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Learning Communities

What is a learning community?

A learning community is a small, dynamic group learning experience connecting two or more general education or major-specific courses in an exploration of a common theme. Learning communities are limited to 20 first-year students per community and can be topic-driven, built around identity, or focused in a particular major. Working together in a cohort with a faculty member students have the opportunity to immerse themselves in an experience designed to explore the ways that ideas and knowledge cross traditional class and discipline boundaries. Some learning communities only run during the fall semester while others continue on through the spring.


How do I sign up for a learning community?

First-year students interested in participating in a learning community should fill out the learning community registration form and submit to the first year experience office via mail or email. Since a learning community is limited to 20 students, it is recommended that students submit their form prior to orientation. Please keep in mind that by completing the application, you are agreeing to registering for all of the classes a part of the desired community. If you have questions, contact the first year experience office at or call 978.542.2618.  The office address is 101A Dining Commons, 352 Lafayette Street, Salem MA, 01970.


What learning communities are available for fall 2020?

Creating Positive Life Outcomes for Men of Color (Fall only - for students who identify as men of color)


  • FYSW 100: First Year Seminar: Creating Positive Life Outcomes for Men Of Color (fall semester)
  • EDC 115: Exploring Education (fall semester)

This Learning Community will provide men of color with an opportunity to deepen understanding of the social dynamics that positively impact the success, health, and well-being of their communities. From this understanding, students will work to build strategies for persisting and succeeding in higher education with the potential to transform their own lives and the broader world. This Learning Community is comprised of a First-Year Seminar (FYSW 100) focused on these issues – and exploring Education (EDC 115) which prepares students to examine contemporary issues in education while reflecting on their own experiences as learners. Both courses will be taught by two faculty of color, each with experiences in education and the social dynamics that positively impact the success, health, and well-being of their communities. From this understanding, students will work to build strategies for persisting and succeeding in higher education with the potential to transform their own lives and the broader world. This learning community is reserved for men of color.

Graphic Narratives: “Drawing” From Your Life


  • FYAD 100: First Year Seminar: Pictures, Panels, Pages: Comics By Design (fall semester)
  • ENL 110: Foundations of Writing (fall semester)

Interested in finding our own writing and visual style? Have you ever wanted to draw a moment in your life? In this fun, supportive workshop setting, you’ll use your life experiences to create short personal narratives paired with various artistic formats to illustrate them. Through looking at professional works, web comics, and graphic novels across time and styles, you’ll learn the art of storytelling in your own way. Drawing stories helps you think creatively about your experiences while expressing yourself. Have fun creating your own images and discovering your artistic voice.

IMMERSED IN WELLNESS (Fall only - for Healthcare Studies Majors)


  • SMS 194: Health & Wellness (fall semester)
  • FYHC 100: First Year Seminar: It’s A Dog’s Life (fall semester)
  • BHS 101: Healthcare in the US (fall semester)

Being “well” can be a complex and complicated journey, one that impacts our physical, social, emotional, intellectual, environmental and spiritual health.  In today’s society, well-being is often overlooked and underestimated as a valuable component of healthcare.  As a student exploring the many facets of a career in healthcare studies, you will find in this learning community an opportunity to discover the meanings and impact that wellbeing can have on the healthcare industry.  Through readings, guest speakers, discussions, field trips and collaborative projects, you will gain a deeper appreciation and understanding of the role of well-being in the field of healthcare.  This learning community is for Healthcare Studies Majors (Healthcare Studies is a separate major from Nursing - Nursing students are not eligible to join this learning community).



  • FYSW 100: First Year Seminar: Lifting As We Climb” (fall semester)
  • ENL 110: Foundations of Writing” (fall semester)

This learning community will provide women of color an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the personal, institutional, and social dynamics that can lead to success in college and life beyond college. In this learning community, students will develop strategies for persisting in higher education and in their internships, jobs, and beyond. As students practice academic skills, they will work on ways to transform their lives using models of success and learning to mentor others along the way. Students will have the opportunity to participate in on-campus organizations, attend field trips, and use a variety of lenses to examine the current state of women of color (African, African/ Black American, Latinx, Caribbean, Asian, Native American, biracial, multiracial, etc). This learning community is reserved for women of color.


Think Globally: Understanding Your Place in the World


FYWL 100: First Year Seminar: The Places You’ll Go! A Seminar on Travel (fall semester)

IDS 233: A Global “America”: “America” and “Americans” in and of the World (fall semester)

Are you interested in learning about other cultures and ways of life? Do you want to better understand who you are and how you fit into today’s increasingly interconnected global community? This learning community will explore ways to understand and connect with people and cultures across the globe, to understand how others view the U.S., to understand how U.S. culture has been shaped by global cultures, and ultimately to expand the way you see yourself and your place in the world.

On The Street and On The Screen: Latinx history, Images and Representation


  • MCO 220: Media Literacy (fall semester)
  • FYWL 100: First Year Seminar: ¡Sí se puede! The Impact of Latinx in the US (fall semester)

This learning community examines the Latinx experience at the intersection of everyday life and media representation. Students will be introduced to Latinx history, diversity, culture, identity, stereotypes, population growth, assimilation, and immigration, and then asked to apply those concepts as they acquire critical media consumption skills. This learning community is for students that identify as a member of the Latinx community.

Enterprise and Economics League (EEL)


  • BUS 170 Introduction to Business (fall semester)
  • ECO 201 Principles of Macroeconomics (fall semester)

The Bertolon School of Business Learning Community (EEL) is a way for first-year business students to connect with their peers and faculty in a new way. Focusing on creating an intentional community within Bertolon, EEL focuses on relationship building, academic excellence, and personal development. Students cultivate a strong working relationship with faculty, staff, and other students, while incorporating critical professional development activities into their experience. Students in EEL take two courses together as a cohort, can attend professional development seminars tailored to their needs, meet various Bertolon and Economics faculty during the faculty dinner series, receive one-on-one resume critiques, and visit the Boston Financial District and Federal Reserve! From structured activities to campus events and classroom experiences, EEL provides a Bertolon student the opportunity to start developing leadership skills needed for a 21st century business world. This learning community is for students that are Business Administration majors.