Fall 2021 First-year Interest Group Courses

In response to Covid-19 we have expanded FIG offerings and have reduced class sizes to permit social distancing and to make it easier for students to make friends and build a learning community. We have also provided both face-to-face and online/remote options. These will be synchronous in that they will be held live at the scheduled class time for at least one session a week so that students can engage directly with their peers and FIG professor.


Cluster Options
Courses in Each Cluster
Cluster #1
Want to thrive during your time at WWU and lead an amazing life after college but don’t really know where to begin? Do you want to learn by diving into a wide variety of experiences & activities at WWU to get connected & clearer about what lights you up? And would you enjoy learning from more experienced students at WWU about how they’ve decided what to study & engage in at WWU? Take this course to use skills of inquiry and design thinking to actively create a college experience that works for you.

  • English 101
  • Seminar 101
Cluster #2
A transition from fossil fuels to a clean, efficient energy system is key to reconciling our economic and environmental imperatives. To understand this challenge, you’ll study the nexus of economic, policy, science and technology questions around energy supply and use. You’ll explore the range of degrees and careers available to graduates with majors and minor in Energy..

  • Energy 101
  • SMNR 101
Cluster #3
Students in this Fig meet GUR requirements while examining the connections among environment, politics, economics, and identity. We explore questions such as: How is the environment related to race and other identity characteristics? How can maps help us understand patterns of environmental inequality? Are environmental and political economic inequality related?

  • ENVS 202
  • PLSC 250
  • SMNR 101
Cluster #4
Students in this FIG meet GUR requirements in Computer Mediated Communication and Immigration while studying entrepreneurial endeavors and innovations that focus on changing culture, community, social practice and business, as well as those that focus on changing people. The seminar will explore cases that reveal how activists, artists of color and nontraditional entrepreneurs have used social media, art, music and business practices to catalyze cultural shifts.

  • CSCI 102
  • THTR 201
  • SMNR 101
Cluster #5
What does it mean to live as a global citizen? Students in this FIG explore these and other questions while meeting GUR requirements through Introductions to International Studies and global migration and population issues.

  • A/HI 251
  • International Studies 201
  • Seminar 101
Cluster #6
Students in this FIG explore the art, science and power of storytelling across cultures while learning to perform stories themselves and discovering how narrative is central to human identity and communication.

  • Communication Studies 101
  • Music 104
  • Seminar 101
Cluster #7
Do movies and plays accurately mirror the psychology of human experience, or distort it?

  • Psychology 101
  • Theatre 201
  • Seminar 101
Cluster #8
This FIG will assess the presidencies of Andrew Jackson, Richard Nixon, and Donald Trump to explore themes of gender and the "self-made man," popular political movements and their critics, and the rise of American conservatism. Methodologies from history and political science will provide our critical frameworks.

  • History 103
  • Political Science 250
  • Seminar 101
Cluster #9
Sociology is the study of study of how humans behave and interact in groups--including families, religious organizations, schools and peer groups. Students in this FIG explore opportunities, degree emphases and careers associated with Sociology through the study of the American criminal justice system, US History, and a small, integrative seminar

  • History 103
  • Sociology 255
  • Seminar 101
Cluster #10
Should we pay when we play?

  • ECON 101
  • Music 105
  • Seminar 101
Cluster #11
What can we learn about our notions of male and female through introductions to the study of mass media, women studies, and masculinity?

  • Journalism 190
  • WGSS 211
  • Seminar 101
Cluster #12
Want to spend your time doing what’s important to you? Do you dream of controlling your own destiny and the chance to leave a legacy? Whether you’re interested in for-profit, non-profit, policy change or community development, learning the skills to become more entrepreneurial and innovative will help you direct your own future. Take this course to learn more about how you can drive change through entrepreneurship, innovation, leadership and communication.

  • Environmental Science 101
  • REL 265
  • Seminar 101
Cluster #13
Students in this Fig earn GUR credits in the humanities and social sciences while exploring how anthropologists, and others, study video game culture.

