Core Seminar I for First-Year Students

You will need to choose five options for Core Seminar I prior to attending orientation. This 3-credit class takes an interdisciplinary approach to a course-specific theme while allowing you to explore personal development, intellectual growth, and what it means to have a liberal arts education.

The first-year seminar is designed to introduce you to the standards of academic rigor while providing you with the knowledge to make informed decisions in your transition to college. You'll compose a variety of projects that demonstrate critical inquiry and information literacy skills.

Lying, Deception, and Fraud

Why do people lie? And why are even really good liars just as susceptible as the rest of us to deception, wacky superstitions, phony scientific claims, and all manner of cheap hustles? This fun, skill-building first-year seminar will explore the mechanics of lying, the psychology of magical thinking, and our human tendency to be fooled and even to fool ourselves. We’ll also look at cons and explore our love affair with the huckster and scam artist, all while building critical thinking, writing, and information literacy skills needed for success at the university level. So what do you think? Ready to get fooled?


This course will challenge students with the concept of sustainability, its implications, and its implementation in their personal lives. We will start by analyzing your preparation for sustainability in college and beyond. We will also consider how our community, country, and world can be sustained. We will follow your interests and consider how to sustain society, political systems, economic systems, the environment, and more. We will discuss sustainability from all perspectives.

The Start of Your Leadership Journey
What makes a leader and how do you become one? This course will give you an opportunity to discover your potential for leadership. Each of us will be at different places in our leadership journey, but together we will read, discuss, and apply leadership ideas through work in class, on campus, and in the larger community. Because leadership is learned by doing, we will participate in a variety of interactive exercises and activities to develop the qualities of great leaders.
Better Together: Considering Connections

Never has the world been more connected, and yet many people have felt more isolated than ever in recent times. In this seminar, we will navigate what it means to be connected in a world where technology both separates and unites and where a pandemic has caused us to stay apart for a collective good. We will also explore the physical, social, and psychological needs for connection and discuss how to make connections across the various classes you take to learn valuable skills to succeed as a college student and beyond.

With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility: Heroes in Myth and Media,

What makes something heroic? From the myths of supernatural and godly forces that govern our universe to the contemporary stories in our comic books, video games, and films, we are a culture obsessed with the heroic. But to be heroic means having some kind of value system or moral compass that we stand for- a set of principles that guide us in our actions. This course explores not only the idea of what heroism means, but also explores the different kinds of heroes we celebrate by looking at the stories we tell.

Happy Holidays

One commonality among many countries throughout the world is the celebration of holidays. While some are celebrated in many countries, others such as Bonifacio Day and Croatia’s Statehood Day, are celebrated in only a few. Holidays provide a rich, fun way for us to learn about a country’s history, traditions, food, and music. In this course we will explore the world by investigating numerous holidays. We will partake in these traditions as a way of experiencing life as locals. These activities will open up our minds and hearts to the wide variety of celebrations that occur around the world each day.

Globe Trotters

This will be an exciting seminar where we will learn about culture: GV culture, your culture, new cultures, and cultures you thought you knew. We will build, reinforce, and expand our knowledge through music, humor, food, art, dance, sports, and more. This will enable us to connect to a variety of cultures, empower us to learn about ourselves and one another, and encourage us to question our current worldviews while drawing new conclusions. Best of all, the Golden Global Awards will be held at the end of the semester!

The Pursuit of Happiness

What makes people happy? How do they create happiness in their lives? Is it possible to increase happiness? We will explore these questions and more in this seminar. We will look at how happiness has been talked about for thousands of years and try to find connections to our modern, hectic lives. We will discuss who has a right to happiness and begin to practice steps that are scientifically proven to increase our happiness to understand if and why happiness really matters.

Women in the Bible: Where My Ladies At?

Jesus? Moses? Noah? We know these guys, but what about the women? This class will focus on women in the Bible—the courageous, faithful, violent, and sexual roles women plan in the biblical narrative. We will also consider how race and class impact our interpretation and understanding. We’ll visit various religions’ places of worship and observe women’s roles in religious communities today. No prior religious knowledge is necessary to be successful in this class.

College: Not Just Another Teen Movie

When we think about going off to college, we tend to base it off what we see in movies like Animal House, Old School, and Neighbors. Those movies feature partying, skipping class, and FREEDOM! What we don’t associate with college is the development of our identities that takes place. In this course, we will take a deep dive into identity formation and student development by using movies like Boy Erased and Perks of Being Wallflower, TV shows like Grown-ish, and other pop culture artifacts . Based on this, we will learn different strategies and explore resources to help you come into your own over the next four years.

We are the Walking Dead: Interpreting the Zombie Apocalypse

Students in this course will examine what the zombie apocalypse means to society, culture, the future, and ourselves. Is a zombie apocalypse a theological crisis? Is it a test of morality, to determine whether one can remain “human,” to say nothing of “good,” in a world filled with monsters? Is it an examination of societal fears to soften the blow of discussing racism, capitalism, the military-industrial complex, genetic engineering, loneliness? We will examine these questions by watching TV shows and movies, playing video games, and reading books.

Technology: The Good, the Bad, and the #nofilter

Drawing inspiration from the Netflix series Black Mirror, we will explore the ethical, social, and economic impact of technology on our personal and professional lives. From job automation to the impact of social media, from pervasive advertising to the psychology of video games, the influence of technology is nearly inescapable in a developed country such at the United States. Are we a better world because of the internet—with knowledge at our fingertips as well as the capability to bully or be bullied? How much of a threat does job automation pose? Can we really learn, connect, and relax when we are constantly receiving notifications?

Adulting 101: Now You're a Grown Up!

Growing up is hard and exciting work. But what does it even mean to be an adult? When does it happen, and when does childhood end? Do you go to sleep one night a child and wake up an adult the next day? We'll consider these and more questions to help us understand this new phase of your lives, and look to movies like Love, Simon, Moonlight, The 400 Blows, and Lady Bird and explore stories in books to better understand our own experiences. Together we will learn how rites of passage, challenges, and cultural perspectives impact our understanding of childhood, adolescence, and adulthood.

Strategies for Success: In the Classroom and Beyond

In the past you were probably told when to go to bed, what to eat, and when to study. As an incoming college student though you will find you have a lot more say over what you do and don't do. The exciting thing is that you will have lots of new opportunities to make and remake yourself, but what does that mean? And how can you make sure you're making the right choices to help you be success in your classes, on the field, in work, and beyond? This seminar will explore the choices you have made to get you here and the choices you will make moving forward. We will focus on motivation, mindset, and the strategies that lead to academic and life-long success.