Marian University students complete a First-Year Seminar course

FYS 110: First-Year Seminar

As a new student, you will complete a three-credit course titled FYS 110: First-Year Seminar. This gateway course is intended to help you develop critical thinking, information literacy, cultural awareness, collaborative learning, and other important skills that will serve you well throughout your college experience.

Spring 2021 Courses

FYS 110 (MM01): Making an Impact: Your Marian Journey

Dr. Holly Gastineau-Grimes
Tuesday & Thursday: ​9:30-10:45 a.m. or 11:00 a.m.-12:15 p.m.

  • The Journey is essential to the dream.” Your Marian journey begins today as you explore who you are, who you want to become as a college student, and who you want to be in the future. We’ll start off the semester exploring what led you to Marian, what it means to be a college student, and how you connect with and can embrace your new community. We will then explore the lineage and roots of the university, and consider how we respect and understand others with diverse backgrounds and perspectives. Finally, an integral part of being a Marian University student is learning how to build the skills to make an impact in your chosen field. Being able to make an impact goes beyond the textbook example of a leader and digs deeper into values, critical thinking, and putting ideas into action. You will have an opportunity to practice the skills essential for college success and embark on a path to self discovery through a hands-on community project. Marian Knights are full of school spirit and intellectual curiosity, embody the Franciscan values, and want to help make the world a better place. What will your legacy be?

    Fall 2020 Courses

    Before you arrive on campus for SOAR, please review and select the top five seminar courses that most interest you. 

    FYS 110 (MM01): Where Are You Eating?

    Dr. Gay Lynn Crossley, Associate Professor of English
    Monday and Wednesday: 8:30-9:45 a.m.

    • What comes to mind when you hear “Italian food?” Spaghetti and meat sauce? Pizza? Do you imagine red sauces and melted cheese? Stop and consider, though, that tomatoes reach Italy only after the Spanish arrived in Mexico—and still it would take two hundred years before the tomato really took hold in Europe. In FYS 110, you will get to celebrate the food and recipes of your home by learning their histories and origins. You will record personal histories of this food through interviews with the people who introduced it to you. You will discover the origins of recipes that seem rooted in personal and cultural identity, and you will search for ways to connect your personal food experiences with people from other places and times. 

    FYS 110 (MM03): Values: They’re Everywhere

    Dr. Jodie Freeland, PhD, RN-CNE, Assistant Professor, Department of Exercise and Sports Science
    Monday and Wednesday: 8:30-9:45 a.m.

    • This is a theme-based course focusing on inquiry and exchange, intellectual skill development, and becoming a Marian Knight. This course explores how the four Franciscan core values are used in everyday life, the life of St. Francis, the history of the Sisters of Oldenburg, and the establishment of Marian University. You will complete an in-depth study by analyzing how these values can be found in popular movies, TV shows, music, social media, student activities, and other aspects of day-to-day living. We will also explore values contained in the common reader and the countries within the book. Students of all faiths (including those with undetermined faiths) are encouraged to enroll in this course and connect the values to their major’s mission and other portions of their life as a Marian student.  

    FYS 110 (MM05): Where the Crossroads Meet: Justice Grounded in Faith

    Donna Proctor, Assistant Professor of Theology
    Monday and Wednesday: 8:30-9:45 a.m.        

    • This course will explore the concept of faith informing justice and reflect on how a commitment to peace and justice might be an important aspect of one’s life work.  To facilitate this, we will look at the principles of Catholic social teaching and read about leaders of faith who immersed themselves in the suffering of marginalized, poor and voiceless persons and found that work to end in a quest for justice. Our freshman reader, Where Am I Wearing?, will allow us to discover the courageous lives of garment workers as they face many injustices in their work. We will then look at leaders like Dorothy Day, Oscar Romero, and Martin Luther King, who found themselves in the thick of moral quicksand which challenged, pushed and deepened their faith. Through careful reading, compelling films, field trips, garment work and engaged discussion, students will be invited to explore the connection between faith and justice.

