences” in Webadvisor, through the Southwestern Portal - MySouthwestern.

Questions related to your First-Year Seminar assignment should be directed to 512.863.1567.