BG Learning Communities
Framework for success across many disciplines and interests
By Deanna Huffman ‘16
As the Greek writer Euripides once said, “Learning is more effective when it is an active rather than a passive process.” Here at Bowling Green State University, students are offered myriad opportunities to participate in engaging academic environments within residential learning communities that are located in various residence halls. Students experience the many facets of college life alongside individuals with similar interests within a community setting that fosters success in their personal, professional and academic lives.
Several communities hold classes within the community space. These courses are taught by professors who take a keen interest in their students’ interests and academic focuses, and whose offices are often easily accessible right in the residence halls. This unique atmosphere allows students to help shape their educational experiences by more easily planning group projects, calling meetings, and socializing with other students. Learning communities create and sustain a constant connection with friends, colleagues, professors, and the fundamental values of community so that students develop a dedicated support system as they pursue educational and life goals.
Statistical evidence shows that students living in residential communities make smoother and more successful academic and social transitions when entering college. They also thrive academically, interact more frequently with faculty and develop a strong sense of communal belonging, which results in a deep-seated connection to the University as a whole. In the fall of 2014, 1,268 first-year students (approximately 23 percent of students living on campus) enjoyed the benefits of living in a learning community at Bowling Green State University.
Learning communities are open to students with similar interests, whether they are based on academics, extra-curricular activities, or other shared experiences. For example, the Chapman Community in Kohl Hall is an award-winning program open to all first-year students who are interested in service. The Arts Village Learning Community in Kreischer Compton Hall is open to anybody who is interested in dance, art, theatre, music and creative writing. SEARCH, located in McDonald Hall, unites students from all majors, backgrounds and belief systems to participate in dynamic group activities such as book clubs, peer/mentor relationships, service projects and question-of-the-week dialogues.
Maddie Baumle, a first-year student living in the Natural and Health Science Residential Community (NHSRC), says that she enjoys the atmosphere of living in a learning community, as well as the social and academic benefits.
“I am surrounded by students who understand what I am going through academically and who are willing to help me out if I am struggling with a concept or class,” observed Baumle. “Being in a learning community has helped me create bonds with other members that have similar majors to my own.”
She also enjoys the unique academic support that a learning community offers. “I have found that having the extra tutoring services for science classes and a quiet computer lab has helped me improve my study habits.”
In addition, BGSU offers Educators in Context and Community (ECCO), La Comunidad, La Maison Francaise, the Global Village, and an Honors Learning Community that boasts over 400 members.
There are also several established residential theme communities. These include groups for Army ROTC cadets, Construction Management majors, and students whose majors fall under the category of Education & Human Development, to name just a few. The Aviation Theme Community provides a supportive atmosphere that is conducive for students’ early morning flight times and demanding coursework. The Batchelder Music Community hosts monthly “open mic” nights, and the residence hall — complete with practice rooms — is conveniently located near Moore Musical Arts Center.
Three new theme communities will be open to students this fall: ACTION scholarship recipients have the opportunity to join a community of students who are planning to be science and/or math teachers. The community will be conveniently located in Offenhauer West, and students will live within a close proximity of most math and science classrooms. Similarly, the Academic Investment in Math and Science (AIMS) community puts together students who are pursuing a bachelor’s degree in STEM-related (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) fields. Lastly, the Business District in Kreischer Darrow will offer exclusive opportunities, mentorships, and connections with alumni, and corporate representatives for first- and second-year business students.
As the learning and theme communities are continuously expanding and being upgraded, funding is an important aspect that helps create the environment for continued, long-term success. Recently, Tom Klein — the former director of the Chapman Community — generously donated $250,000 that will go towards the continual development and enhancement of BGSU’s many learning and theme communities.
As many studies have proven, residential learning communities increase student retention, and Bowling Green’s programs provide many dynamic resources to help Falcon students across a broad cross-section of disciplines and interests to get the support they need to get the most out of their University education.
For more information, visit the Learning Communities & Special Interest Housing website.