First Year Seminar

Western State Colorado University's campus sits in the heart of the "Headwaters"- the mountainous source of the snow and waters that sustain the environments, economies, and cultures of the American West. Just as life flows from geographic Headwaters, we hope inspiration and success at Western State Colorado University flows from this inaugural course, this "Headwaters" of your University experience.

In this course, we examine the complexity of our Headwaters Region from interdisciplinary perspectives. But we also examine the source of a trans-formative educational experience, and imagine how that can flow into a prosperous intellectual, civic, and personal life. This discussion-based seminar, supplemented by our Headwaters Lecture Series and field trips exploring the Gunnison Country's learning laboratories, introduces you to Western dedicated faculty, diverse disciplines, supportive culture of learning, and active lifestyle. Click here to see Headwaters 100 course description.

Headwaters 100 Orientation

Your First Year Seminar meets for the first time during Orientation - where you meet your  professor and student mentor for the course. During Orientation, you have the chance to participate in field experiences such as the HWTR 100 service project and a Wilderness Pursuit trip. You also meet your first year academic advisor before the end of Orientation. Finally, as a part of your First Year Seminar, President Gregory Salsbury kicks off the Headwaters Lecture Series with our inaugural convocation: The Western Liberal Arts Experience, on Friday, August 22th at 1:00 pm.

For further information, please contact Christina Buchanan, by email chbuchanan@western.edu or by phone (970) 943-2027.

Next Steps

If you're interested in Western's First Year Seminar Program, we invite you to take the next steps towards becoming a part of the Mountaineer family. 

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Courses

 HWTR 100 - HWTR 100 Nonprofits and Social Awareness (1 credits)

Nonprofits and Social Awareness: Moving beyond a profit-centered world. This class offers you a chance to learn more about nonprofit organizations and how they thrive in every community. While for-profit companies are essential for the economy, non-profits are necessary for our sense of community. Through a variety of classroom activities, this course teaches you about the various types of nonprofits found in the Gunnison Valley, how they operate, and the careers that await you in the field. 

 HWTR 100 - HWTR 100 Your Place in the Gunnison Valley (1 credits)

In this section of HWTR 100 we will explore “place-making” in the Gunnison Valley—how different groups of people have made a home in this region, and how you as an individual can do the same by becoming connected to the region through a meaningful sense of place and community. In this course, we will examine the image of Headwaters as a starting point for this sense of place and also the beginning of your journey through the college experience. This discussion-based seminar, supplemented by our Headwaters Lecture Series, skills workshops, and field trips exploring the Gunnison Country’s learning laboratories, will introduce you to your fellow students, Western’s faculty, and a variety of activities that bring us together as an active community of people engaged in common academic projects. 

 HWTR 100 - FIRST YEAR SEMINAR (1 credits)

An introduction to Western's interactive educational experience and the diverse learning environments of the Gunnison Valley. Through a multidisciplinary study of the Headwaters region, this course provides students with skills for success in college and access to resources in the campus community. A discussion based seminar, course may include regular convocations, community service projects, workshops and field experiences. Academic themes include an introduction to the liberal arts, community sustainability, and the social, natural, and cultural surroundings of the region. Course is required for Freshman.

 HWTR 100 - HWTR 100 Psychology of Place (1 credits)

Psychology of Place: In this seminar, we examine the concept of place from a psychological perspective. Using our understanding of the psychology of place, we examine the sources of a transformative educational experience, and imagine how that can flow into a prosperous intellectual, civic, and personal life. 

 HWTR 100 - HWTR 100 Finding Your Personal Rhythm (1 credits)

The course will include outdoor adventure experiences, recreational music making with group drumming and rhythm exercises, the development of a personal plan for a renewed healthy lifestyle, and leadership development for in and out of the classroom (field based). 

