First Year Seminar & LIBA 100

Incoming students have a choice between taking either GEED 130 First Year Seminar OR LIBA 100 Knowing and Being Known. GEED 130 or LIBA 100 is required of all incoming first-year students. Transfer students are invited to enroll in GEED 130 FYS Transfer Experience as an elective. Students who complete LIBA 100 instead of GEED 130 will be able to apply the course to one of the following general education requirements: Bible elective, humanities elective, three credits of social science, or three credits of Global and Cultural Understanding.

Fall athletes who will have practice during the first six weeks of the semester should choose sections that meet before 3:30 or after 6:30 p.m.

LIBA 100 Knowing and Being Known (Full semester, 3 credits)

LIBA 100 Knowing and Being Known introduces students to crucial aspects of the George Fox mission and invites them to examine and improve their intellectual habits and cognitive processes – to practice intellectual virtues, not just learn about them. This course is organized around four central themes: Information Literacy and Technology, Self-Awareness, Liberal Arts and Community. By the end of the course, students will have a foundation of knowledge, skills and dispositions that will help them be successful in their four years at George Fox.

Having a full semester community experience with our faculty and peers will be beneficial for all students, especially for students who are unsure of which major they would like to pursue or those who may be the first generation in their family to attend college. If you desire this extra connection and support your first semester, join us in this course. Below is a listing of days, times and instructors for each section.

Section Class Number Day Time Instructor
LIBA 100 A 2238 Tu/Th 1:25-2:40 p.m. Debra Espinor
LIBA 100 B 2239 Tu/Th 1:25-2:40 p.m. Brenda Morton
LIBA 100 C 2240 M/W/F Noon-12:50 p.m. Steve Sherwood
LIBA 100 D 2241 Tu/Th 4:15-5:30 p.m. Gary Tandy
LIBA 100 E 2242 Tu/Th 4:15-5:30 p.m. Polly Peterson
LIBA 100 F 2243 M/W/F 8-8:50 a.m. Mark Hall
LIBA 100 G 2244 M/W/F 1-1:50 p.m. Mark Terry
LIBA 100 H 2245 Tu/Th Noon-1:15 p.m.   Corey Beals
LIBA 100 I 2246 Tu/Th 2:50-4:05 p.m. Stephanie Fisher

GEED 130 First Year Seminar (6 weeks, 1 credit)

GEED 130 First Year Seminar (FYS) is designed to assist first-year students in becoming engaged members of the George Fox University community. All first-year students select a seminar-style topical course for the first six weeks of the fall semester; students meet with an instructor and two peer advisors for two hours each week. The course is a pass/fail course.

Tales from Tolkien - Your Story in the Larger Story (GEED 130 A - 2407)

Rusty St CyrBrad Lau

Monday 6:45-8:45 p.m.

In The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien offers a captivating journey of discovery and faith that parallels the Christian story in significant ways. It is a powerful tale of courage, redemption, sacrifice, temptation, friendship, and the search for identity and purpose. This seminar will explore several major themes in Tolkien's epic series that will inform our own lives as we grapple with the difficult moral and ethical issues that we all face.

In addition, you will leave this class equipped with basic tools to be a successful student and get the most out of your George Fox University experience.

Brad has been at George Fox for 14 years and loves seeing God work in the lives of students as they embrace their strengths and think through important issues of life and faith. He enjoys spending time with family, reading, playing tennis, and watching the Denver Broncos. Brad and his wife, Pam, feel incredibly blessed to have three wonderful teenage daughters in addition to two dogs and a cat.


Communication through the eyes of strengths and culture (GEED 130 B - 2408

Rusty St CyrDave Johnstone

Monday 6-8 p.m.

Communication is one of the cornerstones of living in community. However, our strength and culture can inform how communication takes place. Through the first-year summer reading, course readings, activities, and discussions we will seek to understand each other, ourselves and our place in the George Fox campus community.

