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Learning Community award recipients recognized

Published: February 4, 2021 Author: Staff reports

Ohio University Learning Community Programs celebrated their instructors, student leaders and supporters at the annual Learning Community Programs Awards, held virtually Sunday, Jan. 31.

Outstanding Learning Community Instructor awards were presented to Dr. Yanhui Fang, Dr. Elizabeth Koonce, Suraiya Padiyath Abdulla and Renee Smith. 

The Outstanding Learning Community Leader awards were presented to Caitlin Hanifin, Danielle Klein, KJ Russell and Emily Wilson. 

Cody Sigmon, campus engagement specialist in the Office of Information Technology, received an award for Outstanding Learning Community Advocate. 

The award for Outstanding Learning Community was presented to the Pre-Law Learning Community led by Instructor Larry Hayman and Learning Community Leader Alexis Karolin. 

“In a year made uniquely challenging by a global pandemic, learning community leaders (LCLs) stepped up to help first-year Bobcats engage and connect virtually,” said Director of Learning Community Programs Kris Kumfer. “Learning communities play an important role in helping first-year and transfer students with a successful transition to college life. We are grateful to the faculty, staff, and students who help shape meaningful first-year experiences for students through our learning communities.” 

Learning Community Programs awarded Rauschenberg Family Scholarships to students Cristina Formichelli, Isa Herrera, Alexis Karolin, Emily McVicker and Kristle Owusu, all of whom will return as learning community leaders next year. Established in memory of Roy Rauschenberg, a long-time history professor at Ohio University, the Rauschenberg Scholarship recognizes outstanding students for peer leadership in Learning Community Programs.

Ohio University President M. Duane Nellis and Executive Vice President and Provost Elizabeth Sayrs shared video messages expressing their appreciation for the work of learning community leaders and instructors.  

“Our students this year have faced very difficult circumstances, but our learning communities guided them as they adapted to college life,” said President Nellis. “I’m thankful for the perseverance and dedication of each of you.” 

Provost Sayrs noted that the work of learning community leaders and instructors was especially critical this year as they helped students connect in meaningful and authentic ways at a time when most were unable to connect in person.

“Your willingness to support our students with your time and your talents helps our students succeed, not only in their first year, but sets their feet firmly on the path toward the kind of experience that we know changes our students’ lives,” Provost Sayrs said in a recorded message. 

Nominations for the Learning Community Awards are submitted by Ohio University faculty, staff and students.

A learning community is a group of students who take a common set of courses together or share a common experience around their academics. Through participating in learning communities, Ohio University students develop a deeper understanding of the courses' subject matter while they build relationships and learn together outside of the classroom. This fall, most first-year students at OHIO’s Athens campus were enrolled in a learning community.

For more information about learning communities at Ohio University, visit www.ohio.edu/uc/learning-communities or contact us at learning.communities@ohio.edu or 593-1953. Applications are being accepted for learning community leader positions until February 12. Students can apply at https://www.ohio.edu/uc/learning-communities/apply