Setting a Mercy Curriculum in Motion: The First-Year Learning Community as Campus-wide Collaboration

Main Article Content

Karyn Sproles, Ph.D.
Elizabeth McClintock
Christopher Meaner

Abstract

Part of Carlow University’s social justice mission is a commitment to providing access to education. This commitment can lead the institution to admit students who are not prepared for college-level work. As a result, the university recently removed a sequence of developmental classes because it lengthened the time to graduation, and there was no evidence that it helped students succeed. It also revised the First-Year Seminar (FYS) so that after the fi rst half of the semester, students selected a mini-course from a range of choices. This way, the supplemental instruction would feel more like an elective than a punishment. Carlow also ran the FYS as a cohort experience, in which students take courses as part of a community, given the research that shows that this “learning community” approach tends to improve retention. In addition, seasoned faculty members taught the FYS with the help of experienced students who served as First-Year Mentors. Institutional retention rates after these changes suggest that they were successful.

Article Details

Section
Special Focus on Mercy Higher Education
Author Biographies

Karyn Sproles, Ph.D., Carlow University

Dr. Karyn Sproles is Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Carlow University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Elizabeth McClintock, Carlow University

Ms.Elizabeth McClintock is Coordinator of Academic Advisement Programs, Carlow University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Christopher Meaner, Carlow University

Mr. Christopher Meaner is Director of Student Activities, Carlow University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.