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First Year Experience


Central Washington University (CWU) is committed to the development of a supportive campus enviroment. This is particularly important for first-year students as they transition from high school to college. CWU recognizes that a positive and engaging first year experience can make a significant impact in terms of incoming student' level of satisfaction, academic performance, campus involvement, and progress toward graduation. Although CWU has offered a variety of curricula, programs, and services heared to first year students for several years, these have traditionally been developed in isolation and/or have been loosely related in planning, implementation, coordination, and/or assessment.

Through supportive faculty, administration, and professional staff and through innovative curricula and programs, CWU will address the transitional needs of first-year students through a coordinated purposive first year experience (CWU-FYE).


The CWU First Year Experience (CWU-FYE) reflects the university's commitment to student learning, persistence, and success through:

  • a supportive university community
  • fostering intellectual inquiry, exploration, and application
  • a rigorous curriculum and outstanding teaching
  • supporting an actively engaging campus community
  • fostering positive relationships with students, faculty, and staff
  • supporting a high level of collaboration between and within divisions


The vision reflects the aspirations of what the CWU-FYE can be: To develop a coordinated, unified, and intentional experience for first year students that obtains regional and national prominence for excellence.


The mission is a statement that reflects the purpose of the CWU-FYE on the campus and serves as a roadmap for achieving the vision and affirming the values:

The CWU-FYE is a comprehensive approach to ensure first year students make a successful transition to college. The FYE program coordinates and integrates the efforts of all campus divisions to positively impact first year students' learning, persistence, and success.


The following reflect institutional goals as related to the CWU-FYE:

  • Increase level of academic challenge
  • Mobilize an active collaborative learning environment
  • Increase student faculty interaction
  • Enrich interdisciplinary educational experiences
  • Increase the level of collaboration between and within divisions

Processes for Achieving Goals

The following experiences and activities contribute to achieving the goals of the CWU-FYE:


Currently, the CWU-FYE begins in the summer with the Discover! New Student Orientation and Enrollment program and continues with Wildcat Welcome Weekend immediately prior to fall quarter. First Year students enroll in University 101 during their first quarter at CWU. Each student receives a copy of the University One Book One Campus (OBOC) which is a book selected by the University Community to relate to the current university theme. Reading the book and attending related events provide a common experience for all first year students. English 101 Courses have found ways to link OBOC to their curriculum. FYE students have a centralized Academic Advising experience that supports the general education requirements. FYE continues with the first six weeks intentional programming with collaboration of University programs to support the expected transitional issues students face. (i.e., Personal Wellness Week, Personal Safety Week, Diversity Week, Communication Week, Ownership Week, Celebration and Support Week)

First Year students live together on campus with a shared residential environment exposed to similar experiences in their first year of college. FYE intentional programs offered in the residence halls allow first year students to meet, live, and transition into college life together.

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