  • A/HI 220
  • ANTH 201
  • CSCI 103
  • SMNR 101
Cluster #14
Students in this FIG we will hone internet skills, emphasizing the internet as a medium of political and business communication, research, cultural exchange and worldwide collaboration. Students in this seminar learn basic principles of effective web site organizations and design, as well as design thinking and how design practice affects everyday life in a diversity of cultures (graphic, industrial, architectural). This FIG meets initial requirements of professional certificate Western offers in E-commerce, Web Content Developer and Web Programmer.

  • A/HI 220
  • Computer Science 102
  • Seminar 101
Cluster #15
Do we experience different forms of art in the same way? When listening to a piece of music, what does a musician hear? Is it different than how a writer hears it? When reading a text, what does a professional writer notice? Students in this FIG explore these and other related questions via popular music

  • Linguistics 201
  • Music 105
  • SMNR 101
Cluster #16
This FIG cluster focuses on re-envisioning dominant narratives that have come, in different ways, to define common understandings of the world. Bringing together courses that focus on world history, Indigenous literatures, and Black narratives (both historical and contemporary), this cluster will bring us to a greater understanding of how certain narratives gain traction while also asking us to become familiar with other narratives that contradict, correct, and coincide with those more mainstream stories. From Columbus to #BlackLivesMatter, students can expect to engage with narratives that are concerned with questions of racism, colonialism, gender, social movements, and globalization across an array of locations and times. With a broad geographic and historical focus, this cluster will give you the chance to practice using multiple methods of understanding the power of stories and the skills to re-envision some of the narratives with which you might be the most familiar.

  • ENG 235
  • HIST 123
  • Seminar 101
Cluster #17
In this FIG, we will experience the Salish Sea through different disciplinary approaches by reading Coast Salish authors and stories of place, learning about regional ecology, digging into layers of geology and history in the area, examining local issues of justice and equity, and more. We will engage in experiential learning activities like walking tours, scavenger hunts, debates, and storytelling.

  • English 235
  • SALI 201
  • Seminar 101
Cluster #18
Linked with Art 109 and Biology 101, this FIG engages students in discussions around race, racism, and anti-racist practice in the history of art and science. Designed around a series of artworks, case studies, and Ibram X. Kendi’s 2019 book How to Be an Anti-Racist, this seminar introduces students to keywords and concept as well as visual analysis and scientific method modes of inquiry, while developing critical reading, writing, research, and presentation skills.

  • ART 109
  • BIOL 101
  • Seminar 101
Cluster #19

Queer & Trans Thriving

This cluster is full.
Drawing on psychology, literature and other creative work, LGBTQ+ community organizing, and holistic wellness scholarship and praxis, we’ll explore many perspectives on what it can mean to thrive as an LGBTQ+ person, and barriers to thriving. Students will deepen their understanding of sexual health and the diversity of human sexuality in PSY 116 (Human Sexuality) and study a range of texts by queer and trans authors in ENG 227 (Queer Literature). In the seminar, students will explore resources within themselves, at Western, and beyond to support multidimensional queer and trans thriving. We’ll invite ongoing reflection about what queer and trans thriving means to students as individuals and as people in community.

  • ENG 227
  • PSY 116
  • SMNR 101
Cluster #20
This introductory seminar offers an exploration of academic content and essential questions within the liberal arts and sciences tradition. It also includes embedded instruction in academic skills and use of campus resources pertinent to exploration of the FIG cluster theme. In this FIG we will study the basics of modern climate science, and then investigate the way that different communities talk about and react to it. This will involve an overview of current frameworks related to climate change perception and an in-depth look at a couple of case studies, concluding in a final research paper looking at the thoughts and actions of a specific cultural or social group with regards to climate change.

  • Biology 101
  • PHIL 112
  • Seminar 101
Cluster #21
“America is not a young land: it is old and dirty and evil…The evil is there waiting.”—William S. Burroughs Using William S. Burroughs’s quote as a point of departure students in this Fig will meet GUR requirements while exploring psychological and historical themes in American gothic and horror literature. This Fig will specifically focus on how America’s unique relationship to its history as a country crafts a national psyche to produce something that can be described as “the haunting of America”.

