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About Learning Communities

About Westminster's Learning Communities

What are Learning Communities?

Learning Communities include a variety of curricular structures that link together two or more existing courses so that students have opportunities for deeper understanding and integration of the material they are learning, and more interaction with one another and their teachers as fellow participants in the learning enterprise.
(Gabelnick, MacGregor, Matthews, and Smith, 1990, p19)

What do Learning Communities look like at Westminster College?

Learning Communities at Westminster link two classes together with a common theme. Typically, at least one of the classes also fulfills a liberal education requirement. Sometimes, a course is paired with an INTR course which is a course designed for first-year students as a seminar class that focuses on issues about beginning college life. The majorities of learning community classes are designed for first-year students and are NOT upper division (300 level) credit.

Do I have to sign up for both classes of a Learning Community?

Yes, this is an absolute must. If you choose not to take one of the courses, you must drop the other course also.

Is there a list of Learning Communities offered each semester?

A list of current courses can be obtained from the START Center.

Who teaches the Learning Communities?

Learning Communities are taught primarily by full-time faculty members. This is one of the bonuses of Learning Communities. You get to meet and interact with professors who have chosen to teach first-year students as part of their responsibilities at Westminster.

Do I have to take a Learning Community?

If you entered Westminster during the Fall of 2006 (or after this date) as a first-year student, you will need to take at least one learning community during your first year here.  Take a look at the list of Learning Communities to see which one you will choose. There are a fixed number of learning communities offered each semester, so you may not be able to register for your first choice.

How can I tell if a course is a Learning Community?

The Learning Communities courses have an “LC” that appears after the course number. For example, PSYC*105*01LC is a learning community class in psychology that is paired with another ENGL*110*04LC learning community class.

What if I only need one of the courses offered in a Learning Community?

If you only need one of the courses, enroll for a section of the course that is not a learning community (LC). Multiple sections of liberal education courses are generally available.

Why would I want to enroll in a Learning Community?


The best advertising for Learning Communities comes from students who have participated in them! Here's what students are saying:

  • "I found this class highly informative and I loved it!"
  • "The class discussions were very mind opening. Students need a place that they are able to come and express very intimate views without being ridiculed out of class. This was accomplished."
  • "The readings were wonderful. It helps to become much more knowledgeable about the issues at hand."
  • "Discussions are amazing. All material was powerful and effective. Wish there was more time."

What is the grading policy for Learning Communities?

If you are enrolled in a learning community, you will receive a grade for each of the courses for which you have registered. It is possible to receive a different grade in each course.

I would like additional information about Learning Communities. Who can help me?

Please feel free to contact Dr. Barbara Schulz Smith, the Director of Learning Communities. She can be reached at bsmith@westminstercollege.edu or 801-832-2420 or in Foster 403. The START Center  and the Registrar's Office  are also able to provide information.