Office of Undergraduate Research

Learning Communities/Freshman Focus

Intellectual Interactions for the Purpose of Learning


Learning communities are groups of people engaged in intellectual interaction for the purpose of learning.  These groups are being used at universities across the nation, although WSU's is one of the largest residential learning community programs. It is named Freshman Focus.

Learning communities are away to attempt to address the usually fragmented nature of undergraduate education, helping students see their general education courses as being unrelated either to each other or to their major area of study.


Freshman Focus

Freshman Focus is a university-wide residential learning community program for incoming freshman students that runs throughout fall semeseters. First-semester freshman take at least one course with their peers in their residence hall.

The Freshman Focus program at WSU is comprised of 3 key components:
  • Student-student engagement
  • Faculty-student engagement
  • Introduction to academic campus events and resources

Freshman living in residence halls who are taking the University Common Requirements (UCORE) courses are included in the program.  Greek men living in their houses, Honors students, and students with substantial transfer credits (eg. Running Start) typically do not participate in Freshman Focus.

The overall goal of the Freshman Focus program is to increase students' engagement in the university—with their peers, with their courses, with the faculty, and with the broader learning goals of the university.  It is based on the understanding that students will have a more successful and meaningful entry into college if they have at-hand opportunities to talk about their courses with peers outside of class, to engage with faculty outside of class, and to see the connections that exist across classes.

To achieve these goals, faculty work in summer and the fall to create academic programming  in conjunction with the residence halls where Freshman Focus students live. Each fall, Freshman Focus faculty conduct a variety of out-of-class programs in the halls ...

  • Holding office hours
  • Leading discussions or review sessions
  • Screening relevant movies
  • Simply sharing a meal


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