Fall Offerings

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.

ONLINE ONLY

  • English 101
  • Seminar 101
Cluster #2

Clean Energy Transitions

This cluster is full.
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.

ONLINE ONLY

  • Energy101
  • SMNR 101
Cluster #3
Explore opportunities available to students who major or minor in Spanish while sharpening your language skills and participating in Spanish-language activities and cultural events. (Designed for students with two years of high school Spanish or equivalent to prepare them for the intermediate level through review and development of basic structure and vocabulary. Also appropriate for students needing a review of the first year.) Students can take any one section of either Spanish 104 or Spanish 201 that fits their schedule. Note that this FIG includes only one lecture course plus Seminar 101.

ONLINE ONLY

  • Seminar 101
Cluster #4

Studies of Video Game Culture

This cluster is full.
Students in this Fig meet GUR requirements in the humanities and social sciences while exploring how anthropologists, and others, study video game culture.

ONLINE ONLY

  • A/HI 271
  • ANTH 201
  • SMNR 101
Cluster #5

Words and Music

This cluster is full.
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

ONLINE ONLY

  • Linguistics 201
  • Music 105
  • SMNR 101
Cluster #6

Mind & Brain

This cluster is full.
Philosophers have long recognized a close relationship between the mind and the brain, and contemporary neuroscientists have made great progress in mapping the many connections between mental events and their neural correlates. Still, many important questions remain unanswered. How do neurons store information? Can computers think? In this FIG we will draw from philosophy, psychology and neuroscience to think about thinking.

ONLINE ONLY

  • LING 207
  • PHIL 112
  • SMNR 101
Cluster #7

Environmental Justice

This cluster is full.
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?

ONLINE ONLY

  • ENVS 202
  • PLSC 250
  • SMNR 101
Cluster #8
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.

ONLINE ONLY

  • Computer Science 102
  • Design 211
  • Seminar 101
Cluster #9

Storytelling

This cluster is full.
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.

ONLINE ONLY

  • Communication Studies 101
  • Music 104
  • Seminar 101
Cluster #10

The Salish Sea

This cluster is full.
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.

ONLINE ONLY

  • ANTH 201
  • English 235
  • Seminar 101
Cluster #11

Global Citizenship

This cluster is full.
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.

ONLINE ONLY

  • International Studies 201
  • Seminar 101
Cluster #12

Bio-Culture

This cluster is full.
Students will explore 21st century issues such as climate change, genetic modification, vaccination, and eutrophication from multiple perspectives.

ONLINE ONLY

  • Anthropology 201
  • Biology 101
  • Seminar 101
Cluster #13

Climate Change Cognition

This cluster is full.
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.

ONLINE ONLY

  • Biology 101
  • PSY 101
  • Seminar 101
Cluster #14
Do movies and plays accurately mirror the psychology of human experience, or distort it?

ONLINE ONLY

  • Psychology 101
  • Theatre 201
  • Seminar 101
Cluster #15
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.

ONLINE ONLY

  • History 103
  • Political Science 250
  • Seminar 101
Cluster #16
What features do contemporary religions of the world and ancient myths share?

  • Anthropology 201
  • Religion 231
  • Seminar 101
Cluster #17

Frames of Mind

This cluster is full.
In this FIG, students investigate the interrelationships of psychology and anthropology and the connections among people, behavior, and social and cultural ties.

ONLINE ONLY

  • Anthropology 201
  • Psychology 119
  • Seminar 101
Cluster #18

Exploring Sociology

This cluster is full.
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

ONLINE ONLY

  • History 103
  • Sociology 255
  • Seminar 101
Cluster #19

The Business of Music

This cluster is full.
Should we pay when we play?

ONLINE ONLY

  • ECON 101
  • Music 105
  • Seminar 101
Cluster #20

Gender and the Media

This cluster is full.
What can we learn about our notions of male and female through introductions to the study of mass media, women studies, and masculinity?

ONLINE ONLY

  • Journalism 190
  • Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies 211
  • Seminar 101
Cluster #21
Students in this FIG are introduced to the field of Ethnic Studies through a study of the anti-racist practices of an array of contemporary artists working in the United States, Israel/Palestine, and Europe.

