Learning Communities: Unlocking Student Potential

Learning Communities:
Unlocking Student Potential
Social issue-focused
Workshop Objective: We will discuss the purpose of the Learning
Communities program and identify its primary challenges.
Outcome: Faculty will understand the purpose of the program and
strategize ways to stimulate learning among its target population.
“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people
to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and
work, but rather teach them to long for the endless
immensity of the sea” Antoine de Saint Exupéry
Target population: historically underserved and first-year
Program purpose: assist students in reaching their
academic goals by building a sense of community, social
support, and student engagement
Program Learning Outcomes
Students will:
engage in learning through facilitated faculty and peer interaction
collaborate with peers who share similar personal and/or career
appreciate diversity in people, cultures, and experiences
identify and choose appropriate academic and career support
demonstrate confidence in their academic abilities
In groups of 2-3:
 In a previous semester, how did you make your
learning community successful?
If new to this program, what would you do to
make your learning community successful?
(5 minutes)
Learning Communities Studies
According to studies, learning communities tend to
retain higher numbers of students and result in
greater student completion rates.
In groups of 2-3:
 What is your reaction to this statement? Does it surprise
you? Why or why not?
(5 minutes)
Learning Communities Data
Examine the SJDC Learning Communities course
success and retention rates from 2011-2012
(handout available on Docushare).
In groups of 2-3:
 What trends do you see?
 What high points/low points?
 What does data show in terms of the program’s
The LC Paradox
Based on recent data, many SJDC learning communities are
NOT retaining higher numbers of students and resulting in
greater completion rates. Thus, the program overall is not
helping our historically underserved students meet their
academic goals to the extent that we would prefer.
In groups of 2-3:
 List five or more reasons behind this paradox (i.e. reasons why the
program isn’t as successful as we think it should be).
Next, narrow your list to reasons that we, as faculty, can control.
Cross out reasons that are beyond our control.
Fueling Student Success
Which of these issues can we immediately
address to better serve our target population and
increase student completion rates?
Debrief and Next Steps
What questions remain for you regarding the
purpose of the Learning Communities program
and its challenges?
Contemplate what you can do to better serve
your learning community students.
Thanks for being part of the
Learning Communities program!

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