FYE Cluster/Learning Community Resources

Web Resources

Below are suggested online sources of cluster/learning community information.


The National Resource Center for the First Year Experience and Student in Transition is the most well-known source of extensive information on the first-year experience. Access its book list, listserv, and readings.


The Learning Communities National Resource Center of the Washington Center for Improving the Quality of Undergraduate Research also has an excellent website on which the following is posted:

'What are learning communities?' and other Frequently Asked Questions
This primer on the what, why and how of learning communities includes brief answers to frequently asked questions, online resources, institutional examples, and recommendations for further reading.

The National Learncom Listserv
The focus of this email list, originally based at Temple University, is to provide a forum where learning community practitioners can discuss issues and questions related to learning community work. To join, you may
subscribe online


Below are three suggested books (and publisher-provided descriptions) from the Student Success Center Library that include interesting cluster/learning community information. A full list of books, periodicals, and videos available in the Student Success Center Resource Library is posted on our website.


Connoly, S. (2007). Learning Communities. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.

For Freshman Orientation courses where Learning Communities are part of the program and/or offered on campus. Connolly, Learning Communities, explores various programs, why they have been established, and how students benefit from them.  This book is intended to be an overview on collegiate learning communities. Part of our Student Orientation Series (S.O.S.) which consists of various short booklets on special interest topics–an excellent resource for when assignments or the course focus takes you beyond the standard coverage


Malnarich, G. Pedagogy Of Possibilities: Developmental Education, College-Level Studies, and Learning Communities. Olympia, WA: Washington Center for Undergraduate Education. 

This monograph invites developmental educators and learning community practitioners to create challenging and supportive learning environments for academically underprepared students. for adopting an approach to learning communities for developmental students and intentionally targets high-risk curriculum.


Smith, B.L., MacGregor, J., Matthews, R., & Gabelnick, F. (2004). Learning Communities:  Reforming Undergraduate Education. San Francisco: Jossey Bass.

Learning Communities is a groundbreaking book that shows how learning communities (LCs) can be a flexible and effective approach to enhancing student learning, promoting curricular coherence, and revitalizing faculty. Written by Barbara Leigh Smith, Jean MacGregor, Roberta S. Matthews, and Faith Gabelnick acclaimed national leaders in the learning communities movement, this important book provides the historical, conceptual, and philosophical context for LCs and clearly demonstrates that they can be a key element in institutional transformation


Below are links to seven articles on clusters/learning communities. If any become inactive, please notify FYE at fye@weber.edu.

Huber, M.T., Hutchings, P., Gale, R., Miller, R., & Breen, M. (2007) Leading initiatives for integrative learning. Liberal Education, 93(2). Retrieved November 4, 2008.

Through initiatives such as the national Integrative Learning Project, the higher education community is gaining significant experience in fostering integrative learning through changes in the curricula, pedagogy, assessment, and faculty development.


Lardner, E.D., & Malnarich, G. (Fall 2008). A new era in learning-community work: Why the pedagogy of intentional integration matters. Change. Retrieved November 4, 2008. 


Lardner, E.D., & Malnarich, G. (Winter 2008). Sustaining learning communities: Moving from curricular to educational reform. Perspectives. Retrieved November 4, 2008.

This article, published in Perspectives, a publication of the Massachusetts Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, describes what is needed to move learning communities from isolated programs that benefit a comparatively small number of students to campus-wide initiatives that are clearly aligned with institutional goals and benefit large numbers of students, including at-risk students.


Stevenson, C.B., Duran, R.L., Barrett, K.A., & Colarulli, G.C. (2005). Fostering faculty collaboration in learning communities: A developmental approach. Innovative Higher Education, 30(1), 23-36.  Retrieved November 4, 2008. 

Colleges and universities are adopting learning communities to increase student learning and build cohesion. As learning communities grow in popularity, institutions need to invest in faculty development (Oates, 2001) and understand faculty experiences (Mullen, 2001). The University of Hartford created a program that prepared faculty for collaborative teaching in first-year learning communities. Faculty learned to engage in collaborative behaviors, to think outside disciplinary borders, and to employ a specific template as a heuristic for course development. Results of focus group research about the faculty experience and the impact of the experience on their pedagogy are summarized.


Tinto, V. (Speaker). (1998). Learning communities: Building gateways to student success (Published speech). Supplemental Material 7(4).  Retrieved November 4, 2008.  


Tinto, V., & Goodsell-Love, A. (1993). Building community. Liberal Education 79(4), 16-22. Retrieved November 4, 2008. 

Reports on the increase in interest in collaborative learning in higher education and how people see it as a cure-all for a host of problems ranging from poor student involvement in learning to low rates of student persistence. Opinions; Background information; The process; Freshman interest group at the University of Washington; Coordinated Studies Program at Seattle Central Community College; Concluding observations.


Tinto, V., & Russo, P. (1994). Coordinated studies programs: Their effect on student involvement at a community college. Community College Review 22(2), 16-26. Retrieved November 4, 2008. 

Presents a study which investigates the effectiveness of Coordinated Studies Program at Seattle Central Community College. Description of Coordinated Studies Program; Quantitative and qualitative studies on the effectiveness; Report of greater involvement in academic and social activities in CSP students as compared with students in the regular curriculum.