First-Year Seminar

First-Year Seminar (FYS) is a course designed specifically for Barton College first-year students. You may select your class from the descriptions below. You might choose one that relates to your potential major or one that sounds interesting.

All the FYS classes are designed to help you be a successful college student and, therefore, have some similar content. For example, all classes will work in areas such as study skills, time management, career research, and choice of a major. We will all use Life Is Not an Accident: A Memoir of Reinvention by Jay Williams as our summer reader. Your first FYS assignment is to read the book before classes begin in August. The summer reader will be available for purchase in the Barton College bookstore during orientation sessions in June and August.

You will meet your FYS faculty member and academic advisor when you attend orientation.

Course Descriptions

reggersRon Eggers
Dean, School of Business

Quit Talking and Begin Doing

What if Walt Disney ran Barton College? That is an interesting question to a follower of the Mouse and Walt. After reading a text titled “What If Walt Disney Ran Your Hospital?” I realized that the teachings of Walt Disney applied to a myriad of organizations and industries—not just entertainment. His quotes “If you can dream it, you can do it” and “The way to get something done is to stop talking and start doing” may definitely be used as a road map for higher education and life. Not every day can be filled with magic and wonder—or, can they? Our FYS journey will incorporate the wisdom of Walt Disney with the practicality of everyday life as we seek a WOW experience in everything we do. Your academic and co-curricular careers at Barton will be enlightened, and you may learn a few Disney songs and quotes along the way!

I came to Atlantic Christian College (now Barton College) in 1978 from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, where I served as a graduate teaching assistant. I began my career at Barton in the Department of Psychology, where I served for eight years. Since then, I have served continuously in the School of Business. I now serve the School of Business as dean and am currently chair of the Curriculum Committee, a member of the Athletics Committee, and co-chair of the Strategic Planning Committee with President Searcy as chair. In addition, I serve as assembly parliamentarian. Among students I am well known for my service as an advisor to the local chapter of Phi Beta Lambda, the student organization within the School of Business, and to the North Carolina state chapter (NCPBL) as both a director and state advisor. Believing that education should also be enjoyable, I am best known for my Case Studies in Business course, focusing on the Walt Disney Company, which includes a week-long field experience at Walt Disney World each spring. Paralleling the course, my interests lie in the areas of customer service and creating the ideal customer experience.

Melissa GoinesMelissa Goines
Program Director and Clinical Education Coordinator for the Athletic Training Program

What Is Your Perspective?

Life is a matter of perspective and priorities. Throughout this course we will focus on your perspective of your collegiate freedoms, responsibilities, and priorities.

Many of us enjoyed athletics all through our childhood, participating in one, if not more sports, as we grew up. With sports and life come tough times. As in the book “Life is Not an Accident” by Jay Williams, there are times when we may go through something that sets us back a bit, something that changes our course. College is no different. Athletics challenges you; professors challenge you; even being on your own will challenge you. It is how you view the upcoming challenges and the choices that you make to deal with them that makes you who you are when you leave this campus. In the book, after Jay Williams’ accident, he no longer had athletics as his outlet. His entire perspective on life had to change, and he chose to have a positive outlook on his new life.

I am a second year instructor and teach primarily in the School of Allied Health and Sport Studies. Athletics has been an integral part of my entire life as I have played soccer from the age of 10 through college. My biggest challenges were constant injuries, most notably an ACL injury my senior year of college, which ultimately ended my playing career. My perspective of the injury was this: Where one door closed, another one opened. My obstacle allowed me to spend a greater portion of my senior year of college focusing on my future career in athletic training and graduate school. It’s not necessarily what happens that matters, but it’s how we choose to view it.

In my free time I enjoy seeing all that North Carolina has to offer from the mountains to the beaches.

Carolyn HornickCarolyn Hornick
Lecturer of Education


Have you ever really thought about how many decisions you need to make every day? Some of these decisions are life changing, and some are inconsequential. What decisions led you to Barton College, and what decisions will help you achieve your life’s goals?

In our summer reader, Life Is Not an Accident, the characters must make critical decisions that alter their life’s journey. In some cases they are affected by decisions from sources greater than themselves. Together we’ll look at the insights we can discover from the characters and the decisions they make.

I have been at Barton for more than 10 years and teach in the School of Education with a focus on Deaf Education. I teach American Sign Language classes as well as several other education classes at Barton. I live in the neighborhood and am a sign language interpreter in the community.

I have a passion for life and believe that each day is a gift. I strive to embrace joy as a way of life. I find pleasure through mountain biking and yoga; through reading and my book clubs; through my family, friends, and students.