Dave is an immigrant to the United States who also grew up in a third-culture context, He lives with his family in Newberg and has two sons in college. Understanding of strengths has been a part of his own journey, and the impact of culture shapes his interaction at all levels of his life. Welcome to this adventure called "George Fox;" welcome to the community


Christianity and Culture: Christian Wisdom & the Emerging Power of 21st-Century Biology (GEED 130 C - 2409)

Rusty St CyrJeff Duerr

Monday 4:30-6:30 p.m.

The aim of this seminar is to address the broad impacts of biological science on contemporary society. Topics will focus on the relationship between biology and the Christian faith. Discussions will include the role of the life sciences as a way of learning about God and how one may foster a concurrent study of nature and the Bible. Further discussion will apply Christian morality to bioethical cases raised by recent advances in biological research: cloning, stem-cells, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), etc. Another equally important component to the seminar is to help students adjust to their first year at George Fox.

The course will provide a forum for sharing common experiences among new freshmen and act as a support group. Hopefully, students will gain an increased awareness of their academic strengths and weaknesses, learn about university resources that are available to them, and enjoy a productive first year of college.

Jeff received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in biology and chemistry in 1989 from Whitworth University; an MS degree in comparative physiology from Portland State University in 1991; and a PhD in cell physiology from the University of Hawai’i in 1997.


Where am I going? How will I get there? And Other Essential Questions (GEED 130 D - 2410)

Kris KaysKris Kays

Monday 3-5 p.m.

Does life seem to happen TO you? Would you like more input into the direction you are going? How will your values, beliefs, relationships and spiritual faith potentially be challenged and shaped during your college years? Questions can be overwhelming, and the possibility of finding answers is often empowering. In addition to exploring the resources and skills necessary for success at George Fox, this course will examine the challenges and possibilities of living an intentional and successful life.

Kris teaches clinical and other fun courses in the undergrad psychology department. She enjoys challenges, good coffee, Diet Dr. Pepper, a great joke, and spending time with her husband, son and two daughters. When you have the chance, ask her why she has so many cacti in her window.


The Presence Axis (GEED 130 E - 2411)

DymentCarla and Matt Dyment

Monday 6:45-8:45 p.m.

We will explore practical and creative ways to increase our capacity to give and receive love with God and others. Our main exploration will surround the Presence Axis, a theory turned spiritual discipline we developed over the course of the last four years.

Carla and Matt Dyment have been involved in youth and college ministry in the church and in residence life for the past 15 years. They thoroughly enjoy walking alongside young adults and helping them develop in a variety of areas. Both received their doctorate in ministry from George Fox Evangelical Seminary and enjoy backpacking together.


Science and Christianity: No Final Conflict (GEED 130 F - 2412)

Rusty St CyrPaul Chamberlain

Monday 6-8 p.m.

This course will look at the interaction between science and Christianity. Topics to be studied will include creation-evolution, the Big Bang theory, quantum mechanics, and origins of life. We will look at the interaction of science and the Bible and how this affects our view of the creation and maintenance of our world. We will also discuss why ultimately there cannot be any conflict between God's Word and his creation. Students will read, write and discuss, as well as take part in other learning exercises in the classroom and outside of the classroom.

Paul started teaching chemistry at George Fox in 1977. He has been the long-time director of the Juniors Abroad program that sends hundreds of students around the world each May. He now serves as director of the Center for Study Abroad, which includes the Juniors Abroad program as well as semester-long off-campus study programs around the world.


Why College Matters to God (GEED 130 G - 2413)

Rusty St CyrRick Muthiah

Monday 6:45-8:45 p.m.

You're making the transition from high school to college, pursuing a university education. But why? Why go to college? For some people, a college degree is seen primarily as a ticket to a good-paying job. If you're like me, college was just the next thing to do after high school. But what if there is more? What if your college experience can be about becoming more fully human and more aware of God's work in the world? What if studying science, history, psychology, English, and everything else actually matters to God?

In this class, we will use the book Why College Matters to God to consider these and other questions. We'll also examine how each of us can use our strengths to inform the choices we make, ways we study, and the future we see for ourselves, all of which "matter to God."

