first year sem


Welcome to life as a college student! Right from the first day, First Year Seminar helps you meet other students, connect with the faculty and become part of the Elms community.

In First Year Seminar (FYS), we help you start on the path to discovery about yourself, Elms College and important topics. Your instructor becomes your guide and mentor. Together, along with other first year students, you explore a topic, and search for questions and resolutions. Your instructor encourages you to become an active member of the Elms College community as you develop your academic program and path.

First Year Seminar courses are connected by a theme taken from Catholic Social Teaching. This year’s theme is Solidarity. All first year students are required to read the Common Read book, Outcasts United by Warren St. John, during the semester. You will discuss and write about the book in your First Year Seminar class, highlighting how the themes are interwoven with the theme of Solidarity. Books may be purchased in the Elms College bookstore. Please read through the descriptions of this year’s seminar sections to see how different instructors will explore the subject while preparing you for life as a college student. During orientation, you will have an opportunity to select your top three choices for an FYS class.


Common Read

Want to know more about the Common Read? Information can be found here.

Outcasts United


FYS Events

Our professors and advisors are developing a variety of events that focus on themes in the Common Read selection. These include a trip to the MassMutual Center in Springfield to see U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor speak at the Springfield Public Forum on Sept. 9, 2015Sotomayor is the first Hispanic person to serve on the nation's highest court, and also the third woman to do so. The former prosecutor was first confirmed for a federal judgeship in her home state of New York in 1992; she joined the Supreme Court in 2009. Her memoir "My Beloved World" will be one subject of her talk. For this event, buses will leave the Elms College campus at 6:15 p.m.

Other events will be announced shortly. Please note that the events on this schedule are subject to change.


FYS Common Events 2015-2016 Calendar

Elms Essentials

Veritas Auditicom


9:20 a.m.-3 p.m.

Work-Study Job Fair

Alumnae Library


12-1:30 p.m.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor (Springfield Public Forum)

MassMutual Center (transportation provided)


6:15-9:30 p.m.

Catholic Social Teaching/Catholic Intellectual Tradition

Alumnae Library Theater



1:25-2:40 p.m.

Involvement Fair

Keating Quad


11:30 a.m.-2 p.m.

Academic Convocation

Veritas Auditorium


4 p.m.

Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration

Veritas Auditorium


1:25-2:40 p.m.

Agape Latte

Starbucks Cafe, College Center


7 p.m.

FYS Presentations
Summative Event



1:30-3 p.m.

2015 First Year Seminar Courses

Science and Technology for Global Solidarity

This section will focus on innovations in science and technology for global solidarity in overcoming barriers in access to food, water, sanitation, electricity, medical care, education and technology.
Instructor: Beryl Hoffman, Ph. D.

Solidarity for the Environment: A Look at Environmental Issues

This will focus on environmental issues ranging from endangered species to climate change, from fracking to water issues.
Instructor: Bill Tyler, M.A.

Open Ears, Open Mind, Open Heart: A Pathway to Community and Civic Leadership

Studying a variety of local, national and international human crises, and working to better understand how we as individuals, and as a community, can best respond to these problems.
Instructor: William Dziura, M.A.

One Human Family: Where Do I Fit In?

Exploring the characteristics needed to make an impactful change for the better.
Instructor: Carol Allan, SSJ, M.A.T.

Health as a Human Right

Exploring social justice and anti-poverty crusades of 1960s: so much to learn, so much still to do.
Instructor: Cheryl Sheils, Ed.D., R.N.

Life Beyond Facebook

Examining the ways in which technology has helped and/or hindered our ability to relate to others in meaningful and significant ways.
Instructor: Fr. Mark Stelzer, Ph.D.

Throwing Like a Girl: Myth or Reality

Studying popular sports films such as A League of Their Own to examine issues such as stereotyping, heroes and role models, gender equity, race and diversity.
Instructor: Cheryl R. Condon, Lecturer of Physical Education, Women’s Softball Coach