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Institutional Support

The more specific the purposes of starting a learning community program, the better the chances for implementing a program that fits well with the campus, the better the chances for assessment, and the better the chances the work can be sustained.
Jodi Levine Laufgraben and Nancy S. Shapiro

Effective learning community programs thrive when they are aligned with an institution’s mission and goals and receive institutional support.

Institutional support takes multiple forms:

  • Establishing an administrative home for the LC program--while this takes different forms on different campuses, someone needs to coordinate the efforts necessary to keep the LC program running. The strongest LC programs have both a coordinator and a cross-campus advisory group.
  • Ongoing professional development for LC teaching teams, including opportunities for student services professionals and academic faculty to discuss student development and well-being
  • Support for weaving out-of-class experiences and peer mentors in LC offerings
  • An assessment plan that attends to both the classroom and the program level, and helps those involved with the LC program engage in regular reflection and program improvements
  • Recognizing and celebrating those participating in the LC program—students, staff, and faculty

Strong LC programs are part of broader campus change efforts. Yet, as Adrianna Kezar points out in Change in Higher Education: Not Enough, or Too Much?, changing our campuses so we focus together on supporting student learning is a complicated process.