Freshman Symposium is offered in a student’s first fall semester at the University of St. Thomas. The course is one-credit hour and introduces the student to the UST mission, with an emphasis on how the Basilian Fathers’ core values of goodness, discipline, and knowledge provide the foundation of a Catholic, liberal arts education.
This course will connect freshmen to each other as fellow students, UST resources, and our Catholic Mission. There will be large group sessions as well as individual sessions for your particular class. Students have the opportunity to self-select the Freshman Symposium course that best fits your interest.
Below you will find the course descriptions. Please select one course as your first choice and select as many of the other courses as ones you are “interested” in. You will be notified of your course during Freshman Convocation. Scheduled for August 17th- Time TBA.
Course OptionsCourse Options
Basic introduction to the characteristic footwork, arm placement and hand movements of this stunning Spanish artform, which in 2010 was designated Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO. In this course, theory and practice will be explored through dance. Flamenco shoes are encouraged but optional.
I Am Interested - Empower Yourself With Flamenco Dance
This course gives you an opportunity to engage in discovering your God-given identity and purpose. We are not accidents, but each designed intentionally, with specific personalities, experiences, and abilities. This course will help you to grow in self-knowledge and find greater purpose and passion to live out your personal mission. You will also find community, connection, and encouragement on the journey!
I Am Interested - Discovering Identity and Purpose
This course provides an introduction to college life and to the University of St. Thomas mission, with a special focus on accommodating student athletes. By the end of the course, you, as a student athlete, will develop essential skills for both your academic success and personal growth. The curriculum aims to foster engagement not only within the UST and Houston communities but also within the student-athlete community.
I Am Interested - Keep Your Head in the Game: Building a Successful Life of a College Athlete
Do you know what Starbucks, Martin Luther King, Jr., Ghandhi, Southwest Airlines, St. Teresa of Calcutta, Zappos, Nelson Mandela, and Jesus Christ have in common? Servant Leadership! Why? Because they serve first. Servant leaders serve others first, focus on how to best meet the needs of followers and customers, and put others’ needs ahead of their own. In this course, we explore ten traits of servant leadership and how to authentically apply them as you develop your own leadership skills. Through videos, articles, service projects, small group work, discussion boards, and classroom conversations, we explore servant leadership and student success strategies such as effective time management, study skills, and academic integrity. This course also helps welcome you into the culture that makes UST so special.
I Am Interested - Servant Leadership
Creative people are cursed. It is a curse to be a creative, and it is a curse to work with them. So let's all do a play! Pragmatists and creatives have butt heads for centuries, but these two worlds, when working together, create the greatest of theatrical productions. You will conceive, write, produce, and perform your own short play. Tried business techniques of entrepreneurial team building and brainstorming will be used to devise a theatrical production. In the end you will take the life skill of synthesizing different perspectives while staying true to yourself. You will explore each other's strengths and challenges in working toward a practical and inspired goal!
I Am Interested -Theatre, the Artists, and the Entrepreneur
...Ready for it? Your freshman year era, that is.
Meet me in “August” to begin your collegiate journey in the context of an artistic evolution.
From your “Debut” semester, we will help prepare you to face college with a “Fearless” disposition. You will learn to “Speak Now” in classroom discussions and during your professors’ office hours. You will embrace Red and gold, our school colors. You will be cultured in the history of UST - from 1947 to “1989” to the present. Your “Reputation” before college matters no more. We will help instill a “Love(r)” for both our school and for learning in general. You will absorb the “folklore”behind UST and college in general, in hopes that your freshman era prepares you for success in all eras, “evermore.” Until the clock strikes “Midnight(s)” on your college years, it all starts here. Let the games begin!
I Am Interested -The Eras (Celt’s Version): Dr. Taylor Swift helping guide you through your college experience
If you can’t stop listening to Taylor Swift’s songs, blame it on science! Neuroscience suggests when we like a song, the reward systems in our brain interact with the structures involved in analysis and memory. Swift’s writing includes catchy songs with definite melodic turns highlighted in her verses, choruses, and bridges. Other times, she dives into character development while emphasizing the world around us. She also focuses her lyrics on nature, incorporating beautiful imagery of outdoor scenery that allows us to escape the mundane tasks of our lives. This course examines the suggested analysis behind the lyrics and the influence on our well-being, while seeking to increase our prosperity by mindfully listening to meaning-filled lyrics accompanied by music intended to impact our emotions.
