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Learning Communities

Updated  by mchetnik
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Learning Communities

Frequently Asked Question

Learning Communities


What is a learning community?

A learning community is a small, dynamic group learning experience connecting two or more general education or major-specific courses in an exploration of a common theme. Learning communities are limited to 20 first-year students per community and can be topic-driven, built around identity, or focused in a particular major. Working together in a cohort with a faculty member students have the opportunity to immerse themselves in an experience designed to explore the ways that ideas and knowledge cross traditional class and discipline boundaries. Some learning communities only run during the fall semester while others continue on through the spring.


How do I sign up for a learning community?

First-year students interested in participating in a learning community should fill out the learning community registration form and submit to the first year experience office via mail or email. Since a learning community is limited to 20 students, it is recommended that students submit their form prior to orientation. Please keep in mind that by completing the application, you are agreeing to registering for all of the classes a part of the desired community. If you have questions, contact the first year experience office at or call 978.542.2618.  The office address is 101A Dining Commons, 352 Lafayette Street, Salem MA, 01970.


What learning communities are available for fall 2019?


Illustrated Micro Memoirs: “Drawing” from Your Life To Compose Graphic Novel-Style Narratives (Fall only - for any students)


  • FYAD 100: First Year Seminar: Pictures, Panels, Pages—Comics By Design (fall semester)
  • ENL 110: Foundations of Writing (fall semester)

Hone your creative voice as you compose stories from life in both words and images. From one-paragraph observations to 450-word stories, we’ll build up confidence and skills to compose comic narratives. Draw from relevant life lessons to entertain, educate and inspire audiences. Learn the art of narrative storytelling by analyzing examples of award-winning graphic novels and comic books. Practice writing process steps to improve writing proficiencies. Work with a variety of art supplies to uncover your visual style. Storytelling is a relevant means of personal and professional communicating. Today’s world demands that you know how to create multi-modal compositions, i.e., using visual means to supplement your words.


Navigating the Media, Culture, And Everyday Life: An Intersectional Feminist Toolkit (Fall only - for students who identify as women)


  • FYCO 100: First Year Seminar: Girlhoods and Popular Culture (fall semester)
  • MCO 100: Media In Our Lives (fall semester)

We are surrounded by media and other forms of popular culture, and the messages they convey shape our worldviews and identities. In this learning community, students will engage with intersectional feminism as a lens for exploring media texts, popular culture icons, material culture commodities, and the marketplace. Throughout the semester, guest lectures, readings, discussions, screenings, field trips, and other activities will help students develop and hone a critical feminist toolkit. This feminist toolkit will be applicable to issues of intersectional equity, representation, and inclusion in our culture, as well as to the goals, interactions, and issues in their personal and professional day-to-day lives. The diverse experiences of Afro Latinx, Black, Latinx, and white girls and women (among others) will be explored.


Creating Positive Life Outcomes for Men of Color (Fall only - for students who identify as men of color)


  • FYSW 100: First Year Seminar: Creating Positive Life Outcomes for Men Of Color (fall semester)
  • EDC 115: Exploring Education (fall semester)

This Learning Community will provide men of color with an opportunity to deepen understanding of the social dynamics that positively impact the success, health, and well-being of their communities. From this understanding, students will work to build strategies for persisting and succeeding in higher education with the potential to transform their own lives and the broader world. This Learning Community is comprised of a First-Year Seminar (FYSW 100) focused on these issues – and exploring Education (EDC 115) which prepares students to examine contemporary issues in education while reflecting on their own experiences as learners. Both courses will be taught by two faculty of color, each with experiences in education and the social dynamics that positively impact the success, health, and well-being of their communities. From this understanding, students will work to build strategies for persisting and succeeding in higher education with the potential to transform their own lives and the broader world.


IMMERSED IN WELLNESS (Fall only - for Healthcare Studies Majors)


  • SMS 194: Health & Wellness (fall semester)
  • FYHC 100: First Year Seminar: It’s A Dog’s Life (fall semester)
  • BHS 101: Healthcare in the US (fall semester)

Being “well” can be a complex and complicated journey, one that impacts our physical, social, emotional, intellectual, environmental and spiritual health.  In today’s society, well-being is often overlooked and underestimated as a valuable component of healthcare.  As a student exploring the many facets of a career in healthcare studies, you will find in this learning community an opportunity to discover the meanings and impact that wellbeing can have on the healthcare industry.  Through readings, guest speakers, discussions, field trips and collaborative projects, you will gain a deeper appreciation and understanding of the role of well-being in the field of healthcare.  This learning community is for Healthcare Studies Majors (Healthcare Studies is a separate major from Nursing - Nursing students are not eligible to join this learning community).


VETERAN SCHOLARS (Fall and Spring - for veteran and military service students)


  • FYID 100: First Year Seminar: Veterans and Beyond (fall semester)
  • ENL 110: Foundations of Writing (fall semester)
  • SPC 101-A: Oral Communication: Personal and Professional (spring semester)
  • HST 107: The United States in World History II (spring semester)

The Veterans Learning Community offers students who have served or are serving in the military with the opportunity to complete some of their core requirements with a group of their peers. First semester courses will focus most intensely on the themes of resilience and reintegration, while second semester courses will explore the theme of engaged citizenship.