 HWTR 100 - HWTR 100 Crested Butte (1 credits)

Crested Butte: This section of First Year Seminar offers you a chance to learn more about the unique social, natural and cultural surroundings of Gunnison’s up-valley sibling, Crested Butte. Through classroom discussions, field trips, and guest speakers, become immersed in the truly special place that exists at the end of our valley. Learn the tricks of living in paradise, including an appreciation of the characters, the food, the activities, and the economics of the mountain lifestyle. 

 HWTR 100 - HWTR 100 Sustainable Communities (1 credits)

Sustainable Communities: The theme of this section of HWTR 100 is building sustainable and resilient communities—what would it take to inhabit a place in perpetuity? The place we focus on answering this question is the Gunnison Valley, but underlying the answer are concepts that could be applied anywhere on Earth—and must be applied everywhere, if we as a species wish to persist. Our section of HWTR 100 is largely hands-on and outdoors. From an ecological and aesthetic understanding of this place we work towards developing a long-term vision for our place in it, and taking some steps to make it a reality. 

 HWTR 100 - HWTR 100 Visual Arts (1 credits)

This is a Humanities course for individuals interested in the Visual Arts in and around the Gunnison Valley. You will have a chance to appreciate and learn about the local art scene through interactive field based learning experiences. These trips will involve art exhibits, art openings, art galleries and a chance to explore the natural wonders of the outdoors in the Gunnison Valley through an artistic eye. This experiential approach will allow students to begin to build a personal aesthetic of the world around them from a Visual Arts perspective. This course will be supplemented by the Headwaters Lecture Series and field trips exploring the Gunnison Country's learning laboratories. 

 HWTR 100 - HWTR 100 Professional Hospitality Certification (1 credits)

Professional Hospitality Certification: Like headwaters for rivers, careers have starting points – and industry certifications are among those! In an applied field like resort management, industry certifications will not only help to secure entry level jobs, but also improve chances for summer jobs or internships to gain first work experiences. This course uses industry ebooks and exams to grant recognized industry certifications at the end of the eight week course. This course is geared towards students who look at the hospitality industry for a career, but also those who seek employment in the industry while being students. 

 HWTR 100 - HWTR 100 Active Learning (1 credits)

Active learning: This course is designed for those who enjoy learning by doing. In addition to seminar meetings, students enrolled in this course use an academic approach to help guide a hands-on exploration of Western and the greater Gunnison Valley communities. 

 HWTR 100 - HWTR 100 Gunnison Diaries: A Collage (1 credits)

“I want you to close your eyes and think of your first kiss, the first time you left home, your first pet, the first time you arrived in Gunnison and Western, your first day of classes. What do you see? What do these memories smell like, what are their outlines, their texture? Do they make you smile, are they heavy? This course, in addition to welcoming you to Western and helping you on your way to success, will take you on a visual, sensual, literary and physical tour of Gunnison and Western. We will take a journey together through the hallways of your memories, your experiences and your vision of yourself and of 'HERE' and maybe even imagine where this journey might take you next." 

 HWTR 100 - HWTR 100 Mathematical Recreation (1 credits)

Mathematics can be a fun, exciting, and challenging activity filled with surprising discoveries. Unfortunately, many students never get this type of mathematical experience. This course will explore some fascinating mathematical patterns that are accessible to all students. Some of these patterns will be studied for their beauty, some for entertainment value, and others will demonstrate how mathematical ideas can help develop billion dollar industries. 

 HWTR 100 - HWTR 100 History of Gunnison Country (1 credits)

History of the Gunnison Country, 1600-Present: Students study Native Americans, the Spanish, fur traders, ranchers, miners, the Narrow Gauge Railroads, skiing and recreation, and the history of Western State Colorado University. 

 HWTR 100 - HWTR 100 Mountain Muses (1 credits)

The majestic Colorado Rockies have inspired many writers. By exploring Gunnison’s landscape with a writer's eye, this course will help you discover what’s so special about Western’s community and surrounding environment. We’ll explore the best of the Gunnison Valley while enjoying readings from local authors and time immersed in nature to inspire your own place-based reflections and writing. Our course service project will connect you with local elementary students and the Colorado Humanities renowned River of Words program. This seminar also includes the Headwaters Lecture Series and an introduction to student life and the supportive learning culture on campus.

