fb First-Year Seminar for Students

Make the Most of Your First Year

Wichita State's First-Year Seminar offers students unique, small classes taught by fantastic faculty and instructors from across the university.

A First-Year Seminar lets you take a class in a specialized topic, taught by an expert in the field, while also learning about campus resources to help you have a more successful experience at WSU. 

Beginning in Fall of 2021, all new-to-university students are required to take an FYS class.*  But no worries, we have something to fit your interest!


Currently in FYS...

Dr. Provines visiting Dan Close's class

Mental Health and Serious Swag

Dr. Jessica Provines visits Dan Close's FYS to give advice to new students and give out t-shirts, magnets, and face masks.
WWII class meet vet

World War II veteran Richard Martin visits Sam Corcoran's FYS on technologies created during the 1930s and 40s.

Class outside

Socially Distanced FYS

Dr. Carolyn Shaw's students (Me and My Place in the World) safely meet outside on the campus lawn!
zoom class

FYS on Zoom

Dr. Allen (FYS Elections) visits Dr. Rife's FYS class (Race and Ethnicity) on November 2 to answer questions about the 2020 election.
 First-Year Seminar Learning Objectives: 
General Education Outcomes
  • Have acquired knowledge in the arts, humanities, and natural and social sciences
  • Think critically and independently
  • Write and speak effectively
  • Employ analytical reasoning and problem solving techniques
Student Success Outcomes
  • Understand the expectations of higher education and how they differ from secondary education
  • Develop skills and habits that promote deep learning and long-term retention of knowledge
  • Develop life and study skills in areas including time management, note taking, test taking, and personal finance
  • Capitalize on university resources and extracurricular experiences designed to promote your success
 Some FYS Classes for Fall 2021:
WSUA 102AB: Engineering Politics: Partisan Redistricting in American Politics, Neal Allen (Political Science)
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences
  • This class is centered on how elections are structured in the United States, with an emphasis on legislative districting and its effect on representation of majorities and minorities in America.  You will learn how geographical analysis software is used to draw districts and you will get to draw your own districts for US and Kansas elections.
WSUA 102AD: Plugging Into Politics, Alexandra Middlewood
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences
  • We will look at ideas of trust in society and government—democracy and civic volunteerism.  This class explores why political engagement has declined over time and how to increase engagement.  Class will include guest speakers and campus activities.
WSUA 102C: Powerful Narratives: Storytelling and Social Justice, Julie Henderson (Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures) 
  • Fine Arts and Humanities
  • This class looks at oppression told in literature, media, and the arts from Colonial times to present day.  We will look at literature and art from various Hispanic countries as part of our exploration.
WSUA 102F: Cooking Communities: Food and Culture in the Hispanic World, Rocio del Aguila (Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures)
  • Fine Arts and Humanities
  • We analyze food and food representation as potential national symbols and their cultural meaning. Examples of the importance of Hispanic and Latino foods and culinary traditions through the years with particular attention to local communities and the impact of immigrant food. 
WSUA 102J: Fundamentals of Diversity, Chinyere Okafor (Women's Studies)
  • Fine Arts and Humanities
  • Learn how to think outside the box and engage people from different backgrounds.
WSUA 102M: History of Rock and Roll, Jeff Hayton (History)
  • Fine Arts and Humanities
  • We will look at the creation and change of rock'n'roll in the Anglo-American world.  We will also focus on how we can use popular music to investigate historical trends and developments.
WSUA 102P: Imagining Climate Change, Mary Waters (English)
  • Fine Arts and Humanities
  • We will consider how imaginative literature might help inform us about a scientific and social topic like climate change, engaging us in debate about it and promoting an ethic of climate change awareness based on critical reflection and shared responsibility.
WSUA 102Q: Criminalistic Methods: What Would Sherlock Holmes Do?, David Klamm (Forensic Science, Criminal Justice)
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences
  • Through the use of the scientific method--which is often used in forensic science and criminal investigations—we will examine how to apply these elements in creative thinking and resourceful problem-solving skills. Students will also get to practice Criminology.
WSUA 102R: Exploring WSU in Your Photos and Words, Dan Close (Communications)
  • Fine Arts and Humanities
  • You will explore much of what WSU has to offer and document your experiences using photographs and words.  You will tell about your personal story, while learning about the helpful people, places, and policies for thriving in college.
WSUA 102S: On Humor, Susan Castro (Philosophy)
  • Fine Arts and Humanities
  • We'll philosophize all the funny out of humor, muck into the politics of the absurd, and get down to some funny business.  Is humor quintessentially human? Is your bank balance a joke? Does laughing at fart jokes demonstrate poor character?  We'll ask all these questions and more, but answer none!
WSUA 102U: Building a Sustainable Planet, Toni Jackman (Geology)
  • Math and Natural Sciences
  • We'll look at current environmental issues and controversies as well as envisioning what it would take to "build" a sustainable planet.
WSUA 102V: Creation, the Earth, and the Future, Rannfrid Thelle (History and Religious Studies)
  • Fine Arts and Humanities
