A team of faculty and staff from Cleveland State Community College were selected to participate in the National Summer Institute on Learning Communities this summer held at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wa. Eighteen colleges and universities were selected for the institute based on their preparedness to engage in learning community work and other reform movements in higher education. Cleveland State was recognized as a leader in the Guided Pathways reform movement.
At the Institute, the Cleveland State team developed an action plan to create student learning communities for each of the College’s areas of academic focus, known as Career Communities. CSCC offers seven Career Communities in the areas of Advanced Technologies, Arts and Humanities, Business, Education, Healthcare, S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), and Social Sciences. Students will enter as part of a small group of like-minded persons all enrolled in the same a set of classes including a course from the major, a general education course and a first-year seminar course. A Career Community success coach will also participate in the learning community. By integrating content and assignments over the three courses, the learning community faculty will create opportunities for students to deepen their intellectual and social relationships with each other, faculty, and success coaches while exploring content and practices of their chosen field.
“Students persist in their studies if the learning they experience is meaningful, deeply engaging, and relevant to their lives,” stated Dr. Denise King, vice president for Academic Affairs.”
According to Dr. King, the camaraderie of co-enrollment may help students stay in school longer, but learning communities can offer more: curricular coherence; integrative, high-quality learning; collaborative knowledge-construction; and skills and knowledge relevant to living in a complex, messy, diverse world. By enveloping students in supportive and engaging structured learning groups, the college will be developing high-functioning, team-oriented, problem-solving learners who will carry these skills through their programs and into the local and larger world.