First Year Experience

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The First Year Experience is a university wide program focused on helping all incoming first year students make a successful transition to Western Illinois University. 

The purpose of the First Year Experience program at Western Illinois University is to help first year students make a successful transition to college from their previous educational or life experience.  The First Year Experience program is a comprehensive program that aligns classroom activities and campus life to affect a greater impact on the learning and growth of new students through emphasizing how to live “well” so that students can succeed physically, emotionally, socially/civically and intellectually.  Furthermore, the program will help students build meaningful connections with a variety of individuals from both the Western and local communities. 

Click on the tabs below to learn more about the First Year Experience Program.

FYE Classes

There are two types of FYE Classes offered: UNIV 100 and FYE Y.

UNIV 100 - UNIV 100 is an optional FYE course focused on assisting students in learning how to successfully transition to the university and discuss how to live well as a student (physically, intellectually, socially/civically and emotionally)

FYE Y - FYE Y courses will connect the material being learned in UNIV 100 to the topics covered in their pre-professional or department specific Y classes so that students are not only learning the material for how to transition (UNIV 100) but also have an environment where they can apply these tools for success (Y course).

If we can help students learn to live well as a student and be successful in their first semester they should be able to transfer those skills to their other academic courses in their first semester and beyond.

Academic Advising and Mentorships

Academic Advising

First year students are supported and assisted by their First Year Experience Academic Advisor. FYE Academic Advisors are the primary contact for all academic and class schedule questions. FYE students meet with their advisor multiple times throughout the each semester to ensure they are on a successful path. Academic advisors help students consider career and educational goals, direct them to the appropriate resources on campus, and assist with any questions they have regarding university policy.

Involvement and Support

Forming a connection to Western Illinois University is an important part of the first year experience. There are many ways to become connected to WIU and the First Year Experience program will help facilitate students in finding avenues for involvement and support.

Connection to Faculty and Staff

A valuable way to become connected to WIU is getting to know faculty and staff members who are focused on your success. Students involved in the First Year Experience program will have the opportunity to connect with faculty and staff throughout campus.  

Residence Halls and Living Learning Communities

All first year students will live together on FYE floors in Lincoln-Washington and Thompson Halls as part of the FYE program. The residence halls provide programming during the first 6 weeks of the semester for first year students to help them transition. These programs could be on a variety of topics which may include relationships, alcohol, financial wellness, time management, study skills, etc.

As part of the First Year Experience, WIU students have the opportunity to live on a floor with other students who share the same interests or major.

Student Involvement

There are countless ways for students to become involved in student organization throughout Western Illinois University. Through involvement with the First Year Experience Program, students will learn more about joining organizations via the Office of Student Activities, the Multicultural Center, Student Recreation Center, and student groups and opportunities found throughout each academic college.


The goals of the First Year Experience program are:

  • Create an environment where first year students will experience academic, personal, and professional success.
  • Identify where first year students are at risk of not succeeding and/or retaining and identify or create necessary resources.
  • Provide first year students the opportunity to form meaningful connections to Western Illinois University. 
  • Create and make available support for first year students in the form of resources and policies;
  • Educate first year students about created resources and policies, emphasizing their value and how to access.
  • Establish a community of faculty and staff who understand and respond to first year student needs in a timely and intentional manner.

Learning Outcomes

Through participation in the First Year Experience program, students will demonstrate; 

  • A commitment to learning, to success, and to achieving academic, personal, and professional goals.
  • A commitment to continue their education at WIU.
  • A commitment to building a supportive community with academic, emotional, and social support through peer communication and collaborative activities.
  • An awareness of student support resources and policies, like tutoring services, and further demonstrate an ability to access them and what they are, in order to succeed and use them when appropriate for success.
  • The ability to make appointments and meet productively with faculty, advisors, financial counselors, and other significant university personnel in a way that furthers academic success.


Associate Provost and Associate Vice President for Graduate and Undergraduate Studies

M Mossman

Mark Mossman, PhD
Sherman Hall 211 

FYE Faculty Associate, Professor, Liberal Arts and Sciences, Assessment Coordinator

L Baker Sperry

Lori Baker-Sperry, PhD
Morgan Hall 203B 

Assistant Vice President of Student Success and Enrollment

J Schuch

Justin Schuch
Sherman Hall 321