First Year Seminar

First Year Seminar (FYS) introduces students to the interactive classroom by providing a venue for self-discovery within a supportive community. Faculty members with expertise from disciplines across the university offer over forty different seminars. These seminars engage students in the best practices of civil and constructive conversation. As students explore and interrogate their topics, they learn to think, speak, and write more clearly, independently, critically, and persuasively. In these peer-centered discussions and collaborations, FYS students prepare to take the next steps in their academic, professional, and personal journeys.

Student SLOs

  1. To develop the capacity to think and write clearly, critically, and creatively.
  2. To introduce the student to effective habits for academic success.
  3. To reflect on important issues of the self, and in relation to local and global communities.
  4. To recognize and reflect on their own personal perspectives and biases.
  5. To learn and practice civil discourse in a constructive community.
  6. To learn to evaluate the quality, accuracy and appropriateness of evidence.

Spotlight: Topics and Faculty



Take a look below to see a range of choices for academic year 2023-2024. More to come!

Deborah Corpus, smiling with glasses

“The Coming of Age Story”

Deborah Corpus | Butler University has been my professional home for 25 years. I am also an alumna of Butler University, so I can share all sorts of trivia about the buildings and people here on campus. In addition to teaching FYS, I teach courses related to literacy instruction in the College of Education. When I’m not preparing for class or reading one of my beloved books, you might find me on a long-distance bicycle tour or serving as a docent for Indiana Landmarks. My topic for FYS reflects my love of people’s stories as they encounter challenge and change. Deborah Corpus is a Professor in the College of Education.

Bryan Furuness, person with brown hair and beard

“The Climate Project”

Bryan Furuness | Here’s the thing that makes FYS special: it’s a year-long course. That’s enough time to not only get to know students, but to watch them form a community, weather academic and social storms together, and figure stuff out. Every year I get to walk this path with a new class, and I love it. Bryan Furuness is a Senior Lecturer in the English Department.

karina hamamouche sitting near a river with lily pads

“Living Lives that Matter in the 21st Century”

Karina Hamamouche | The first year experience is critical for new college students and ensuring that first years are well integrated onto campus is something I am very passionate about. I love teaching in the core and am particularly eager to be teaching a new FYS course, Living Lives that Matter in the 21st Century, during the 2022-2023 academic year. I’m excited to reflect on how each of us can live a meaningful life while also contributing to the world around us. Karina Hamamouche is a member of the Psychology Department and did her undergraduate work at Butler!

Jeana Jorgenson woman, brown hair pulled off face, red lipstick, dark top in front of bookshelves

“Fairy Tale, Self, and Society”

Jeana Jorgensen | I’ve been teaching a variety of classes at Butler since 2013 and FYS remains one of my faves because we get to read and talk about one of my most beloved topics: fairy tales. Whether or not you’re a fairy-tale fanatic like me, I think everyone gets a lot out of my classes because we also talk about bigger human issues like why people tell stories, why certain stories are retold over time, and why certain stories are more popular than others. When not nerding out over all things reading- and writing-related, I spend my time directing a semi-professional dance troupe, baking with my sourdough starter, and going to science-fiction conventions. Jeana Jorgenson has a Ph.D. in folklore from Indiana University. She is part-time faculty for the Core Curriculum.



Lavender McKittrick-Schweitzer person with brown hair, glasses, mask, with Butler Bulldog Blue IV

“Seeking Justice”

Lavender McKittrick-Schweitzer | Teaching FYS is a truly rewarding experience because of the opportunity to collaboratively develop a space with students where they can build fundamental skills and strong relationships that will carry them through their time at Butler. As a feminist social and political philosopher, I am passionate about supporting students as they critically engage with questions about what we can and should do to remedy and prevent injustices. I look forward to teaching “Seeking Justice: From Local to Global” through an environmental lens this coming year, as Butler bulldogs are deeply concerned with making this world a better place. Professor McKittrick-Schweitzer is a member of the Philosophy and Religion Department.

Daniel Meyers with beard, glasses, cap, pink shirt with the ocean in background

“Faith, Doubt, and Reason”

Daniel Meyers | I have been the Director of the Center for Faith and Vocation since 2015 and am passionate about promoting religious and secular diversity while also helping students explore their sense of purpose and contribution. I teach Faith, Doubt, and Reason because it opens up the questions that I have been thinking about since I was a college student and I love accompanying students along their own pursuit of uncertain answers to big questions. When not on campus, I love hiking, running, and reading – ideally all at the same time – #trailrunwithaudiobook. Daniel Meyers is the Director of the Center for Faith and Vocation.

