First Year Seminar

The CSM First Year Seminar is designed to encourage the development of a small group interactive learning community. In this class, students will develop connections with other first year students through a group exploration of a particular topic in the liberal arts. Although the topics will vary, all sections will be related to the mission of the university and will focus on discussion-based critical inquiry.

First Year Seminar is to be taken during the first semester a student is enrolled at College of Saint Mary.

FYS is required for all in-coming students unless they are transferring in 15 or more credits. High school students who have dual enrollment or AP credits are required to take the FYS course regardless of the number of college credits.


FYS 101: Science and Social Issues

This seminar will offer students the opportunity to explore the social issues presented by the implementation of scientific knowledge and advancements. Students will critically examine how science can benefit and/or harm societies and the environment.

FYS 102: Earth Wisdom

This seminar will focus on the work of various writers and filmmakers that imparts "Earth Wisdom". The following question will be addressed: how can people live in a way that is nourishing and respectful to the land, to wildlife, to the well-being of the human community, and to the spiritual sustenance of all?

FYS 103: Music and Poetry

This seminar explores the unique relationship between poetry and music and the ways in which these art forms complement and enrich each other.

FYS 104: How Art Made the World

This seminar is an introduction to the history of art and its influence on the development of culture. Students will be exposed to the processes of art making through a historical look at human creativity.

FYS 105: Historical Texts and the Movies

The seminar will study the benefits and hazards of using film as a primary source for the study of an historical period. Students will think critically about how movies can both enlighten and mislead us about the past.

FYS 106: The Psychology of Prejudice

This seminar will involve the exploration and study of prejudice, including stereotyping and discrimination. Students will critically examine their own perspectives and biases, as well as those of diverse others.

FYS 108: Being a Global Citizen

This seminar will explore how to integrate cross-cultural experiences into a plan of study with the ultimate goal of becoming a global citizen. Today's students must prepare themselves for these activities by learning new languages, being open to exchange experiences and seeking to broaden their horizons. Women need to be encouraged to take advantage of these opportunities during their academic preparation so as to be open to life-changing events.

FYS 109: D1 Women and the Law

This seminar will explore the evolution of the legal protection and empowerment of women in the United States. Students will study current legal issues that directly affect the lives of women in American society. Students will become more aware of women's legal issues and will critically analyze whether such laws are applied in a fair and consistent manner.

FYS 110: Science and Sustainability

This seminar will explore the current state of the global environment and the concept of sustainability in order to increase the students' understanding of the earth's limited capacity to support all forms of life and to provide for the needs of human society. Students will investigate opportunities to reduce negative environmental impacts and formulate innovative improvements.

FYS 111: The Mercy Mission

This seminar will discuss the historical reference of Catherine McAuley and the roots of the Mercy Mission in Ireland and how these factors influence and relate to College of Saint Mary today. The seminar will also include an in depth study of the Irish heritage of the Mercy Mission.

FYS 112: Women as Leaders

This seminar will focus on women's roles in leadership in the 21st century. Students will be introduced to the history and issues of women in leadership and the steps to becoming leaders. Students will also have the opportunity of determining their personal leadership styles.

FYS 113: Hunger & Service Learning

Hunger and Service Learning focuses on understanding and working to address the causes of hunger in the Omaha community. Students will be asked to critically analyze course readings, films, and presentations to develop their own view of the causes of food insecurity in Omaha. The class will participate in a service-learning project.

FYS 114: Women of Courage

This seminar will examine the lives and works of women throughout history who have exhibited courage in the face of injustice or social needs. History does not frequently record the deeds of women, therefore, the deeds of many of them have not been taught. Their examples, however, can be sources of courage for women today.

FYS 115: Money Matters: Financial Literacy & Stewardship

This seminar is built on the premise that life is filled with choices which reflect personal values. Those who have the skill-sets to identify good choices and take advantage of them have the power to better their lives and positively affect the society around them. This seminar provides students with a foundation in career life-planning and goal-setting. Students will explore methods to balance action with good financial decisions.

FYS 116: Research Rules

The objective of this course is to infuse undergraduate research into the first year student's curriculum by moving them from discussing how research influences much information found in popular information sources to identifying a research question, conducting a literature review, and presenting their findings. The course will foster the development of critical thinking skills, skills needed to effectively use library resources, and writing at a college level.

FYS 117: Women & Culture - Chinese Women

The focus of the course is a comparison of women in different cultures. Students will learn about women's lives in different cultures, including education, social status, work, friendship, parenting, and so on. The course will focus on discussion about similarities and differences between women who live in different cultures and investigating why those differences occur.

FYS 118: The Psychology of Good and Evil

This course will examine what developmental and social psychology research has discovered about when and why people engage in good versus evil thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.

FYS 119: Emotional Intelligence

If IQ is the measure of one's intellectual ability, then EQ (Emotional Intelligence) would be the measure of everything else. Research has found that a person's EQ level makes up 75% of how successful they end up in life. Cognitive intelligence (book smarts) is only 25% of the equation. In this course, students will develop their emotional intelligence (people smarts). Students will build communication skills, learn to recognize and navigate relationships both personally and professionally, develop self-motivation and resiliency, and work on strategies that help them excel academically and professionally.

FYS 120: The Theatre of Change

This course will examine the dynamics and history of social change in different forms of theatre over the past 60 years, such as musical theatre, theatre of the oppressed and found theatre, in different cultures and countries.

FYS 121: Plants and People

Through readings, videos, discussions, and activities we will explore the importance of plants, their many uses, and their impact in our daily lives.

FYS 122: Art and the Human Experience

Course will explore why the human species is a fundamentally expressive creature, and how different cultures/societies express the universal issues that impact human existence.