Rick thrives by helping students thrive! His education and work have centered around helping students develop into faithful and fulfilled stewards of God’s gifts in their lives. Rick has been at George Fox since 2003; he directs the Academic Resource Center (the ARC), the Disability Services office, the First Year Seminar program and the Academic Success Program. In his spare time, he and his wife (Beth) coach, cheer, play with, chase and fully delight in their three sons and one daughter (Caleb, 13; Corban, 11; Malachi, 8; and Esther, 6).


Do What You Do Best (GEED 130 H - 2414)

Rusty St Cyr

Kristie DeHaven

Tuesday 6:45-8:45 p.m.

Navigating life in college can be fun, exciting, scary and intimidating all at the same time. This First Year Seminar will encourage you to explore your strengths and apply those during your college experience. We will work to develop community, friendships and fun. We’ll also discover the resources available on campus to help ensure academic success.

Kristie DeHaven is a career and academic planning coach in our IDEA Center. She has been married to her husband, Dan, for 26 years, has three college-age sons, and two black labs. She spent six years living abroad (South Korea and Taiwan), enjoys cooking, is a great spectator of sports (especially basketball), and loves spending time with her family.


Getting Your Money's Worth (GEED 130 I - 2415)

Rusty St Cyr

Lynn Otto

Tuesday 6:45-8:45 p.m.

Is a college degree a good investment? Will it enable me to get a job that pays enough to live on comfortably and pay back my student loans? Are some majors better than others for my future financial security? Fair questions! A college education isn’t cheap, and you should get your money’s worth. Here’s another question: Is college primarily about training for a job or training for life? In this seminar, find out how your view of college will affect your education and what you get for your tuition dollars. Explore other possible perspectives. And learn tips for managing the money you have and for getting your money’s worth from your college education.

Lynn teaches writing and literature at George Fox. She earned her BA in theater and English at Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa, and her MFA in creative writing at Portland State University. She especially likes poetry, plays, movies, science and history professor Paul Otto.


Bittersweet: Thriving in Transition (GEED 130 J - 2416)

Rusty St Cyr

Mark & Olivia Pothoff

Tuesday 6:45-8:45 p.m.

How do you navigate the intricacies of change and transition? We’ll use digital media, excerpts from Shauna Niequist’s book Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way, and interactive class activities and discussions to explore both the challenges and gifts that accompany change, especially as it pertains to the college experience.

We’ll discuss what it means to not simply survive, but thrive during this pivotal time of growth in decision-making, prioritizing, new relationships and your academic endeavors.


Ted Talks Playlist: “What makes us happy?” (GEED 130 K - 2417)

Rusty St Cyr

Rebecca Torres Valdovinos

Tuesday 3-5 p.m.

Everyone is searching for happiness, but what is it? In this seminar, students will use the Ted Talks of a psychologist, journalist, philanthropist and monk to examine and evaluate the definition of happiness. One speaker considers the concept of “buying happiness”, while another looks at the question from the standpoint of choice, and another views this question from the simplicity of being human. These are just a few of the unique viewpoints students will interact with in delving into this question. The ultimate objective is for students to find their personal answer.

Rebecca was born and raised in the barrio of East Los Angeles, where she was schooled by the Sacred Heart of Mary order. She went from a single mother on welfare to associate professor at George Fox University. Three of her four children are college graduates, which include a nonprofit founder, computer engineer, pre-med student and artist. In her career she has taught more than 1,000 students along the West Coast and is truly happy!


Self-Leadership in the Midst of Chaos (GEED 130 L - 2418)

Rusty St Cyr

Trisha Welstad

Tuesday 6:45-8:45 p.m.

Who are you called to be and what are you called to do with your life? This course is focused on exploring our identity and our day-to-day activity while navigating our life calling and vocation. We will use creative means to catalogue our story, understand our strengths, diagram our support systems, process educational goals, and reflect upon our spiritual life toward building a cohesive self-leadership plan. The most important person we can lead is ourself, but we need to know who and whose we are in order to know where to go and what to do.

