First-Year Seminars are designed to give incoming students an immediate personal connection with a University faculty member. These courses are capped at 20 students, which is important on many levels - this professor will also act as the student's advisor throughout their first year experience, so it's important that classes remain small.
Hava Gordon, the director of and a professor in DU's Gender and Women's Studies department, gave us her take on FSEMs:
“The First-Year Seminar Program is an amazing opportunity for students to learn about Denver, about life in college, and about themselves in a supportive and rigorous environment. The program provides a faculty mentor to each incoming student, as well as a close network of peers. This sets students up for success in their first year and beyond.”
One of Gordon's former FSEM students, Nicole Boerema, is going to be a senior at DU this year. She summed up her FSEM experience in this way:
“Starting as a freshman at DU, I had serious fears about not making a strong connection with my peers and not being able to make friends right away. First-Year Seminars give you a great opportunity to do just that. Your FSEM group consists of some of the first people you will meet and spend time with your first week of school. My FSEM had a positive impact on me because it allowed me to meet some of my best friends at DU to date. Your FSEM group is also a great way to explore Denver, check out what is on campus, and meet new people.
Additionally, the FSEM class itself was a great transition from high school into college level material. I was involved in the FSEM Youth Cultures and learning about how youth groups interact with their environment was fascinating to me. My FSEM also involved a service component, which is something I strongly pursued in high school. Being able to apply what I learned to real life experience volunteering at Rainbow Alley was something I found very beneficial to my college career.
Overall, I had a great FSEM group, an amazing teacher, and a really fun time my first week of orientation because of my FSEM. I'm glad I had the opportunity to experience a First-Year Seminar!”