Learning Communities

What is a Learning Community (LC)?
A Learning Community consists of a group of first-year students who take a course together based on shared interests, skills, and/or abilities.

What is the Purpose of a Learning Community?
Learning Communities are designed to encourage interaction between first-year students and their faculty and peers, both in and outside of the classroom. Interactions with faculty and peers play an important role in students’ academic and personal success in college by providing a structured support network during the first-year.

How are Learning Communities Structured?
Learning Community courses are limited to approximately 15-20 students.  The intimate, small-group setting is ideal for class discussions, activities, and working through challenging course material.  The general education curriculum outlines the developmental, introductory, and 100 level courses that are open to first-year students, any of which can serve as an LC.  A few examples of Learning Community courses are: CRS 101: Critical Readings Skills; Economics 100: Principles of Economics; Communications 110: Communication for Academic Success; and Math 101: Introduction to Algebra.

Key Features of the Learning Community Model

  • Learning Community courses serve as a central space for communication and dialogue with first-year students related to coursework and co-curricular activities
  • Learning Community faculty serve as the academic advisor to the students in their LC
  • Learning Communities participate in out-of-classroom experiences that relate to their coursework or common interests

Going Beyond the Text Book
Learning Community faculty are creative and innovative in their efforts to engage students with the materials beyond the boundaries of the textbook and the classroom. For example, Learning Communities attend theater performances, sporting events, and museums to deepen students’ understanding of course content and materials.  Learning Community activities give students the opportunity to expand upon their knowledge and understanding of material in exciting, and sometimes unexpected, real-world settings.