    FYS 110 (MM06): Forensic Linguistics: Puzzles, Mysteries, and Profiles through Language

    Kyle Robison, Adjunct English Faculty
    Monday and Wednesday: 8:30-9:45 a.m. 

    • Think word mysteries. This course explores language and its message, both written and spoken relevant to forming opinions and purpose. This examination, popularized by crime-solving television series, actually examines different genres of text, including our own written works. Using a “solve a mystery” format, the course includes observing speech patterns, evaluating vocabulary, conducting authorship debates, discussing plagiarism issues, applying stylistic characteristics and determining meaning through observation. As a problem-based course, students will follow clues in connotation, phonetics, phonology and morphology with a brief look at slang and idio-language such as texting and symbol interpretation. This tool is not just for linguists and writers because of growing interest in information. It is popular with editors, psychologists, criminologists, publishers and corporations. Our words reveal who we are.

    FYS 110 (MM07): The Great Lakes Region and the Columbian Exchange: Forming a New World Out of Diversity

    Dr. Michael Brewster-Wray, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Anthropology
    Monday and Wednesday, 2-3:15 p.m.

    • We will explore how changes and exchanges in our world can bring new people and materials as well as new identities, new relationships and new communities into our lives. To understand this process we will examine the relationships among and within Native American communities and European settlers in the North-Eastern woodlands during the 1600-1700s as they work out just what they want and don’t want from each other.

    FYS 110 (MM08): Why We Argue

    Dr. Domenic D’Ettore, Associate Professor of Philosophy
    Monday and Wednesday, 2-3:15 p.m.

    • “Humans at times cannot flourish without arguing with others and learning from them about human flourishing.”—Alasdair MacIntyre

      Argument is not just about getting people to agree with you. Argument is about developing and preserving your own health as a thinker. It is about finding out why you believe what you believe, and why others believe what they believe. It is working together to articulate for yourself and others the best reasons you can find for thinking and acting the way you do. This seminar explores the practice of argument in our lives, especially our lives as members of a political community where we encounter disagreement on big questions and practical solutions. Topics covered in the course include the methods of and obstacles to critical thinking, the virtues and vices of healthy vs. unhealthy argument and standards for evaluating competing worldviews.

    FYS 110 (MM09): Urban Issues

    Dr. Mark Latta, Assistant Professor of English and Director of the Marian University Writing Center
    Monday and Wednesday, 2-3:15 p.m.

    • This course explores a range of urban social issues while utilizing active learning, community engaged learning, and service learning strategies. Specifically, we’ll examine the realities and pitfalls of living within contested spaces, questioning common understandings of power and privilege, exploring how narratives of urban spaces shape perceptions of community, and using real-world experiences as the basis for developing a more nuanced and critical understanding of urban issues. This class will be divided into a number of specific lenses or themes, each examining a particular capacity of urbanism. To explore these areas as fully as possible within the short time we have, this class will center on experiential and place-based learning, guest speakers, and student-led course activities. As we move throughout this course, we hope to return to three central questions: (1) What does this mean for me and those who live in Indy?, (2) Whose story is being told and whose story is missing?, and (3) In what ways am I implicated? We hope this course will encourage you to think deeply and critically about systemic inequalities, our own biases, and what it means to be “a citizen of no mean city.”

    ​FYS 110 (MM10): The Amazing Human Race

    Michelle Meer, MSW, Assistant Professor of Social Work, Director of Social Work
    Monday and Wednesday, 2-3:15 p.m.

    • The adventure begins each week with the discovery of clues (similar to the TV show “The Amazing Race”) and reading Kelsey Timmerman’s Where Am I Wearing? leading students on an exploration of learning about populations in the community. Along the journey clues, guest speakers, field trips, readings and other experiences students will find a deeper understanding of individuals and groups who may be at risk or marginalized. These connections will allow students to learn more about how a community responds to those in need through outreach programs, shelters, food pantries, social service programs, etc.  Marian’s Franciscan values are shared along the journey to as we see the resilience and strength in our amazing human race.      