  • This class explores the “big questions” of creation, which we will look at through sacred stories, myths, and cultural traditions. The class explores human interaction with nature, and we will explore questions on life, death, nature, fears, and hopes.
WSUA 102W: Chemistry, Environment and the Common Good, Katie Mitchell-Koch (Chemistry)
  • Math and Natural Sciences
  • We'll examine the chemistry underlying the greenhouse effect, the carbon cycle on land and in the ocean, water purification, electricity generation, and technologies combatting pollution and climate change.  Students are asked to think about how public policy and technology can be used to mitigate or exacerbate environmental problems.
WSUA 102Y: The Sociology of Harry Potter, Jennifer Pearson (Sociology)
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences
  • We will consider what a sociological view of the Wizarding World can teach us about our own culture.  Exploring the role of social interactions, institutions, and inequalities in the lives of Harry and other characters provides the basis for cultivating a sociological imagination that helps us better understand our own lives and those around us.
WSUD 102A: Superheroes Go to School, Daniel Bergman (Education)
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences
  • Examinations common superhero attributes and narratives, specifically in school or educational settings. Projects are related to personal development and preparation for ongoing learning and growth.
WSUD 102B: Race and Ethnicity in American Society, Aaron Rife and Elizabeth Heilman (Education)
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences
  • What is race or ethnicity—what do those things even mean? Why does it matter today, and why do people get so upset?  We will engage with scholarship and popular debates on race, ethnicity, racism, and ethnocentrism, all in our modern lives.  And we’ll do it with a certain amount of joy and fun, promise.
WSUD 102C: Creativity and Problem Solving, Jim Granada (Education)
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences
  • Enroll in this FYS course to expand your use of creative thinking to solve problems and to nurture the creative being inside you. Have fun tapping your creative potential.
WSUE 102A: Introduction to Technology and Innovation, Nathan Smith, Hadley Perkins, Samantha Corcoran (Engineering Technology)
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences
  • Learn through hands-on projects about design thinking to learn creative problem-solving skills.  You will be part of a multi-disciplinary team throughout the course and you will have the opportunity to build a working prototype.
WSUE 102B: Innovations of WWII, Samantha Corcoran (Engineering Technology)
  • Fine Arts and Humanities
  • The women and men of WWII banded together to create one of the biggest innovation/invention booms of our time, but how did they pull it off? Students learn about specific inventors, top secret laboratories, learn from failed inventions, and see Wichita’s contribution to the war effort.
WSUE 102C: Community Connection: Teamwork Makes the Dream Work, Cindi Mason (Engineering)
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences
  • Take part in hands-on project to practice the design thinking process, a value-creation mindset, and teamwork skills.  Work in a collaborative team, assess economic and societal impact, and participate in a formal project presentation.
WSUF 102A:  Music Really Does Make You Smarter, Jeb Wallace (Music)
  • Fine Arts and Humanities
  • Provides students with an opportunity to form a current music advocacy philosophy while developing leadership skills for a variety of music activities and scenarios.
WSUF 102C: Seminar in Creativity and Play: Yes, Really!
  • Fine Arts and Humanities
  • This course helps you better understand and appreciate the process of Creativity and the value of Play. You will learn techniques for improving the flexibility and originality in your thinking through hands-on activities and, if you do it right, you should have fun.
WSUF 102D: Every Body is Good!
  • Fine Arts and Humanities
  • In light of the fact that bodies get labelled as "good" and "bad," we will look at ideas of Capitalism, consumption, the Protestant work ethic, the idea of the body as a temple, the medical industry, diet and wellness movements, and more.  We will explore all these ideas with the premise that every body is "good"!
WSUH 102B: Leadership and Self Discovery, Kennedy Rogers and Peter Cohen (Student Success, Public Health)
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences
  • We will explore personal leadership and your role in your community and university. You will learn about your strengths, areas to develop, and work with others in projects to improve your immediate surroundings.
WSUN 102E: Me and My Place in the World, Carolyn Shaw (Political Science, Academic Affairs)
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences
  • Explore your own roots and the experiences that have shaped who you are today. Engage with others who have different stories from your own and will examine how you can collaboratively make a difference locally and globally on issues that are important to you.
WSUN 102F: Facts, Opinions and Why They Both Matter, Keith Pickus (History and Honors)
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences
  • We will examine the factors that influence the formation of one's "opinions" and the ways in which "facts" can be used to support them.  You will strengthen your ability to empathize with people who hold opinions different than your own and engage in substantive, informed and respectful discussions about these differences.

*As a member of Kansas Public Institutions of Higher Learning, Wichita State University is dedicated to helping students graduate within four years while still maintaining rigorous career preparation and academic standards.  Therefore, students who have earned an Associate Degree or 30 credit hours prior to high school graduation and before starting classes at WSU as a degree-bound student, may be exempt from taking a First-Year Seminar course.