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As the Acting Executive Director of the Consortium for Illinois Learning Communities [CILC], I am aware of the challenges facing higher education under the current situation. I also am aware that it is becoming likely that the opening of 2021 will continue to present those challenges, as schools may not be able to return to education as usual.
As most of you know, the ability to “connect” a new student to your institutional community is a key in that student’s continued progress and in their retention. That connection is at risk without in-person contact with faculty and other student peers–something difficult, if not impossible to achieve through distance learning.
Learning communities can enhance that experience in many ways.
As faculty revised on the fly last spring, as they planned how to execute their courses for the fall, they have had to find their way in this often unfamiliar environment.
Too many wheels are being reinvented alone, and unnecessarily.
Therefore, I am inviting those receiving this communication to share their experiences in their learning community courses regarding how they have addressed our current reality–how they have fostered community, active learning, faculty/student and student/student interaction, and successful learning outcomes. [And, by the way, student success, satisfaction, and persistence.] Please send me your comments, experiences, syllabi, etc. and I will post summaries of what has been tried, and how things have worked out on the CILC website– www.consortillc.org .
If anyone would be willing to answer specific questions about their efforts, or to mentor other individuals in their specific efforts, please let me know. I will not link others directly to you but will serve as a conduit–giving you contact information so you can reach anyone asking for help, if you so choose.
2021 is around the corner, but there is adequate time to prepare for the best educational experience we can provide our students.
If you are teaching a learning community and would like assistance in any particular aspect of distance learning, or if you aren’t teaching in a learning community, but would like help in getting started, or in encouraging them on your campus, please let me know. CILC and its members are here to be of help.
Best wishes in your efforts for your students,
Charles Pastors, Acting Executive Director, CILC
In the future,this space will contain a variety of materials:
Information found that may be of interest to those involved in learning communities.
A brief discussion about learning communities issues that can be of use to those looking for a quick introduction, to those seeking starting points for developing a broader and deeper consideration.
Other items of interest, as they are suggested by others for inclusion.
Entries will be identified by general topic and the date they were added to this source.
LEARNING COMMUNITIES ARE TOO EXPENSIVE IN AN AGE OF TIGHT HIGHER EDUCATION BUDGETS [1/28/20]
In the fall of 2019, Iowa State University reported that their latest retention rate for learning community [LC] entering students was 7% higher than that for non-LC entering students. Also, the latest average six-year graduation rate was 11% higher.
Applying Iowa State’s latest tuition and fees for instate students, that translates to a gross income increase to the university of over 3.5 million dollars for every 1000 entering students in that LC program.
Of course, there will be expenses involved in staffing and operating such a large program, but Iowa State has previously reported net increased income from their actual LC program averaging over 3 million dollars per year.
Now, your institution is not Iowa State, so what might the figures look like for you? Looking at a pilot program of 200 students at a community college near Chicago, applying the lower Iowa State LC improved retention figure of 7% (well within that experienced by many institutions), using current tuition and fees at that Chicago-area school, allowing a payment of $1,000 to each participating LC faculty, and hiring new adjunct faculty to compensate for a reduced LC class size of 20 [at a cost of $2,664 for each credit hour], (sorry for the run-on sentence) that pilot program would generate almost $45,000 in new income for that institution. [Time to consider a $2,000 stipend for participating LC faculty, perhaps.]
That’s not in Iowa State’s league, but it does refute any assertion that a LC program is in any way costly. LC programs, especially those directed at entering students, if properly executed, more than pay their own way.
Nuf said, I think.
Dr. Charles Pastors, Acting Executive Director CILC
[Please address comments and suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org ]
The LCA is currently accepting webinar proposals for the 2019/2020 academic year. This is an excellent opportunity to showcase the work you do with learning communities and/or residential living learning communities. Webinars can focus on assessment, best practices, co-curricular activities, peer mentoring, faculty involvement, special populations, or other relevant topic.
Here is a link to submit a proposal: https://forms.gle/6msAPBihNae4ZzsV6
If you have any questions, or would like more information, please contact me.
Michelle Guzman Armijo, Professional Development Committee
At-Large Council Member
Learning Community Association