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The Advisor Spring 2006

First-Year Enhancement



Submitted by Wendy Merb-Brown,
Director, Learning Community Programs


In fall 2006, we anticipate over 1000 first-year students will be participating in over 60 separate learning communities at Ohio University.  These LCs encompass almost every academic program at OU.


A learning community is an intentional clustering of courses that a group of students (the learning community) takes in common to allow them to develop a deeper understanding of the courses’ subject matter while they build relationships and learn together outside the classroom.   Students typically take two required general education courses as well as a smaller enrollment course (usually a freshman seminar course) that serves as the core of the learning community. 


There are many different types of learning communities available for students interested in participating, most of which take place fall quarter only.  College-based learning communities are designed to meet the academic requirements of the corresponding college or specific major(s).  General learning communities are designed for any student regardless of major.  There are also communities that target specific populations of students, such as commuter students, transfer students, and ROTC scholarship recipients.  Some communities also have the added benefit of the students living in the same residential area – which allows for ready study-partners and social connections. 


Most LCs provide the opportunity for students to participate in out-of-class activities organized by a Peer Mentor who is assigned to the specific community.  While these activities are optional, they increase student connectedness to Ohio University.  Research has shown that participants in LCs have a higher GPA at the end of their first-year and return at a higher rate for their sophomore year than non-participants. 


Learning communities at Ohio University are a collaborative effort among University College, the Department of Residence Life, the Office of the Registrar, Business and Residence Services,and Institutional Research, as well as the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Business, the College of Communication, the College of Education, the College of Engineering, the College of Fine Arts, and the College of Health and Human Services.

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