    FYS 110 (MM11): Where Am I Wearing and Where Am I Going?

    Milena Mileva-Sparks, Instructor in the Writing Center
    Monday and Wednesday, 2-3:15 p.m.

    • As you embark on a new adventure in your life by entering college and taking new risks by exploring the world as a scholar, responsible citizen, and steward of the faith, you will engage in exploration of your own values and strengths through discussions stemming from reading Kelsey Timmerman’s Where Am I Wearing?  During class time, field trips, and service learning projects, you will explore and reflect on our ever-changing world, city, and campus community. We will address the pros and cons of going global and growing local. 

    FYS 110 (MM12): Outdoor Immersion

    Dr. Dave Benson, Director of the Nina Mason Pulliam EcoLab, Professor of Biology
    Stephanie Schuck, Outdoor Education and Restoration Coordinator of the EcoLab
    Tuesday and Thursday, 2-3:15 p.m.

    • In today’s society, we are plugged in now more than ever. Between our phones, computers, tablets, televisions, and video games, it is hard to come up for air. While all of these things can enhance our lives, improve many aspects of it, and provide entertainment, we are also becoming more detached from our natural world. In this course, we will explore how the natural environment affects us, how being connected with nature and the outdoors can improve our well-being and focus in everyday life, why it is so important to protect and restore what is left of our natural areas, and how we can gain a healthy balance between our growing use of technology and our ability to connect to and appreciate the natural world. We will discuss concepts of land management and preservation, natural resources and how their consumption affects world politics, the natural history of Indiana and the Nina Mason Pulliam EcoLab, and how we can make a positive impact towards creating and maintaining a sustainable culture. All classes will be held OUTDOORS (rain or shine) in the the EcoLab's outdoor classroom. We will use the beautiful surroundings of the EcoLab to inspire learning and critical thinking about our natural world and to gain a better understanding of the world around us.

    FYS 110 (MM13): A World on My T-Shirt: Reading Popular Culture One Shirt at a Time

    Dr. Betty Bruther, Assistant Professor of History
    Tuesday and Thursday, 11-12:15 p.m.

    • When you see a T-shirt on someone, what do you think? Most of you may see the color of the shirt first, then any pictures or sayings. You may laugh at, get angry at, or agree with the image and the statement made by the T-shirt. However, you may not think about what the image means, what the color of the shirt may mean, and you may not think about the history that the shirt reveals to your eyes. Our common reader, Where Am I Wearing, asks you to think about the people behind your clothing and their lives in many areas of our world. This course will ask you to think about why am I wearing this T-shirt and what story am I referencing in my T-shirt? Many of the worlds we discuss in this course incorporate the Franciscan values: dignity of the individual, reconciliation, peace and justice, and stewardship. We will read a mix of academic writings, popular histories, film critiques, and fantastic fiction. Since so many T-shirts reference fantasy universes and multiverses that have been filmed, movie clips will play an important role in this course. 

    FYS 110 (MM14): Fibonacci’s Revolution: How a 12th-Century Italian Mathematician Laid the Groundwork for Globalization 

    Dr. Matt DeLong, Professor of Mathematics and Chair
    Tuesday and Thursday, 11-12:15 p.m.

    • Why did western civilization become a dominant force in commerce, technology, and science? Among the many factors that led to an international economy and the scientific revolution was a book with the innocuous sounding title Book of Calculation. Published in Europe by Fibonacci, it unleased an enormous revolution and is arguably one of the most influential books of all time. Fibonacci, generally considered to be the most talented Western mathematician of the Middle Ages, lived around the same time and in a nearby part of Italy as St. Francis of Assisi. In this course we will examine the historical context of Fibonacci and Francis. We will explore both the beauty and the practicality of the mathematical ideas that Fibonacci introduced to Europe. We will understand how these ideas laid the groundwork for the global economy described in the common reader, Where Am I Wearing? Finally, we will use Fibonacci and Francis to analyze the roles that reason and faith played in the development of the modern world. This course assumes no advanced mathematical background beyond high school algebra and geometry.