I invite you to come on this journey with me. It will be the best decision you make.

Elizabeth KiserDr. Elizabeth Kiser
Associate Professor of English

What’s Your Story? – Harnessing the Power of Language and Telling Your Story

We all have a story to tell. Whether you believe it or not, good or bad, funny or sad, we all have something to say; and there is always someone listening. As Jay Williams shares in his book, Life is Not an Accident, our lives are full of decisions, and each decision has a consequence. In order to chronicle his journey back to health, Jay kept a journal as he recovered from his life-altering motorcycle injury, and he later used those notes to tell the story we read today. In this class, we work on telling our own stories and creating our own paths to success while here at Barton College. We will explore the power of language by reading a variety of written works and by listening to and analyzing music, as well as creating our own written works.

I have been teaching in the School of Humanities at Barton since August 2007. I teach composition, technical writing, rhetoric, and various other writing-based courses. In addition to teaching writing courses, I am also the Director of the First-Year Seminar Program. In my spare time I enjoy playing Legos and having Nerf wars with my son, tinkering in my garden, and snuggling my sweet pup, Maggie.

Jane KolunieJane Kolunie
Professor of Biology

Rising from the Depths of Depression

In Jay Williams’s book Life is Not an Accident, we meet an amazing man brought down in both body and spirit by a motorcycle accident. This book provides a heartwarming description of not only the healing of the body, but also the healing of the mind.

This course will explore some psychological illnesses and the types of treatments used to improve people’s quality of life. We will consider the subject of depression in detail. Are people born with a depressive disorder? Was Jay Williams? Are there different kinds of depression? Once diagnosed, will these illnesses last a lifetime, and how are they treated? We will consider other individuals like Jay Williams whose lives changed in an instant and, yet, they survived and thrived.

I have been a Professor of Biology for over 25 years at Barton College. I have spent most of that time teaching First-Year Seminar because I love working with new students. I enjoying helping freshmen to explore new avenues academically as well as in their career and extra-curricular activities. I pursued my doctorate in Animal Behavior because I love creatures with four legs, tails, wings, and scales. My husband Michael and I live with our precious Maltese, Bentley; our beige tabby, Lexi; and any other creatures I am rehabilitating through North Carolina Wildlife. When I am not working with students or taking care of animals, I love to sing, bake, watch movies, and go to the beach.

Gérard LangeGérard Lange
Associate Professor of Art and Design

Be Curious, Be Serious, and Live

Enrolling in college is the first step of the next five years of your life. Not that college is going to take you five years; but, as a student, you should not merely have your sights set on graduation. Where you need to be looking is that imaginary place on the other side of the commencement stage called “real life.” Now is the time to ask yourselves where you want to be when you graduate, what you want out of life, and who you want to be. That is why you cannot just be thinking about the earning of a degree as the end because it is the beginning. And, that is why you are at the beginning of a five-year journey.

This can be really frightening. So it is important that, as you make the transition from high school to college, you realize there are several things you need think about for your journey. First, you need to be curious. College is about expanding your horizons, searching broadly, and digging deeply. You are not here just to obtain knowledge that can be gleaned from a book. Instead you are here to make connections you never thought possible – to consider what science and history have in common, how reading literature makes you think differently about social sciences, and how studying math can make you better at art and vice versa. Second, you need to be serious. This means that college is a lot of work. Students coming into college need to understand that hard work, dedication, and perseverance go just as far – if not further – than getting the answer right. Thirdly, you need to live. At the end of the day, knowledge will only get someone so far. It is the experiences someone carries with them that truly define what kind of a person they are to be. But, as with anything in life, you have to learn to temper action with wisdom, to play hard and have fun while also living up to your responsibilities.

This course will explore what it means to make the transition from high school to college. Students in the class will examine these themes and more in Life Is Not an Accident: A Memoir of Intervention, by Jay Williams. In this book you will uncover an amazing story of success, setbacks, struggles, and perseverance. You will see what it means to define your personal journey and learnhow to shape your college experience around where you want to be five years from now. Most importantly this class will encourage you to be curious, to be serious, and to get the most out of your experience at Barton College.

Gérard Lange is an Associate Professor of Art and Design and has been at Barton College for 11 years. He has a background and experience in numerous arts media including graphic design, drawing, digital imaging, film and video, journalism, painting, photography, and sculpture. In addition to teaching art and design classes, Professor Lange teaches cultural study courses in the core curriculum.

