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:

Goal I.  Help students discover and connect with Graceland University
Goal II.  Foster Academic Success
Goal III.  Introduce students the Brookfield model of critical thinking
Goal IV.  Help students develop an appreciation for the liberal arts

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.  

2020-21 Peer Mentors

  • Justin Binnicker
  • Audry Briggs
  • Nikerra Coleman
  • Elizabeth Falle
  • Santina Hernandez
  • Abby Karlis
  • Mackinna Liedtke
  • Naomi Long
  • Keely McMacken
  • Karryn Nickell
  • Katelyn Nordal
  • Brendyn Padget
  • Taz Richardson
  • Caleb Thomas
  • Andrew Wolsey

Contact Information:

First-Year Seminar Coordinator:

Isaac Pressnell