    FYS 110 (MM15): Politics and Music

    Dr. Johnny Goldfinger, Associate Professor of Political Science
    Tuesday and Thursday, 11 a.m.-12:15 p.m.

    • This theme-based course is focused on preparing you in three areas: (1) written/spoken inquiry and exchange; (2) intellectual skill development, and (3) becoming a Marian Knight. All seminars meet in small groups and provide students with the opportunity to expand their critical thinking, information literacy, collaborative learning, and other skills that develop students’ intellectual and practical competencies. The overarching purpose of this course is to provide first year students the opportunity to become integrated into the academic life and culture of Marian University’s campus by creating a common intellectual experience within and across individual seminars.

    FYS 110 (MM17): Designing You (and Your World)

    Kristopher Steege, Assistant Professor of Theatre
    Tuesday and Thursday,11 a.m.-12:15 p.m.

    • “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players: They have their exits and their entrances: and one man in his time plays many parts…” William Shakespeare

      So who are you and how do you communicate what a multifaceted and unique individual you are in your everyday life? In this course, we will explore personal tastes and self-expression in fashion, environment, and atmosphere by exploring examples in art, film, television, and theatre. You will learn more about your own conscious and subconscious choices, learn how to visually communicate your ideas, and even step outside of yourself to explore what choices you would make as someone else.

    FYS 110 (MM18): The Wizarding World of FYS: Life Lessons from Harry Potter

    Sabrina Straub, MSW, LCSW, Assistant Professor of Social Work and Field Director
    Tuesday and Thursday 11 a.m.-12:15 p.m.

    • The tale of the Boy Who Lived has enthralled millions, inspiring fanfiction, headcanon, a virtual world, and even multiple theme parks. But what does Harry have to offer beyond engaging literature and quality entertainment? This course will address how the tale of Harry Potter contributes to our modern perspectives on moral life. What can Hermione teach us about feminism and human (or house elf) rights? What can Ron teach us about loyalty and the struggle of being from a low-income family? What does Draco teach us about prejudice and privilege? And what does Voldemort teach us about control and evil? Using the seven books in the Harry Potter series, as well as additional supplemental reading, we will be exploring themes of social justice, power, and corruption as they have affected individuals, groups, and societies within our current culture of globalization. We will also grapple with issues such as character, love, friendship, heroism, identity, death, and free will. Students will be sorted into houses, and through active participation and critical thinking have the opportunity throughout the semester to earn points towards the illustrious House Cup award!

    FYS 110 (MM19): Me, Myself, and Us

    Dr. LaTonya Turner, Associate Dean for Academic Quality and Director, Academy for Teaching and Learning Leadership
    Tuesday and Thursday, 2-3:15 p.m.

    • Cause and effect. Good and bad. Right and wrong. When are these concepts productive and helpful?  When are they illusions that can cause pain? Do we “think" or only “think we think?” How can we “see more” so that we might understand better?  As our global “connectedness” increases exponentially, so does the complexity of our shared challenges. How do we respond to the volatility and uncertainty that accompany rapid technological evolution? How do we begin to understand the complex collision of cultures, values and beliefs that accompany our shrinking world? How do I begin to understand my own complex self? With overall framing provided by Where Am I Wearing?, using current social challenges, and ourselves as cases-in-point this course is designed to:

    1. ​​Explore two paradigms of thought: Machine thinking and systems thinking and their role in driving how we understand (or fail to understand) complex social issues.
    2. Explore “self as system:” What does it means to exercise agency, and what role does that play in how we think about dignity of the individual?  What does that mean for you in your journey at Marian?