Maureen O'Neill

Maureen O’Neill
Director of Exhibitions and Educational Programming
Visiting Assistant Professor

Finding Personal Expression in a Visual Language

Visual art can be a vehicle for personal expression that transcends the need for a verbal exchange. In the summer reader, Life Is Not an Accident: A Memoir of Reinvention, Jay Williams has presented us with a story full of struggle and perseverance. We will use these themes as inspiration for expression through hands-on, art-making projects. No prior art experience is necessary, just a willingness to create, learn, explore, and find personal expression in a visual language.

I am the director of exhibitions and educational programing for the Barton Art Galleries and also teach painting and drawing. I have been a professional painter for over twenty years and believe in the power of visual expression. My commitment to art began my first year of college when my drawing professor announced, “We are going to learn how to see this semester.” I continue to believe that making art can help you see, not only the external world around you, but also the world we carry within ourselves, filled with memories, emotions, and dreams.

I look forward to being a part of your transition into this exciting time in your life.

Teresa ParkerTeresa Parker
Associate Professor of Instructional Technology

A Little Less Talk and A Lot More Action: The Value of Co-Curricular Activities

Jay Williams in Life Is Not an Accident loved his extracurricular activity: basketball. He learned to play the game at an early age. He was a three-time Duke University Blue Devil All-American. He was the number two pick in the NBA Draft, but at the age of 21 he had a horrifying motorcycle accident, which dashed his hopes of that NBA career.

Your family believes that academics should be your first priority while you are at Barton College. We agree, and the First-Year Seminar is designed to facilitate your transition from high school to college life. Extracurricular and co-curricular activities are another component of a well-rounded education that will positively impact your success. Besides being fun and a great way to socialize with peers, co-curricular activities can enhance your time-management and stress-management skills, improving your overall productivity and academic performance. Co-curricular activities also increase your appeal to a potential employer.

These activities assist in developing the whole you and can bring out additional qualities that might not surface otherwise. You may discover an artistic side, develop leadership skills, or unearth some talents that otherwise might not have appeared. Working with a variety of individuals or groups on campus gives you a different perspective and helps you understand other points of view. While academic performance is of utmost importance, it is in these co-curricular activities that you often find your sense of belonging and purpose, and answer those important questions such as: Who am I? What are my values? Do I have a mission in life? What kind of person do I want to be? What impact do I want to have on the world?

Hello, I am Teresa Parker, and I will facilitate your journey to enhance your community involvement in co-curricular activities. We will begin building your non-academic portfolio. We will discover the goals of the 40+ student organizations on campus. We will explore co-curricular initiatives different schools offer. We will participate in Day of Service and other Community Service and Service Learning projects. I have been a faculty member at Barton College for over 35 years, teaching a myriad of courses, but recently concentrating in the Information Technology area. Basically, I live in the computer lab. My undergrad and graduate degrees are in Business Education, and I have additional coursework in Educational Technology—all from East Carolina University. My telecommuting hubby sells corrugated packaging—in other words, our garage is full of boxes! Our two children have recently graduated from college. My daughter (who got married last year) works at BB&T in Wilson, and my son has his own MetLife Insurance agency. When I am not at Barton, I love going to the beach.

Richard StewartRichard Stewart
Assistant Professor of Communications

Attitude Is Everything

It’s amazing how much attitude affects every aspect of our lives. As you leave high school and enter college, it’s a great time to perform an attitude check and undergo an attitude adjustment, if needed, to make sure college and the rest of your life are positive experiences that propel you upward to your greatest potential.

We will use the summer reader, Life is Not an Accident: A Memoir of Intervention, which chronicles the incredible story of former Duke basketball and Chicago Bulls star Jay Williams from the heights of stardom and the depths of depression, to take a comprehensive look at how attitude motivates or breaks our potential.

We will utilize self-evaluations, class discussions, class projects, research, and involvement in school activities to fully examine how attitude affects decisions we make. We will discover how attitude affects studying, time management, stress, diet, making new friends, and even our leisure time.

As a journalism and media writing instructor at Barton for the past 14 years and as a newspaper publisher for nearly 30 years, I have watched students and employees with positive attitudes soar to great heights while I’ve seen others with negative attitudes fail to thrive. Is your glass half full or half empty? Now is a good time to find out. Buckle your seatbelts and hold on tight, it’s going to be an exhilarating ride.

