Our First-Year Learning Community at BCC is an intentional restructuring of student and faculty time to build community. We seek to foster more explicit connections between students, between students and faculty, between faculty and counselors, and between developmental learning and academic disciplines. We work in clusters consisting of a developmental course in Mathematics, English, or Reading, an academic discipline, and a college orientation course. Faculty collaborate, meeting weekly to focus upon student needs, to integrate curricula, and to develop common themes. Basic skills are applied directly to an academic discipline and counseling is focused on classroom needs and faculty input. During the semester, students work toward creating thematic projects which they will present to an audience of peers at a final showcase. The goal is to make student learning transparent, and, in doing so, strengthen student self-efficacy.
The learning community program offers added resources, including individual peer tutoring, coaching in the use of technology to enhance presentation skills, smaller class size in academic disciplines, reassigned time for faculty, and social opportunities for students. Developmental skills faculty, academic discipline faculty, and college counselors establish a sense of common purpose. Most important, students feel special and supported in their peer group and there is an increased sense of identity, cohesion, and connection with the college.