 HWTR 100 - HWTR 100 Learning in the Headwaters (1 credits)

Healthy Living in the Headwaters: Welcome to your first of many small classes at Western, in the heart of Colorado's biggest classroom!. Western's campus sits in the heart of the "Headwaters" - the mountainous source of the snows and waters that sustain the environments, economies, and cultures of the American West. This discussion-based seminar, supplemented by our Headwaters Lecture Series and field trips exploring the Gunnison Country's learning laboratories, introduces you to Western's dedicated faculty, diverse disciplines, supportive culture of learning, and active lifestyles. This particular section of HWTR 100 takes a holistic approach to student wellness as we explore what it means to be a successful student at Western in the Gunnison headwaters region. 

 HWTR 100 - HWTR 100 Optimum Conditions (1 credits)

Optimum Conditions: Here at Western, the sun is bright, the air is thin, the winters are cold, and the mountains are rugged. From star gazing to growing snowflakes, the class investigates aspects of the physical world that are optimized in the unique conditions of this place. 

 HWTR 100 - HWTR 100 Hormone Mimics (1 credits)

This section of Headwaters 100 will focus on the current knowledge about man-made chemicals found in the environment and their impact on ecological systems. It is well known that these chemicals can have terrible effects on wildlife and we will explore how this occurs and discuss some options for combating this growing problem. A good example of one such hormone mimicking chemical is BPA, which is now taken out of our plastic products because of its similarity to the hormone estrogen. However, there are thousands of chemicals like this that are currently being used and can be found at undesirable levels in our environment. Our journey through this course will include reading the book Our Stolen Future, written by a Western graduate. This powerful book is truly written as a scientific detective story and will not only hold your interest, but will make you view chemical hazards in a whole new way and critically think about this major environmental issue and its impact on future generations.     

 HWTR 100 - HWTR 100 Exploring the Gunnison Valley (1 credits)

Exploring the Gunnison Valley: This section of HWTR 100 specifically focuses on exploring and learning about some of the special aspects of the Gunnison Valley. As a class, we visit and talk with some of the people and places that make this valley such a great place to learn and live. Our exploration of the Gunnison valley is through several field/activity trips, a service project, and visits to the academic resources available to you at WSCU.

 HWTR 100 - HWTR 100 Getting Into the Arts (1 credits)

Getting Into the Arts: Whether it's on campus or out in the community or both, there's plenty of activity for any first year student at Western who's interested in the arts. Find out about the Valley's community of artists and how you can get involved! 

 HWTR 100 - HWTR 398 Headwaters Conference (1 credits)

An annual two-day gathering on campus each fall, bringing together writers and scholars, local community leaders and activists, artists, government officials, and other interested citizens from the colleges and communities of the Headwaters Region to consider challenges and opportunities confronting the region. Students attend and participate in the conference and write a paper about the experience in the context of their own lives and future plans. Students attend and participate in the conference, complete applied research projects throughout the month following the conference, and write a paper about the experience in the context of their own lives and future plans. Student may take the course four times for additional credit. Prerequisite: junior standing or instructor permission. 

 HWTR 100 - HWTR 100 Recreation and Gunnison (1 credits)

Our section of the seminar will focus on the recreation opportunities available in the Gunnison Valley, and how these activities help connect us to the natural environment. All of our class sessions will involve recreation, Gunnison history (cultural and natural), and success strategies for your College experience.