Rick Stewart, a 1971 graduate of Atlantic Christian College (now Barton College) with a bachelor’s degree in history, earned his master’s degree in journalism from the University of South Carolina in 1975. He is assistant professor of journalism in the Department of Communication and Performing Arts. He worked as a sports writer for The Wilson Daily Times before joining The Greensboro Record as a general assignment reporter in 1973. After working for the Greensboro newspaper for eight years, Stewart purchased Kenly News, a weekly community newspaper in 1981. Since then he has started three other newspapers, Pine Level News, Wilson’s Mills News, and The Selma News, for which he continues as publisher. His publications have consistently been among the top award-winning community newspapers in the state through the North Carolina Press Association. He has served on the board of directors of the Press Association and has served as president and is currently secretary/treasurer of the Eastern North Carolina Press Association. He is Barton’s adviser to the Society for Collegiate Journalists, the department’s honor society. He also serves as vice president of the national SCJ organization, where he oversees the national journalism, broadcast and yearbook awards contest. He was named National Honor Adviser of the Year by the College Media Advisers in 2004 and SCJ Adviser of the Year in 2008.

Jared R. Tice
Dean of Students

YOLO: You Only L.I.V.E Once

Jay William’s personal story in Life is Not an Accident: A Memoir of Intervention, reminds us of the value and impact each day has on our lives. The iconic Latin phrase Carpe Diem, or “Seize the Day” and musician Jonathan Larson’s “No day, but today” from a generation ago would certainly apply to Jay’ life through his story of success, setbacks, struggles, and perseverance. Life is certainly not an accident; each of us exists for a reason- a purpose. What will your purpose be?

In college, experiences occur daily inside and outside the classroom. The millennial generation has adapted the traditional Carpe Diem into Drake’s modern mantra of “YOLO,” or “You Only Live Once.” This course will focus on seizing the opportunities of a diverse community of learners that only a college can create. We will adopt the acronym L.I.V.E to emphasize four areas of the college experience: Leadership, Involvement, Volunteerism, and Education. This course will discover the importance of student involvement, service learning, and leadership skills through co-curricular activities, multimedia engagement, practical discussions, projects, self-exploration, self-impression, and personal experiences.

As the Dean of Students, I have the privilege of working with students directly as they move through their college career outside the classroom. Next year will be my sixth at Barton College, and it will be my fourth year teaching and advising a First-Year students.   My passion for working with college students was born out of my undergraduate experiences at a small, liberal arts college similar to Barton, which led me to pursue an education and a career in student affairs.

I reside on campus with the College’s unofficial mascot – Winston, the friendly bulldog; and, when I am not working, I enjoy good food and films, cheering on the Barton Bulldogs in our now twenty-one athletic teams, and visiting family and friends in my native West Virginia.

Adam TwissAdam Twiss
Director of Theatre at Barton

Creative Expression: Your Story, Your Voice

Each of us has a remarkable story to tell based upon unique experience, insight, and perspective. As with Jay Williams in his fascinating personal account, Life Is Not an Accident: A Memoir of Reinvention, we are forever subject to conditions beyond our control. It is up to each of us to determine our destiny as victims or victors of this imposed fate. Students in this class will use personal stories as a creative springboard to dramatic expression, formalizing and channeling each unique “voice” into plays and monologues intended to move an audience. A student enrolled in this course need not have any experience with plays, playwriting, or performing on stage; all that’s required is imagination, introspection, and a desire to be heard.

A professional actor, director, and producer for over 20 years, I have been Barton’s Director of Theatre and a proud member of the Performing Arts faculty since the fall of 2008. In that time, we have constructed and moved into the beautiful Kennedy Family Theatre, where we offer all members of the greater Barton community the chance to participate – onstage, backstage, or from the audience. I remain active with professional theatre, film, and television throughout the country and look forward to sharing in your journey.

Dr. Barbara ConklinDr. Barbara Conklin
Dean of the School of Social Work

Triumph … Tragedy … Triumph!

Welcome to FYS 102 – the eight-week course designed for first year students entering Barton College with 30 or more college credits. During these eight weeks, you will learn a lot of practical information to help you successfully make the transition to Barton, but you’ll also be learning more about yourself as well.

There’s no doubt that you have been focused and motivated in order to be entering Barton with college credits. How have you done it? What has kept you going? Through reading and discussing Jay Williams’ memoir, Life is Not an Accident, you will reflect on how he has persevered through both triumph and tragedy, and, in turn, challenge yourself on how you will handle the triumphs and tragedies of your own life.

I’ve been at Barton College for ten years as Dean of the School of Social Work. I love being in the classroom with students and am excited about being part of your first eight weeks at Barton. Students know me as that professor with the white Mini Cooper convertible. When I’m not on campus, you can find me in my backyard with my husband and our crazy dog Mazlo.