Trisha is passionate about investing in leaders to see them become all God has created them to be. She and her husband, Troy, moved back to Oregon in 2011. As a missionary in Portland and an advocate for seeing more laborers for the harvest, Trisha has promoted a growing partnership between George Fox and Wesleyan Holiness Churches in the area through her service as the director of the Center for Transformational Leadership. The CTL is a network facilitating the development of new and current Wesleyan leaders, churches and disciples through internships, equipping, mentoring and scholarship.


Health, Nutrition, and Cognition (GEED 130 M - 2419)

Rusty St Cyr

Chris Koch

Wednesday 6:45-8:45 p.m.

We are continually learning more about who the body works as a system. In particular, health can have an impact on how we think and learn now and in years to come. This class looks at the roles that exercise, diet and sleep play in everyday cognition. We will also cover skills that can facilitate learning during college and in the future.

Chris is a graduate of the Pennsylvania State University and completed an MS and a PhD in cognitive-experimental psychology at the University of Georgia.

He joined the Graduate School of Clinical Psychology at George Fox University in 1993 and is director of the undergraduate psychology department. He is also the current national president of Psi Chi, the undergraduate psychology honors society.


Balance and Excellence (GEED 130 N - 2420)

Rusty St Cyr

Jessica Hollen

Wednesday 6:45-8:45 p.m.

Excelling in the transition into college is about balance and time management. The transition can be even tougher for students involved in athletics or other activities. We will navigate through different ways to help you excel in each area.

Jessica graduated from Western Oregon in 2006 with a BS in history. She began coaching softball at George Fox in 2008 and is working on a masters in kinesiology with an emphasis in coaching softball from Texas Women's University. She has two beautiful daughters, Riley (2) and Kinley (1), and is married to John Hollen, who is also her assistant softball coach.


Indiana Jones and the Quest for Knowledge (GEED 130 O - 2421)

Rusty St Cyr

Matt Meyer

Wednesday 4-6 p.m.

Everything I needed to know to succeed in college, I learned from Indiana Jones. College is an adventure, fraught with peril. Around every corner lie dangerous booby traps, unexpected discoveries, attractive members of the opposite sex, gnarly insects … and a priceless prize at the end. In this class, we’ll analyze Raiders of the Lost Ark and snippets from the other Indiana Jones films to find clues to successfully completing the adventure that is college.

Matt teaches film, video and audio production classes at George Fox and is finishing post-production on a feature film he directed with Fox students as crew. His wife and two teenage daughters keep him sane.


Seeing the Matrix” and Mapping Out Your Future (GEED 130 P - 2422)

Rusty St Cyr

Corban Harwood

Thursday 6:45-8:45 p.m.

Can everything in the world around us be seen through mathematical relationships and patterns? Yes! ... and no. This seminar will discuss breakthroughs in mathematical representations of reality, as well as limitations of theoretical predictions. In parallel, we will use StrengthsQuest and other self-analysis tools to explore possibilities for your future and navigate through the changes in your first year at George Fox.

Corban is a full-time faculty member in George Fox’s department of mathematics and applied science. His fields of study in mathematics include mathematical modeling, numerical methods, and partial differential equations. He enjoys camping and hiking with his wife, Mary. See his faculty page for more information.


The Quest: Discover your God-Given Strengths (GEED 130 Q - 2423)

Rusty St Cyr

Marisa Lee

Thursday 6:45-8:45 p.m.

This course will help you better understand who God created you to be as a unique person with a unique calling in life. You will get to explore and better understand who you are through personality assessments and exploration of Emotional Intelligence. These, along with many interactive class components, will help you to learn more about yourself while helping you to build relationships with your fellow students. We will also delve into how to succeed in college academically, relationally, spiritually and professionally. You will learn how to access the many resources and people here to support, encourage and guide you on your journey at Fox and beyond.

