Welcome to First-Year Seminar!

First-Year Seminar is a unique, three-credit hour course designed speciflcally for new students and is part of our General Education program.

Seminar topics cover a broad range of issues and will include elements that engage students in our community of learners and teach successful student and life skills.

Photo of Jabara Hall

Upcoming First-Year Seminar Information Sessions

- 3 pm August 30, RSC 264

- 3 pm September 6, RSC 264

Instructor Resources

Courses will be taught by full-time tenured, tenure track, non-tenure track faculty and emeritus faculty.

Questions? Contact Us!

Campus Resources for Instructors

First Year Seminar Classes with sample syllabi

Solutions by Design: An Introduction to Design Thinking

Dotty Harpool - dorothy.harpool@wichita.edu - CRN: 14445

General education social and behavioral sciences introductory course. Immerses students in the design thinking experience by introducing them to the basic elements of design thinking, then guiding them through the process while addressing a real-world challenge. Students cycle through observing, brainstorming, synthesizing, prototyping, and implementing. Course explores using the design thinking philosophy to assist students in solving problems. Students from all disciplines are encouraged to enroll. Course includes diversity content.  

Superheroes Go To School

Daniel Bergman - Daniel.bergman@wichita.edu - CRN: 16727

This general education seminar course is designed for freshmen/first-year students. It includes examinations of common superhero attributes and narratives, specifically in school or educational settings. Content is applied to projects related to personal development, synergetic collaboration, service outreach, and strategic preparation for ongoing learning and growth.

Link To The Course Syllabus

Race and Ethnicity in Modern America

Aaron Rife - aaron.rife@wichita.edu - CRN: 16728

This general education seminar course will be an integral part of your general education at Wichita State University. You will explore a broad topic from a variety of different disciplinary perspectives. In this course you will become part of the community of academic learners whose responsibility it is to ask questions, explore and exchange ideas, and become effective critical thinkers. Additionally, you will have the opportunity to engage with your fellow students and WSU faculty and staff by participating in activities aimed to further connect you to WSU.

Link To The Course Syllabus

Creativity and Problem Solving

Jim Granada - Jim.granada@wichita.edu - CRN: 16729

General education social and behavioral sciences introductory course. Focuses on key understandings and elements related to the creative process and the relationship of creative thinking and problem solving. Develops an understanding of creative thinking processes to explore how those processes can impact change in themselves, in others and in career contexts. The course has an experiential focus and draws from creative strategies used in education, business, science and the arts. Content is applied to projects related to personal development, synergetic collaboration, service outreach and strategic preparation for ongoing learning and growth.  

Intro to Technology and Innovation

Samantha Corcoran - Samantha.corcoran@wichita.edu.     

Konstantinos Mykoniatis - konstantinos.mykoniatis@wichita.edu.

Jennifer Hadley - jennifer.hadley@wichita.edu.  

CRN: 13838, 14387, 14388, 14386, 14389, 15022

Uses instruction and hands-on projects to guide first-year freshmen through the design thinking process to develop innovative and creative problem-solving skills. The design thinking process is a methodology for innovation that combines creative and analytical approaches and requires collaboration across disciplines and diverse backgrounds. It focuses on empathy as a way to understand the user and design to meet their needs. Students work in multi-disciplinary teams throughout the course. In the final project, students apply design thinking to build a working prototype that addresses a specific identified need in the community, third-world country, or society at large. Course includes diversity content.

Link To The Course Syllabus

Innovations of WWII

Samantha Corcoran - Samantha.corcoran@wichita.edu - CRN: 16286

General education humanities introductory course. 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? Class examines many of the inventions that are still in use today — radar, penicillin, the precursors to Bluetooth and WiFi, and more — and their impact on modern society. Students learn about specific inventors, top secret laboratories, learn from failed inventions, and see Wichita’s contribution to the war effort. Helps students learn how they can use the same teamwork skills, courage and other traits to fight their own battles, whether personal or in a war yet to come. 

Music Really Does Make You Smarter

Jeb Wallace - Jeb.wallace@wichita.edu - CRN: 13839

This general education seminar course will be an integral part of your general education at Wichita State University.  You will explore a broad topic from a variety of different disciplinary perspectives.  In this course you will become part of the community of academic learners whose responsibility it is to ask questions, explore and exchange ideas, and become effective critical thinkers.  In addition, you will have the opportunity to engage with your fellow students and WSU faculty and staff by participating in activities aimed to further connect you to WSU.

Link To The Course Syllabus

Honors Creative Discovery

Elaine Bernstorf - Elaine.bernstorf@wichita.edu - CRN: 15449

This course is devoted to creative discovery by looking at creativity as both a topic and a process. The goal is to come together around a topic that currently defines an educational trend, but has multiple meanings across time, locations, disciplines, occupations, and peoples. We will discuss how each of us interprets the topic as we explore a lifestyle around creativity and discovery.