I Am Interested - “You’re on Your Own, Kid”- Analysis and Psychological Impact of Taylor Swift’s Lyrics
Considering a major in psychology, education, or just want to work with children? Explore these interests through this psychology-based service-learning course that focuses on the impact of foster care on child development. Learn about attachment, trauma, and the long-term effects of child abuse and neglect through books, TV shows, and movies created by foster children and families. Did you know that over 30,000 children in Texas are in foster care? Experience connection with this population by visiting various foster-care organizations and providing service in the way that best fits your gifts (examples: babysitting, organizing donations, celebrating birthdays, assisting with fundraising, etc). Assess the foster care system through current research and increase your self-confidence by learning ways to advocate for those who cannot advocate for themselves.
I Am Interested - Beyond Black Bags: The Impact of Foster Care on Child Development
Get ready for an extraordinary adventure that will expand your horizons and change the way you view the world! Welcome to the Global Learning Expedition: a dynamic course that will take you on a thrilling virtual journey, exploring the hidden treasures of diverse cultures and breathtaking places worldwide. Get your passport ready and your imagination soaring, as we embark on a transformative adventure that will shape your college life and beyond. The Global Learning Expedition awaits - are you up for the challenge? Let's make a lasting impact on the world together!
I Am Interested - Explore The World: Global Learning In Higher Education
Limited to students who have been accepted into the Honors Program at UST, this group will prepare students for the intellectual life. We will work through a common text, Advice from Aristotle: Life Lessons from the Nicomachean Ethics. In addition to working through this text, Freshmen Symposium sessions will include presentations by current and past Honors professors and students on how to be successful in Honors.
I Am Interested - Honors Program Affinity Group
Do you know something about K-pop, perhaps BTS? How about Bollywood movies that make you laugh and cry at the same time? Maybe, you love festive Mariachi music or country songs that get your feet moving. Possibly, you are a die-hard fan of Bach and Beethoven. When stressed, you love folding your way to peace of mind, Origami! You see, the diversity of artistic expressions from different cultures creates a vibrant tapestry that enriches our lives and connects us on a deeper level. In this course, we will share our favorite artistic expressions and cultural traditions (through music, movies, dance, poems, paintings, cooking, and many more). We will foster a deeper appreciation for different ways of life and celebrate the richness of us through art and culture, a bridge that connects us beyond borders.
I Am Interested - Diversity through Art and Culture in a Connected World
This course provides an introduction to college life and to the University of St. Thomas mission. By the end of the course, you will develop skills for your academic success and personal growth, demonstrate engagement with the UST and Houston communities, and be able to explain how the UST mission, its Catholic liberal arts foundation, and Catholic Social Teaching add value to your education. You will learn about the values and identity of the University community while discovering your place in this community. Your course will be led by a two-person mentor team, consisting of a faculty/staff mentor, and a student mentor, who were hand-chosen to serve as your mentors in this course. Each mentor brings a unique perspective and will help you with different aspects of the course and your transition to UST.
I Am Interested - College Readiness
Based upon, “Emotionally Intelligent Leadership: A Guide for Students”, this course is designed to increase the capacity of Mendenhallers to become effective change agents by tapping into the knowledge of who they are to become the person they want to be. Students will complete the leadership inventory and the accompanying EIL workbook. During the course, one of the authors will serve as a guest lecturer! al mission. You will also find community, connection, and encouragement on the journey!
I Am Interested - Mendenhall-Specific: Emotionally Intelligent Leadership: A Guide for Students
To ensure a seamless transition to UST and provide tailored support for STEM students, we have established a two-person mentor team exclusively for this purpose. Your faculty/staff mentor will offer expertise in STEM academics and research opportunities, while your student mentor, well-versed in the STEM student experience, will provide invaluable guidance and insights.
I Am Interested - STEM Connections