    FYS 110 (MM20): Prophets, Mystics, and Heretics

    Rev. George LaMaster, Ph.D.
    Tuesday and Thursday, 2-3:15 p.m.

    • Why do we label one person a heretic and another a saint? When is a preacher also a prophet? How do mystics talk about God as beyond words? Traveling through history, this class will get to know famous (and infamous) Christian misfits, particularly those trouble-makers associated with the Franciscan tradition. Along the way, you’ll also explore the ways that your spiritual journey intersects with speaking like prophet, praying like a mystic, or challenging orthodoxy like a heretic.

    FYS 110 (MM21): Success After College: Becoming a Learner

    Dr. Jamey Norton, Professor of English
    Tuesday and Thursday, 2-3:15 p.m.

    • At a commencement speech at Texas State University, a successful building supply company CEO suggested that the most important question students should be asking is: ‘Who do I need to become to be successful?’ The opportunity of a higher education is just that—an opportunity. In order to realize its benefits, we are called to become learners so that the gains of our education last well beyond our four years at the university or our first job. This course will use the supplemental text Becoming a Learner: Realizing the Opportunity of Education by Matthew L. Sanders and ask students to participate in deep reflection about why they chose to pursue a higher education, how their lifelong learning can extend beyond the classroom, and how they can make the most of their educational experience.

    FYS 110 (MM22): Case Studies in Ethics: Conversations on Current Moral Issues

    Dr. Karen Spear, Associate Professor of Philosophy
    Tuesday and Thursday, 2-3:15 p.m.

    • Sexual harassment, corporate greed, abortion, use of drugs in sports, globalization. Moral issues arise everywhere you look—social media, blogs, newspapers, the evening news—and these are great places to start conversations about moral issues. We’ll begin our conversation with the book Where are You Wearing? which opens students’ eyes to where and how their clothing is made and the ethical issues associated with outsourcing of clothing manufacturing. From there we will turn to the cases written for the fall regional Ethics Bowls (Marian hosts the Central States Regional Ethics Bowl!) as the primary reading for the seminar—because these case studies always focus on really interesting moral issues. Students will be introduced to the case studies and choose a case study they’d like to focus on. The instructor will then guide students as they think through their case and research and write their presentations. The instructor will provide additional readings that will inform the case studies, but students will be encouraged to do their own research. Skills in writing, research, and speaking will be emphasized.

    FYS 110 (MM23): Oh My, That’s TMI! Searching for the Truth in the Age of Too Much Information

    Dr. Sarah Zahl, Assistant Dean for Accreditation and Assistant Professor, College of Osteopathic Medicine
    Tuesday and Thursday, 2-3:15 p.m.

    • In this seminar, we will explore how information and data can be used to deceive us. We often receive very misleading information or incomplete stories based on “facts.” We will dissect and interrogate stories, conclusions, stereotypes, and portrayals of events in order to investigate the full picture and draw a complete and accurate conclusion in the era of information overload. We will also review contextual information and representations of the concepts (e.g. sweatshops, child labor, globalization) in Where am I Wearing? to uncover if/how these topics are misrepresented in the media. As we review examples of misinformation and potential motivating factors behind deceptive stories, we will explore techniques to assess the accuracy of:

      1. Media portrayals of specific events
      2. Deceptive surveys, opinion polls, and evaluations
      3. Misleading claims in medical/health research
      4. Additional items selected by learners in this course

    For more information

    Office of New Student Orientation
    (317) 955-6354

    Intern for the Indianapolis Colts
    Communication major opens a variety of career opportunities.
    Watch Lindsey's story
    Studying healthcare in Chile
    Pre-med student builds cultural competencies and awareness.
    Watch Htoo's story
    Coming home to Indy
    Award-winning transfer student is glad she made the switch.
    Read Rachel's story