First-Year Seminar

Transition to college-level learning and living with the University Of Saint Joseph’s First-Year Seminar.

Make new friends while you’re introduced to college life during this engaging and challenging course.

Current Courses FAQs Past Course Examples

Each Seminar:

  • Addresses the academic, social, and emotional challenges of the first-year experience
  • Promotes development of college-level critical thinking, reading, and writing skills
  • Introduces you to services available at the University
  • Encourages involvement in University activities
  • Provides small classes and a supportive environment
  • Promotes student and faculty discussion and interaction, both inside and outside of class
FYS Honors Program

Your class will also be assigned a Peer Mentor, an upper-class student who will be your link to USJ faculty, staff, administration, and other students. Together, you’ll ensure your first year at USJ is a successful one.

Contact Jennifer Cote, Ph.D., [email protected], to learn more.


First-Year Seminar Courses — Fall 2020

Pathways to Peace: The Approaches of Women Leaders
Angela Anderson, Ph.D.
TuTh, 8:00 a.m.
INTD 100.01

Triage: Our Health Care System and Health Disparities
Betsy Francis-Connolly, Ph.D.
TuTh, 8:00 a.m.
INTD 100.02

“Witchcraft and Sorceries:” Fears and Phantoms in Colonial America
Jennifer Cote, Ph.D.
TuTh, 9:30-10:45 a.m.
INTD 100.03

Going Hungry in America: Hartford and Beyond
Katie Thibault, Ph.D.
TuTh, 3:30-4:45 p.m.
INTD 100.05

The Science of Behavior: How to use the principles of applied behavior analysis to ease your transition to college
Charlotte Mann, Ph.D.
MWF, 10-10:50 a.m.
INTD 100.06

Understanding Schooling through our Educational Autobiography
Madeline Perez, Ph.D.
TuTh, 9:30-10:45 a.m.
INTD 100.07

Rebel, Rebel: The Power of Non-Violent Direct Action as a Means to Fight for Equal Rights
Prof. Christina Flood
MWF, 2:00-2:50 p.m.
INTD 100.08

The Global Politics of Childbearing & Reproduction
Heather Evans, Ph.D.
MW, 11:00 a.m.-12:15 p.m.
INTD 100.09

Yoga and its Eight Limbs: A Pathway to Connection
Rachel Payne, Ph.D.
MW, 1:00–2:15 p.m.
INTD 100.10
MW, 3:00-4:15 p.m.
INTD 100.12

Shall We Dance? The Lead and Follow in Interfaith Dialogue
Prof. Lynette Colon
MW, 2:00–3:15 p.m.
INTD 100.11


First-Year Seminar FAQs

What is First-Year Seminar (FYS)?

FYS is a special course for first-semester students designed to help you transition to the academic and social aspects of college life. Students choose from a series of diverse and appealing topics taught by faculty and staff from various divisions. It provides an exciting, challenging, educational experience in a supportive environment.

Why do I have to take it?

Research shows that First-Year Seminars are key to student success. They help you learn good study habits, improve your academic performance, make friends, and get involved in college life.

How big are the classes?

Small — an average class has 15-20 students. This allows you to get to know your professor, peer mentor, and classmates really well. Together, you’ll form a great support network.

What is the role of the Peer Mentors?

Peer Mentors, upper-class students assigned to each FYS class, will be your link to other campus constituencies (faculty, staff, administration, other students, etc.), both inside and outside of class.

Who teaches the FYS course?

Faculty from across the five academic divisions and staff from the Center for Academic Excellence and Student Affairs teach the courses. Each instructor is trained in FYS teaching strategies and committed to your success.

Do I have a choice of seminar topic?

Yes. You’ll receive a list of FYS course topics during the spring before your first year, and you’ll choose your course during summer Orientation. We make every effort to ensure you get one of your top choices.

Will my FYS course relate to my major?

It may, but one of the purposes of FYS is to expose you to topics outside of your major field. It gives you the opportunity to study a topic of personal interest with an instructor who is passionate about that topic.

Do all FYS classes have the same assignments and workload?

Each FYS seminar is an individual experience, although there are some commonalities among sections. All sections:

  • Require you to think critically
  • Address time management, diversity, conflict management, and adjustment to college life
  • Expose you to helpful campus resources
  • Require you to attend campus events
  • Include a final project instead of exam

Examples of First-Year Seminar Courses Held in the Past

All first-year students are required to register for a course, so come to orientation/registration with choices you are interested in.

“The Power of Persuasion: How It Affects You”
Instructor: Kristin Cistulli, Ph.D.

“Life On Mars? Understanding Humanity through an Exploration of Pop Music, Science Fiction, and Science Reality in the Context of the Red Planet”
Instructor: Derek Dube, Ph.D.

“That’s Entertainment?!”
Instructor: Mark Zelinsky, Ph.D.

“It’s ALIIIVE!: New England Myths and Monsters”
Instructor: Jen Cote, Ph.D.

“Modern China”
Instructor: Hong Zhou, Ph.D.

“Behaviorism: Learning to Change What you want to Change”
Instructor: John Molteni, Ph.D.

“Meditation and Mindfulness”
Instructor: Nancy Billias, Ph.D.

“What are Global Health Disparities?”
Instructors: Janet Knecht, Ph.D. and Sister Beth Fischer

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