|Public Affairs - Press Release|
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Nov. 11, 2004
MUW launches first learning community
By Jill D. O’Bryant
COLUMBUS, Miss. -- Twenty freshmen are part of Mississippi University for Women’s first learning community, a program designed to build community among students and their professors and to integrate academic learning into students’ social lives.
Dr. Bucky Wesley, vice president for student services, said there are many learning communities at universities throughout the United States, although he is not aware of any others in Mississippi.
“As a general definition, learning communities are classes that are linked or clustered during an academic term and enroll a common cohort of student,” Wesley said. “A variety of approaches are used to build these learning communities.”
The female students participating in MUW’s Honors Learning Community, which was designed by a group of MUW faculty, are living in Grossnickle Hall and are enrolled in three courses together--honors English, honors world civilization and introduction to college life.
The students are required to attend weekly Thursday night sessions, which are led by two senior honors students who serve as mentors for the group. Sometimes the students study together, attend on-campus lectures or meet with the professors of the courses they take together.
“A program like this one is so focused on the students that it encourages their social and academic success,” said Dr. Eric Daffron, English professor and interim director of the Honors College. “The program really fosters a community of learners and enhances their college experience.”
Daffron, who is coordinating the program, said the university would like to do another learning community for the fall 2005 semester.
Students for this learning community were selected from freshmen eligible for admission to the Honors College.
“I really enjoy being a part of the learning community because there are 19 other girls that I am surrounded by that provide help with academics and provide an emotional support system,” said Ashley
Davis, a nursing major from Muscle Shoals, Ala. “It has helped my transition from high school to college because it has provided a group where I immediately belong.”
Hayley Gilmore, a graphic design major from Columbus, agreed, “As a community, we not only live together and share ideas and opinions, but we also aid in each other’s learning process. I have met a group of remarkable and intelligent people, and I know we will remain close after the learning community parts ways and even after we leave college.”
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