  • History 104
  • PSY 101
  • Seminar 101
Cluster #22
Are you hoping to continue your development and explore more opportunities in outdoor leadership? If so, consider our Outdoor Leadership FIG. Students in this FIG meet GUR requirements while studying outdoor leadership.

  • English 101
  • LDST 100
  • Seminar 101
Cluster #23
This FIG cluster introduces students to the Department of Global Humanities and Religions -- interdisciplinary humanities courses that study societies around the world, from ancient to modern times. There is a particular emphasis on cultural history, the study of different religious traditions, and cross-cultural interactions, all drawing in a variety of global perspectives.

  • HUM 271
  • REL 231
  • Seminar 101
Cluster #24
Explore how anthropology, linguistics, and mathematics provide us with tools to discover and describe patterns in the real world. NOTE: Final registration for this FIG will not be complete until the student earns a minimum ALEKS Math Placement Assessment (MPA) score of 35, or appropriate transfer credit.

  • ANTH 247
  • MATH 112
  • SMNR 101
Cluster #25
37% of Americans work in the supply chain economy to make and deliver all the goods around us. Company leaders need to streamline and coordinate their company’s complex supply chains from raw materials to finished goods to generate competitive advantage in the marketplace. With sustainability thinking, supply chain management can have a positive impact on the environment. This seminar showcases guest lecturers from supply chain industry experts so you can hear about supply chain’s importance in a better world and what a career in supply chain is really like. NOTE: Final registration for this FIG will not be complete until the student earns a minimum ALEKS Math Placement Assessment (MPA) score of 35, or appropriate transfer credit.

  • MATH 112
  • Seminar 101
Cluster #26
How do children learn to speak so quickly? Can animals learn language? Do different languages operate by the same rules and systems? What makes Yoda sound like Yoda? Students in this FIG explore these and other questions as they meet GUR requirements and learn about the science of language and the linguistics major. NOTE: Final registration for this FIG will not be complete until the student earns a minimum ALEKS Math Placement Assessment (MPA) score of 55, or appropriate transfer credit.

  • LING 204
  • PHYS 101
  • Seminar 101
Cluster #27
Are you considering a Science Major, but are wondering what professions are possible? Do you have a career in STEM in mind and are wondering how to get there? Know you need to take Math 114 as a prereq for your science classes, but are wondering how you will use the math in your major? If so, then this FIG is the place to start. In this FIG we will explore the possible science majors offered by Western, and many of the possible careers that those majors will prepare you for. We will talk with advisors and faculty and get their best advice for how to be successful at WWU and in a science career. We will explore equity, inclusion and diversity in science and how who gets to do the science determines what science gets done. This FIG will help you to decide on a major and get you on track to be successful in your science courses and your career as a scientist! NOTE: Final registration for this FIG will not be complete until the student earns a minimum ALEKS Math Placement Assessment (MPA) score of 55, or appropriate transfer credit.

  • MATH 114
  • SMNR 101
Cluster #28
Explore the study of economic decision making through introductions to psychology, economics and marketing. NOTE: Final registration for this FIG will not be complete until the student earns a minimum ALEKS Math Placement Assessment (MPA) score of 55, or appropriate transfer credit.

  • Economics 206
  • Psychology 101
  • Seminar 101
Cluster #29

Diverse Voices/Distinct Voices

This cluster is available by invitation only.
Students in this FIG explore the concepts of race, ethnicity and the role of public speaking with a focus on personal empowerment and academic achievement. NOTE: This FIG is invite only, for any questions please reach out to Student Outreach Services

  • Communication Studies 101
  • Sociology 269
  • Seminar 101
Cluster #30

Woodring Future Scholars (WC1)

This cluster is available by invitation only.
Woodring Future Scholars - by invitation only

  • Communication 101
  • Education 115
  • Sociology 269
  • Seminar 101
Cluster #31

none

This cluster is available by invitation only.
nothing