For Faculty

ClassroomFrom collaborating with colleagues to working more closely with students, faculty members find teaching a Learning Community is very fulfilling.

“The two of us thoroughly enjoyed teaching as a learning community. We both felt that our subject matter was tremendously enriched by the connection to another subject. The discussions of the artists and arts we covered gave substance to a lot of the philosophical issues with which we dealt. Conversely, the opportunity to engage in extended conversations about the philosophical issues in the artwork allowed students to appreciate the art in much more depth. We would definitely recommend teaching in a learning community.”

John Garcia and Stephany Rimland
Harper Faculty

  • A common group of students is enrolled in the same classes.
  • Students and faculty build connections between subject matter, disciplines, and ideas.
  • The community focuses on a central theme common to the disciplines.
  • Courses are collaboratively taught by faculty from two or more content areas.
  • Collaborative and experiential learning are central to learning communities.
  • Multicultural thinking is encouraged to promote the understanding of diverse perspectives.

According the AAC&U, “Fostering students’ abilities to integrate learning- across courses, over time, and between campus and community life-  is one of the most important goals and challenges of higher education.” 

A number of factors merit consideration in choosing course combinations. These include:
Potential enrollment
Ability to fulfill General Education requirements. (Faculty are particularly encouraged to select courses that are among the top 20 taken by students in their first year of college and that fulfill General Education requirements.)
Compatibility of faculty who will be working together.

There are plenty of examples of unusual course combinations. We are aware of a Learning Community at another institution, for example, that linked dance and chemistry. The best learning communities result from the most creative thinking!

A proposal to teach a Learning Community must be completed and approved by the Learning Communities Workgroup. Please meet with the Associate Dean of Interdisciplinary programs prior to completing the application to ensure you follow all of the necessary steps.

If you have taught a Learning Community within the past two years and would like to schedule your LC for the upcoming semester, you need to turn in a scheduling request to the Learning Communities Workgroup and attend a LC Workgroup meeting.

Faculty collaborate to determine how course level assessment will be handled. In some cases, it may be appropriate to give the same grades for an assignment/assessment; however, this is at the discretion of the individual faculty members. 

Faculty are also asked to participate in program level assessment. There is a writing prompt that faculty give their students at the beginning and end of the semester. The writing assessment is anonymous and is used to help strengthen the integrative learning within the Learning Communities program.

Yes, Faculty can apply to teach an Integrative Lesson Link where one faculty member would teach a minimum of one session in a partner’s class. There would be an integrative assignment as a culminating activity.   

Yes, faculty are compensated for collaborating to initially develop the shared content of the integrative learning experience. There are stipends available for the various types of learning communities. Please see the application for details.


Last Updated: 5/23/23