Learning Communities offer freshmen the opportunity to connect with faculty, students

lc-bookletNo matter how prepared you feel, adjusting to college life can be a challenge -- away from home, away from friends, and college classes that demand more time and effort than high school.

After launching its first learning community in August 2010, Fort Hays State University will have 13 unique learning community choices for incoming freshmen this fall.

"We have five new communities to offer our students this year, " said Dr. Tisa Mason, vice president for student affairs. "The new residential hall will be based around our learning communities when it opens in fall 2016."

A learning community is a group of 20 to 30 first-year students who share some common interests, take classes together, live on the same floor and participate in activities together throughout the year. Common interests include fitness, business, innovation, cultures, leadership and education.

"Learning communities are designed to help students integrate and enhance their freshman college experience and success," said Mason. "We have created a model around small groups to enhance learning and build relationships."

More than 300 freshmen are expected to participate in one of the learning communities.

"While each community adheres to a basic set of curriculum guidelines, each group takes on its own personality," said Mason. "Every learning community has the unique opportunity to 'go global' through service learning projects."

"We had a lot of students apply this year," said Mason. "We had several on waiting lists, and we had to turn some students away."

The Office of Student Affairs reports that learning community students have a higher GPA than students who do not participate, and learning community students report greater satisfaction with student-faculty interaction, campus support and collaborative learning opportunities.

"It was a really cool way to meet a lot of new people," said Emily Leiker, Hays sophomore. "I really liked my experience as a freshman and I wanted to help others."

Leiker was a part of the Everybody's Business Learning Community during her freshman year and will serve as a peer mentor beginning in the fall.

For more information, visit the learning communities Web page at http://www.fhsu.edu/lc/.