February 2024

In the fall of 2023, U.S. News and World Report ranked the UConn Learning Communities Program in the top 25 of programs nationally. Earlier this month the Office of First Year Programs, Learning Communities, the Academic Achievement Center, and Innovation Zone (FYPLCAACIZ) welcomed Learning Community collaborators from across campus, alumni and friends, and current students to celebrate the profound impact of Learning Communities on student success and engagement.  Read more about the ranking from U.S. News & World Report here. 


Watch the Learning Communities Impact video created for the event here: https://lnkd.in/e85ASvBP 

Learning Communities (LC) trace back to the early 2000s when they emerged from the First Year Programs at UConn, although there were a few Learning Communities on campus in the 70’s and 80’s. Initially conceived as themed First Year Experience (FYE) courses tailored to specific majors, LCs have evolved into holistic programs supporting first- and second-year students in their collegiate journey. Students receive guidance on navigating campus resources, mentoring, and socio-emotional support; all aimed at fostering personal and professional growth leading to graduation. Select LCs incorporate service-learning courses, experiential learning opportunities, and communal living spaces within Residence Halls, enriching the overall student experience.

LCs offer cohorts of students a unique opportunity to explore areas of interest, whether aligned with their major or interdisciplinary subjects, through guided courses and co-curricular activities. The overarching vision of these communities is to foster knowledgeable, responsible, and engaged citizens within a culture of inquiry. These communities provide a supportive environment for students transitioning to academic life, offering the intimacy of a small college setting amidst the vastness of the larger UConn campus. They facilitate meaningful interactions with faculty, staff, and student leaders. Over 44 percent of incoming students participate in a learning community, extending beyond the first year to encompass hundreds of sophomores as well as some upper-class students serving in peer mentor roles. 

Over the years, the LC program has spawned numerous traditions and initiatives, including the LC Kickoff, LC Field Day events, Research Connections, and the Month of Discovery. Notable
collaborative projects such as HackUConn with the Werth Institute for Entrepreneurship & Innovation, Public Health House’s Health Innovation Projects, and the establishment of the Spring Valley Student Farm and the Peter J. Werth Residence Tower equipped with the UConn Innovation Zoneunderscore the program’s role as a catalyst for innovation and positive change.  

Recognized as a High Impact Practice (HIP) in higher education research, Learning Communities continue to shape the academic landscape by providing students with transformative learning experiences.  

View images from the celebratory event below!