 HWTR 100 - HWTR 100 Where am I? Why am I here? (1 credits)

Western's campus sits in the heart of the "Headwaters"- the mountainous source of the snow and waters that sustain the environments, economies, and cultures of the American West. Just as life flows from geographic Headwaters, we hope inspiration and success at Western flows from this inaugural course, this "Headwaters" of your college experience. In this course, we examine the complexity of our Headwaters Region from interdisciplinary perspectives. But we also examine the source of a transformative educational experience, and imagine how that can flow into a prosperous intellectual, civic, and personal life. This discussion-based seminar, supplemented by our Headwaters Lecture Series and field trips exploring the Gunnison Country's learning laboratories, introduces you to Western's dedicated faculty, diverse disciplines, supportives culture of learning, and active lifestyle. 

 HWTR 100 - HWTR 100 Liberal Arts at the Headwaters (1 credits)

The goal of this seminar is to help students engage with the headwaters at our liberal arts college. Engagement with anything requires knowledge and familiarity. This course provides that familiarity for both our Headwaters region and introduces the student to various models of higher education today, focusing on the liberal arts model embraced by Western. Regardless of major, this section is designed to provide you tools for success in higher education. You’ll learn what makes Gunnison special and how to make the most of your time at Western. 

 HWTR 100 - HWTR 100 Game Sound: Music-Early Gaming (1 credits)

This course explores early video game technologies and focuses on how sound and music became integral elements in the interactive gaming technologies produced between the 1970s and 1990s in the United States. The class will discuss implications of interactive technology on music and sound design, how technological mediums affected compositional style and the important developments that occurred during this time period. As a freshman seminar, this course provides an exciting opportunity for students to engage in a burgeoning field in academia and develop research skills in a non-traditional arena.

 HWTR 100 - Engage Headwaters Through Science (1 credits)

Engaging the Headwaters Through Science: This course is an opportunity for inquisitive students to discuss all aspects of science that pertain to the headwaters region and beyond. The class is open for discussions on all levels of science. The goal of the course is to highlight the fact that whether we are discussing your sporty new ski coat or skies, your new iPhone or iPad, or simply what you had for breakfast, science is everywhere and it is cool! 

 HWTR 100 - HWTR 100 Space and Time (1 credits)

The theme of this section of Headwaters 100 is examining our place in space and time. Part of creating a future for ourselves is understanding both our past and our present and how we fit into the greater Universe. In this class we’ll explore big questions about the meaning of space and time in an astronomical context, investigate the “spaces and times” (locations and histories) of the Gunnison Valley, and discover the significance of space and time to being a successful college student. 

 HWTR 100 - HWTR 100 Water, Agua, H20 (1 credits)

Water, Agua, H2O: Water may be an elixir of life; definitely here in Gunnison we treasure every drop. This HWTR100 course explores our connections to water while providing a framework for success at Western. 

 HWTR 100 - HWTR 100 Gearing up for Gunnison (1 credits)

Is part of the reason you are attending Western for its surrounding environment? Do you love recreating in the outdoors? Gear up for your transition to your new home at Western and your new home in the Gunnison valley. Get the inside scoop on how to succeed in your classes and learn where and when to play in the recreational paradise that you are now a part of. This class is recommended for the outdoor enthusiast. 

Scholarships

Scholarships associated with academic programs usually have a specific scholarship application form that can easily be obtained by contacting that academic program's office or visiting that academic program's web page. If you have any questions, please contact the Financial Aid office at 970.943.3085 or 800.876.5309.

 Rice, Ethel M. Intercollegiate Athletics Scholarship

Rice, Ethel M. Intercollegiate Athletics Scholarship is Available to:

Must be a full-time student or entering freshman. Available to Intercollegiate Athletes from any sport but preference will be given to women's basketball and volleyball players. Must maintain a GPA of 3.0 or greater.

Athletics Scholarship Provided by:

A gift from Ethel Rice, revered Western librarian.

Amount: $1000.

Scholarship Recipient Selected by:

Donor Scholarship Committee.

Application: Contact the Intercollegiate Athletics Department for application and deadline information. (970) 943-2079 - Paul Wright Gym 210

Find out more about Western's Athletic Program at www.western.edu/athletics