Robert Norris male, white hair, glasses, dark sweater

“Communication and Power”

Robert Norris | My degrees are in history, but I spent 35 years in the field of corporate communication. I began teaching communication here as an adjunct instructor in 2006 and went full time in 2014. My courses today include promotional writing, media relations, ethics and cases, advanced PR techniques, and crisis communication. But it is with this FYS that I finally get to combine my passion for communication and history. In this class, you’ll see how power relationships, the institutions that organize society, are constructed in people’s minds through communication processes. Aside from holding class, one of the ways I feed my soul is by spending time in Starbucks, drinking dark roast coffee and enjoying my latest history book. Robert Norris is Lecturer in the Strategic Communication Department.

Tom Paradis blond male with glasses in a multi-colored shirt and jacket

“Unpacking the Hunger Games”

Tom Paradis | I have been a professor of geography and planning at Butler since 2015. The Hunger Games series caught my attention because of how much fun it is to interpret through a wide variety of interdisciplinary perspec-tives including cultural geography and a historical focus on the Central Appalachians. I teach a variety of other courses that bridge Butler’s History and Environmental Studies (STES) majors, including Cultural and World Geography, Designing for Livable Cities, Urban History, Weather and Climate, and a summer study-abroad program in Siena, Italy focused on urban sustainability and Italian hill towns. I also led the creation of Butler’s new minor in Geography and Global Societies which is already seeing strong student interest.

Robert Stapleton male smiling in chair with leg crossed, dark clothing, glasses, beard

“Living Lives that Matter in the 21st Century”

Robert Stapleton | I am in my 21st year of teaching freshmen at Butler. I also teach English Dept courses on creative writing and graphic novels. Getting paid to talk with students about books and ideas is my version of living the dream. I love cold cereal, jumping rope, most kinds of music, and coaching softball. I chose this topic as my FYS course because I want our learning communities to explore big questions and work to move beyond the noise and start listening to each other and themselves. Robert is a Senior Lecturer in the English Department.



Felicia Williams female running the chicago marathon

“Voice: Mine and Others”

Felicia Williams | I am new to Butler but not to teaching! I taught middle and high school before moving to higher education. I am a wife and a mom who is trying to navigate this thing called life. I have a love/hate relationship with running but so appreciate my internal talks and thoughts when I am out there. I always find metaphors and meaning, and I love that! I chose this topic because it is important to be cognizant of our individual process and habits. It is imperative that one knows how to articulate their voice and be comfortable doing so. I also think it is important that we seek to hear the voices of others. Listening to and thinking about others can be both educational and transformative on multiple levels. Felicia Williams is an Instructor in the College of Education. Note: This course will also meet the Indianapolis Community Requirement needed for graduation.

First Year Seminar FAQ

Yes, all incoming first year students must register for FYS 101 in the fall semester and FYS102 in the spring semester. No exceptions.

As there is no AP course equivalent to FYS, advanced placement credit does not apply towards First Year Seminar.

If possible, consider the student’s entire first year plan when choosing FYS, so that the student’s year long experience in the course can be maintained. Be mindful of required classes in the second semester of their major that may meet only at the same time as their FYS class, which will meet the same days and times in the spring as in the fall.

A first year student entering college for the first time in spring semester or a first year transfer student will enroll directly into a section of FYS 102 that does not require FYS 101 as a pre-requisite.

To fulfill the FYS 101 portion of the Core requirement, the student can subsequently or concurrently enroll in an additional Text and Ideas or humanities course.

These students will not enroll in FYS 101 the following semester or year.

Transfer students who do not transfer in courses that replace FYS may substitute a TI or humanities course (beyond those required for other areas of the core) for each semester of the FYS requirement. A core variance form must be completed for these substitutions.

First year students who fail FYS 101 will take FYS 102 in the spring and retake FYS101 in the fall. First year students who fail FYS 102 will retake FYS 102 the following spring. Those students should enroll in a FYS 102 that does not require the corresponding FYS 101 as a prerequisite.