First-Year Experience

First-Year Overview: What to Expect

Your first year at Graceland University will be a year of exploration, both academically and socially. In your first semester, you will learn a lot of new information about college life and how to navigate the systems that make up our institution. Our goal is to make sure that you know where to go and who to ask for help when you need it. You should expect to be introduced to many people, places, things and ideas in your first semester. Many of these introductions will be made in your first-year seminar course.

First-Year Seminar a.k.a. Critical Thinking in the Liberal Arts and Sciences

Students who enter college for the first time, or transfer in with 47 credit hours or less, will be enrolled in a first-year seminar course during their first semester. The first-year seminar course is titled, “Critical Thinking in the Liberal Arts and Sciences,” and the course code is INTD1100.

What is a seminar?

A seminar is a method of instruction involving small groups of people, including an instructor, coming together to discuss stated topic(s). The first-year seminar at Graceland University is taught by instructors from various disciplines across campus, and the seminar class sizes range from 15 – 20 students. Your first-year seminar course, “Critical Thinking in the Liberal Arts and Sciences” is designed to provide a common academic experience for all first-year students. That way students from one seminar class can talk to students from another seminar class about what they have learned in a given week.

The goals of the first-year seminar:

  1. To build learning communities among students
  2. To teach students the value of a liberal arts education
  3. To introduce students to the Essential Education program
  4. To help students understand the importance of critical thinking

Common Reader

Every student enrolled in the first-year seminar course, “Critical Thinking in the Liberal Arts and Sciences,” will be required to read the following text: Becoming a Learner by Matthew Sanders.

The Peer Mentor Program: Building Learning Communities

Each first-year seminar course will be assigned a peer mentor. The peer mentor is typically a sophomore student who will be available to help orient first-year students to college life.  

Contact Information:

First-Year Seminar Coordinator:

Jennifer Abraham-White
abraham@graceland.edu
641.784.5079 

 

Retention Coordinator:

Nicole Briell
nbriell1@graceland.edu
641.784.5083