Marisa loves engaging with college students and young adults as they grow deeper in their relationship with God and learn who he has called them to be. Marisa loves to learn, travel, enjoy delicious food, spend time with family and friends, be active, read the Word, and read other good books. She has been thankful to travel in Europe and Central America and dreams of visiting Spain. She lives in Newberg with her husband Joel and is completing her first year at George Fox University as a career and academic planning coach in the IDEA Center.


Spiritual but not Religious: An Invitation to SpIL at Fox" (GEED 130 R - 2424)

Rusty St Cyr

Rusty & Steph St. Cyr

Thursday 4:15-6:15 p.m.

“Spiritual but not religious.” More than one-fifth of Americans describe themselves with this phrase. What do we mean when we speak about “spiritual life?” Is it even possible to be “heavenly minded” and yet still be of some “earthly good” at the same time? And what does it have to do with figuring out vocation or what I'm supposed to do with my “one wild and precious life?” With this seminar, you will be invited to risk and experiment together, in the laboratory of real life, and explore what Jesus both modeled and taught about how we might set out to live lives to the fullest as God intended.

Rusty serves as the associate pastor for outreach and service and Stephanie serves as the director of student activities at Fox. They have been married for 14 years and love the privilege of sharing life with 5-year-old Ella Sophia, 3-year-old Matea Frances, one newborn son, and a Jack Russell 'Terrorist' named “Woody.” They have worked in ministry and friendship with students for the past 13 years in Missouri, Scotland, California and now here in Oregon.


30 for 30: Using Sports to Explore Life in College (GEED 130 W - 2440)

Rusty St Cyr

Jamie Johnson

Thursday noon-2 p.m.

Sports are wonderful entertainment while also allowing us to explore some of the most important questions in life. During this First Year Seminar, we will use ESPN's 30 for 30 series to explore important issues related to life in college. Anyone who loves sports is invited to join us!

Jamie earned his PhD in Christian education and teaches in the religious studies department, serves as an associate university pastor, and directs the Friends Leadership Program. He was an all-conference soccer player as a student at George Fox and loves anything to do with sports, especially getting to coach his kids in baseball and soccer. Jamie's wife, Erin, teaches in the social work department and was also an all-conference soccer player at George Fox. Our family (including three children under the age of 10) lives and breathes sports of all kinds, especially the Red Sox, Patriots and Timbers.

GEED 130 First Year Seminar-Transfer Experience (6 weeks, 1 credit)

GEED 130 First Year Seminar-Transfer Experience is an elective course designed to assist transfer students in becoming engaged members of the George Fox University community. Courses meet with an instructor and two peer advisors for two hours a week for the first six weeks of the semester. The course is a pass/fail course.

Transfer Experience: Discover your Story (GEED 130 S - 2425)

Rusty St CyrKrissy Findley

Monday 6-8 p.m.

We make decisions everyday that guide our life. Hear from other GFU alumni about how they got involved at George Fox to prepare for life after Fox. We will have the opportunity to learn from other people's stories as we learn to articulate our own life story. The main themes of this course will be leadership and story. Come ready to learn. Come ready to share. Come ready to have fun.

Krissy Findley loves helping students discover their leadership potential. She is an adjunct professor in the College of Business and the bookkeeper for Newberg Foursquare Church. She previously worked in Student Life for 11 years overseeing student leadership programming.

In her spare time, Krissy can be found chasing her toddler, spending time with her husband, gardening in her yard or watching a good movie.


Transfer Experience: The Great Adventure (GEED 130 T - 2426)

Rusty St Cyr

Sue O'Donnell

Tuesday 6:45-8:45 p.m.

This course is designed as a way to provide transfer students with the resources and skills needed to succeed and thrive at George Fox University. We will talk about how your choices feed into those skills and we'll strive to make ourselves ready for the adventure that awaits us. During this seminar, you'll also get the opportunity to learn about different campus resources designed to help you succeed as a student and develop your faith.

Sue is an associate professor of psychology and is in her 14th year teaching at Fox. She enjoys working with incoming students and helping them to find their calling in life. She also enjoys spending time with her husband Sam, her kids, and her granddaughter.

Learn more about us through the George Fox University Vimeo channel.