University Community

Learning Communities celebrate outstanding leaders, instructors

Ohio University Learning Community Programs celebrated their fall 2023 instructors, Learning Community Leaders and advocates at the annual Learning Community Programs Awards, held virtually February 15.

Outstanding Learning Community Instructor awards were presented to Breanne Sisler, assistant dean of the Honors Tutorial College, Larry Hayman, director of the Legal Engagement & Pre-Law Program at the Center for Law, Justice & Culture and Center for Advising, Career and Experiential Learning,  Cody Petitt, assistant professor of instruction in the Russ College of Engineering and Techology, and Dave Lawrence, Housing and Residence Life faculty-in-residence, University College and Parks Recreation and Leisure Studies instructor.

The Outstanding Learning Community Leader awards were presented to Kaycie Tillis, psychology major, Collin Streuer, finance major, Maria Denny, strategic communications and marketing major, and Gretchen Hefner, meteorology major and Air Force ROTC member.

Tasha Hutchison, registrar services analyst in the Registrar’s Office received an award for Outstanding Learning Community Advocate. 
The award for Outstanding Learning Community was presented to the Psychology G Learning Community led by instructor Abigail Bartlett and Learning Community Leader Peyton Ingle

“With the support of the seminar instructor and the learning community leader, Learning Communities help students connect with their academic home and with a core group of peers who are figuring out OHIO together," said Barb Remsburg, director of Learning Community Programs.

Ohio University Executive Vice President and Provost Elizabeth Sayrs provided the opening remarks during the virtual event. She thanked the Learning Community instructors and leaders. 

“We know that those positive first-year experiences are so critical to creating that sense of belonging," Sayrs said. "Our learning community experiences really help our students to build community, and in many cases, lasting friendships and connections. That leads to better retention rates and stronger academic success and all of those outcomes that are really high priorities for the entire university and our mission. They are reflected in President Gonzalez’s Dynamic Strategy process."

Dr. Dave Nguyen, dean of University College, home of the First-Year and Student Transitions office, closed the event with congratulations and gratitude. 

“It is pretty clear and the data does not lie.," Nguyen said. "Yes, you have absolutely ‘rang the bell’ on this in helping students feel connected. I also wanted to offer my sincerest thanks to each and every one of you. Learning Communities can’t be ‘just one more thing’ for students, instead what you’ve made this high-impact practice do is create an integrated approach to helping students transition to Ohio University academically, personally, and socially."

Nominations for the Learning Community Awards were submitted by Ohio University faculty, staff and students. The nominations were evaluated through a redacted review process by a group of volunteer instructors and student leaders.

AAC&U identifies Learning Communities as a high-impact practice. 98% of first-year students have participated in a learning community over the past several years.

Past Learning Community Award and Scholarship winners can be found here.

Find more information about learning communities at Ohio University online, or contact us via email or 740-593-1953. 

March 5, 2024
Staff reports