Link To The Course Syllabus 

Honors Discovering Humanity

Kimberly Engber - Kimberly.engber@wichita.edu - CRN: 15450

Devoted to discovering humanity by placing personal and fictional narratives about justice, anger and identity in dialogue with classic texts and historical contexts. Students begin and end the semester by writing a personal statement and, throughout the semester, engage in service learning, library research, and various strategies for academic success. Fulfills a general education introductory course in the humanities and an honors seminar requirement. Course includes diversity content. Prerequisite: honors student or permission of the Cohen Honors College. 

Cross-Cultural Communication

Becky Nordyke - Becky.nordyke@wichita.edu - CRN: 13841

This general education seminar course will be an integral part of your general education at Wichita State University.  You will explore Cross Cultural Communication from a variety of disciplinary perspectives.  In this course you will become part of the community of academic learners whose responsibility it is to ask questions, explore and exchange ideas, and become effective critical thinkers.  Additionally, you will have the opportunity to engage with your fellow students and WSU faculty and staff by participating in activities aimed to further connect you to WSU.

Link To The Course Syllabus

World Cultures in Popular Media

Jennifer Musaji - jennifer.musaji@wichita.edu - CRN: 13842

Examines ways in which various cultures are depicted in popular media and how stereotypical depictions may contrast with reality in areas such as East Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, and Europe.

Link To The Course Syllabus

Food and Culture in the Hispanic World

Rocio Del Aguila - Rocio.delaguila@wichita.edu - CRN: 16978

Analysis of 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 the dysphonic communities and the impact of immigrant food are studied. Course includes diversity content. 

Fundamentals of Diversity

Chinyere Okarfor - Chinyere.okafor@wichita.edu - CRN: 16899

General education humanities introductory course. Designed to facilitate students’ success particularly in understanding the basics of diversity – its construction, perception and possibilities. Students learn the meaning of diversity in terms of being different and special according to societal norms. Focuses on gender and race, but issues of class, sexuality and ability are also included in the study. Seminars/discussions of readings, videos, Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI) events, and group projects provide the basis for skills development and competence that help students to engage diversity within and outside the classroom. Active participation in class blogs and/or diversity events/sites is required. 

Contemporary Civil Rights Movements in the US 

Robin Henry - robin.henry@wichita.edu - CRN: 26961

The civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s helped create a rights revolution in the United States, but these movements’ drive toward equality and justice continues today. Course examines two contemporary civil rights issues that have become public policy flashpoints: mass incarceration and immigration. Approaches each issue by studying the historical backgrounds and the legislative, judicial and public policy developed around these movements, and considers how to apply this knowledge in class, around the university, and in the larger community. Through examining mass incarceration and immigration, students consider how contemporary movements address long-standing inequity in American society, conversations that will affect their lives going forward. In addition, students learn critical thinking and foundational communication skills that will help them navigate the university, their courses and their future endeavors. 

Introduction To Innovation and Design

Jennifer Hadley - jennifer.hadley@wichita.edu - CRN: 25255

Uses instruction and hands-on projects to guide first-year freshmen through the design thinking process to develop innovative and creative problem-solving skills. The design thinking process is a methodology for innovation that combines creative and analytical approaches and requires collaboration across disciplines and diverse backgrounds. It focuses on empathy as a way to understand the user and design to meet their needs. Students work in multi-disciplinary teams throughout the course. In the final project, students apply design thinking to build a working prototype that addresses a specific identified need in the community, third-world country, or society at large. Course includes diversity content.

Link To The Course Syllabus

Election

Neal Allen - neal.allen@wichita.edu - CRN:16414

Examines current presidential and congressional elections as examples of democracy and citizen engagement. Studies the election from the perspective of political science scholarship, and from the perspective of citizen involvement. Students learn how the contemporary election process functions, why it matters, and consider what the results mean for the United States and the broader world. Topic is the foundation for engagement with the learning environment of Wichita State University, the community in which we live, and the journey toward graduation and personal development. 

Powerful Narratives: Storytelling and Social Justice in the Hispanic World

Rocio Del Aguila

Fictional texts can generate awareness and empathy about contemporary problems. Course analyzes oppressive situations portrayed in literature, media and the arts from Colonial times to present. Includes texts from at least 10 Hispanic countries to give the reader a variety of cultural information. Course includes diversity content.

Music As the Key to My Success

David Hunsicker - CRN:14695

Combines performance in one of WSU's music ensembles (Symphony Orchestra, Symphonic Wind Ensemble, Concert Band, Jazz Arts, Concert Chorale, A Capella Choir, Madrigal Singers or Women's Glee Club) with classroom components that help leverage the student's music experiences into future success in their chosen field. Freshmen explore best practicing and studying techniques, focus and time management, the connections between history and art, teamwork, stage presence, and developing a personal brand. 

Solving Global Problems

Carolyn Shaw -

Michael Hall - 

In this course we will explore three global problems that do not have simple solutions:  Economic Development, Environmental Sustainability, and Security.  We will examine the challenging issues surrounding these topics, exploring contradictions, different national perspectives, and different policies that have been adopted historically.  Students will then engage the materials experientially in problem solving groups and through role playing, attempting to find effective solutions and evaluating various proposed solutions. 

Link to Course Syllabus