Don’t Be Afraid of the Learning Communities!!!! by afederoff

Just about this time last year, I was attempting to choose a learning community for my freshmen year. I know I was a little unsure of how much weight this held, how it would mold my year, and how to decide. Let me try to remedy that:

First and foremost, let me say that Duquesne’s Liberal Arts learning communities are awesome! They all really help integrate students into the Duquesne community instead a blunt transition. For this reason, you are “safe” picking any learning community offered. Basically, being a member of this community entails a couple things – you will have four core classes with these students (three first semester and one second), you will work on a service project with them through out these semesters, and you will live on the same floor as these people. Each community features different classes and a unique service project. These range from organizing organ/blood donation to publishing a book for senior citizens of Pittsburgh.

There are several ways you can choose your learning community.

  • By Location: Each community lives on a specific floor in a specific building. I know there are many rumors about the two buildings, Martin’s and Ann’s, and some students pick their learning community based on these locations. I DO NOT RECOMMEND THIS because it is not guaranteed the community will reside in the same location.
  • By Professor/Director: If you have met a compelling professor featured in a specific learning community, you may be interested in joining that community. Before picking this community, however, speak with the professor about the community: they will have a lot of great insight to offer you!
  • By Curriculum: While I would not solely choose your learning community based on curriculum, it is important to look at the classes each community requires: in reality, this is where a large amount of your time will be spent. I would encourage you to venture out of your comfort zone if there is a class you have never taken or do not fully understand, but if one class appears totally boring to you, that is something to consider.
  • By Goal: Each learning community features several nouns and a catchphrase summarizing what will be achieved in this community. For example, as a member of Narratio, my phrase is “Create a story about your community”. This is what appealed to me, and as I continued to read about the courses and Dr. Sora on ratemyprofessors.com, I realized this was the right community for me.
  • By Others: I know that some people are afraid of not knowing anyone in their learning community and band together with friends or acquaintances in order to prevent this. I would highly advise against this – first, there is no need to worry about being alone; chances are most people will be in the same place as you. Second, the curriculum and service project will take up a majority of your time. If you are not particularly interested in these requirements, the learning community experience will not be as fun and beneficial!

Here is a quick synopsis of each learning community (you can find more information here: http://www.duq.edu/liberalarts/undergraduate/learning-communities/index.cfm)

RATIO (RAH’-TEE-OH)
reckoning, reason, judgment, method

Improve your analytical thinking skills.

Director: Dr. Michael Irwin, Department of Sociology

POPULUS (POE’-POO-LOOS)
people, crowd, multitude

Explore the dynamics of cultures and societies, masses and movements.

Director: Dr. Charles Hanna

PERSONAE (PER-SOH’-NYE)
parts, roles, characters, personalities

Consider how individuals and groups shape one another.

Director: Dr. Leswin Laubscher, Department of Psychology

ORBIS (OR’-BESE)
circle, the world, the earth

Study other lands, cultures, and states.

Director: Dr. Mark Frisch, Department of Modern Languages and Literatures

NARRATIO (NAH-RAH’-TEE-OH)
telling relating, narrative, story

Create a story about your community.

Director: Dr. Joseph Sora, Department of Journalism and Multimedia Arts

LITTERAE (LEE’-TER-AYE)
letters, literature

Explore literature and society.

Director: Dr. Stuart Kurland, Department of English

JUDICIUM (YOU-DEE’KEE-OOM)
trial, legal investigation, judgment, decision

Search for truth and justice through evidence in the public sphere.

Director: Dr. Ronald Arnett, Department of Communication and Rhetorical Studies

FIDES (FEE’-DES)
trust, confidence, belief, faith

Challenge and strengthen your most important beliefs.

Director: Dr. Jotham Parsons, Department of History

FIDES (FEE’-DES)
trust, confidence, belief, faith

Challenge and strengthen your most important beliefs.

Director: Dr. Jotham Parsons, Department of History

CIVITAS (KEE’-WEE-TOSS)
state, citizenship, city-state

Prepare to make a difference in community and governance.

Director: Dr. Tsekani Browne, Department of History

Good luck,

Alyssa

Advertisements

1 Comment so far
Leave a comment

Wow…great information! Sometimes the whole decision process can be overwhelming–you really helped spell it out and put it all in perspective..thanks!!

Comment by christoph




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s



%d bloggers like this: