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"One of the most powerful ideas in higher education today is transforming campuses into learning communities. At last, Shapiro and Levine have given us-faculty, students, and administrators—a handbook on how to accomplish this. It is one of those too rare and much-needed volumes on translating theory into practice by authors who have actually done it."
—Arthur Levine, president, Teachers College, Columbia University
"Shapiro and Levine convince us that learning communities address what we now know about how students learn inside and outside the classroom. Read this book for conceptual rationale, practical answers to implementation questions, and passionate voices that speak for a social contract among students, faculty members, and institutions, a contract enacted and assessed for the benefit of all."
—Barbara L. Cambridge, director, Teaching Initiatives, American Association for Higher Education
"Everything you always wanted to know about learning communities, but perhaps hadn't known enough to ask.... Shapiro and Levine are to be commended for this fine addition to the expanding literature base on one of the most important educational innovations of our time."
—John N. Gardner, executive director and distinguished professor, National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition/University 101, University of South Carolina
In recent years, learning communities—a curricular instructional innovation that integrates different facets of the undergraduate experience to enhance and enrich learning—have become the most promising new strategy for promoting student success and satisfaction in college. Learning communities give students the chance to deepen and diversify their education, connect with others who share their interests, and actively participate in the educational process.
Creating Learning Communities is a practical, insightful guide to the essentials of this rewarding new program area, including how to design, fund, staff, manage, and integrate learning communities into different campuses. Drawing from their own experience as well as from experiences of campuses around the country, Nancy S. Shapiro and Jodi H. Levine provide both a sound theoretical rationale and nuts-and-bolts advice on the logistical, administrative, financial, and turf-related issues of creating an effective learning community. And perhaps most important, they show how to ensure that such communities embody and fulfill the objectives for which they were established.
Readers will discover a pragmatic blueprint for creating a learning community that can be adapted to almost any campus culture—including specific guidance on who should be on planning committees, samples of syllabi for interdisciplinary courses, monthly activity calendars, and other operational program models.
The Authors Nancy S. Shapiro is director of the K-16 Teaching-Learning Partnership in the Office of Academic Affairs, University System of Maryland. She was founding executive director of the College Park Scholars Program at the University of Maryland, College Park.
Jodi H. Levine is director of First-Year Programs at Temple University and teaches in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies.
Introduction: Why Learning Communities?
Types and Models of Learning Communities.
Creating a Campus Culture for Learning Communities.
Developing the Curricula.
Recasting Faculty Roles and Rewards.
Building Administrative Partnerships.
Putting Administrative Structures in Place.
Evaluating and Assessing Learning Communities.
How Learning Communities Affect Students, Faculty, and the Institution.
Concluding Advice and Reflections on Creating Learning Communities.
Appendix: Learning Communities Contacts.