ONLINE ONLY

  • ENG 235
  • SOC 271
  • Seminar 101
Cluster #22

Entrepreneurship

This cluster is full.
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.

ONLINE ONLY

  • Communication Studies 101
  • Environmental Science 101
  • Seminar 101
Cluster #23

A Presence for the Past

This cluster is full.
Unleashing the lessons of history through narrative writing, longform journalism, and digital story telling.

ONLINE ONLY

  • English 101
  • History 104
  • Seminar 101
Cluster #24
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.

ONLINE ONLY

  • CSCI 102
  • SMNR 101
  • SOC 271
Cluster #25
Students in this FIG explore the wonder of language, its evolution in human societies, and the opportunities available to students who major or minor in linguistics.

ONLINE ONLY

  • ENG 227
  • Seminar 101
Cluster #26
“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”.

ONLINE ONLY

  • History 104
  • PSY 101
  • Seminar 101
Cluster #27

Anti-Racism in Contemporary Art

This cluster is full.
Students in this FIG meet a GUR requirement while studying the uses and function of art in contemporary society and the role of artists and art in efforts to combat racism.

ONLINE ONLY

  • ART 109
  • Seminar 101
Cluster #28

Outdoor Leadership

This cluster is full.
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.

ONLINE ONLY

  • English 101
  • LDST 100
  • Seminar 101
Cluster #29
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 ALEKS Math Placement Assessment (MPA) has been passed with a score of 35, or appropriate transfer credit.

ONLINE ONLY

  • ANTH 247
  • MATH 112
  • SMNR 101
Cluster #30
Do you need Math 112 and are hoping to pursue a science major and a healthcare profession? If yes, this FIG is for you. This FIG provides a small seminar for pre-healthcare students enrolled in math 112 who wish to explore science degrees suitable for careers in healthcare while preparing for the science and math prerequisites they require. The seminar is particularly designed to increase achievement in math and chemistry by helping students understand the use of math in science. If you are interested in this FIG, please speak with your advisor at Fall A&O. This FIG is not suitable for students who are math-ready to enroll in Chemistry 161 fall.

ONLINE ONLY

  • MATH 112
  • Seminar 101
Cluster #31
Do you know you want to be 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 also explore the mathematics most needed by those majors and careers. This FIG will help you to decide on a major and get you on track to be successful in your science courses!

ONLINE ONLY

  • ENVS 204
  • MATH 114
  • SMNR 101
Cluster #32
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.

ONLINE ONLY

  • LING 201
  • PHYS 101
  • Seminar 101
Cluster #33
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 ALEKS Math Placement Assessment (MPA) has been passed with a score of 55, or appropriate transfer credit.

ONLINE ONLY

  • Economics 206
  • Psychology 101
  • Seminar 101
Cluster #34
Explore the range of degree emphases and careers available to Environmental Science and Geology majors while completing required prerequisite courses. NOTE: Final registration for this FIG will not be complete until the student earns a minimum ALEKS Math Placement Assessment (MPA) score of 70, or appropriate transfer credit.

ONLINE ONLY

  • Chemistry 161
  • Geology 211
  • Seminar 101
Cluster #35

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.

ONLINE ONLY

  • Communication Studies 101
  • Sociology 269
  • Seminar 101
Cluster #36

Engaged Engineering Scholars Seminar

This cluster is available by invitation only.
Students in this FIG meet key prerequisites for the engineering majors (including Electrical Engineering, Manufacturing Engineering, and Plastics & Composites Engineering), while also exploring recent progress in tackling the "Grand Challenges for Engineering" that society faces in the coming century. NOTE: Final registration for this FIG will not be complete until the student earns a minimum ALEKS Math Placement Assessment (MPA) score of 80, or appropriate transfer credit.

ONLINE ONLY

  • MATH 124
  • PHYS 161
  • Engineering 197C
Cluster #37

Woodring Future Scholars (WC1)

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

ONLINE ONLY

  • Communication 101
  • Education 115
  • Sociology 269
  • Seminar 101
Cluster #38

Woodring Future Scholars (WC2)

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

ONLINE ONLY

  • Communication 101
  • Education 115
  • Sociology 269
  • Seminar 101