Anna Stanton proudly poses for the camera with her Bellarmine Knights sweatshirt

Learning Communities

Community, Support and Excellence: The Galileo Learning Community

Student Success

You’ve made the leap and have decided to enter one of the health professions, opting for a career in nursing, health care administration, public health, senior living leadership, physical therapy, radiation therapy or respiratory therapy. Or perhaps you’ve decided majoring in exercise science or athletic training fits your goals, or that a career in psychology or behavioral science is the future you want. You know these are all demanding fields with rigorous coursework, but you’re up for the challenge to enter one of these important careers.  

Bellarmine University’s College of Health Professions, Residence Life Services, and Student Success Center know you’ve made an important choice to dedicate your life to helping others. That’s why we created the Galileo Learning Community (GLC). A program for students in the health sciences and health care professions; a learning community created specifically to help you thrive in your chosen major during your first year. 

Galileo students succeed academically, and the data proves it.  Since its introduction nearly a decade ago, Galileo students have consistently shown better academic achievement and university retention rates when compared to first-year students not in the learning community. University research has also found Galileo students finishing their first year to be among Bellarmine’s strongest academic writers. 


"I have loved being a member/Co-Chair of the Galileo Learning Community because I’ve made friends for life and have learned valuable academic and career skills that will help me succeed in medical school and as a physician." - Anna Stanton


For the Mind, Body, and Spirit 

Founded in 2012 through a generous grant from the Brown Foundation, the GLC is a unique collaboration among Health Care Administration and Public Health (HCAPH), Biology, and Humanities faculty members; Residence Life professionals; and Student Affairs advisors that provides a “living and learning community” for enrolled students.  

The mission of the Galileo Learning Community is to create a learning environment focused on the holistic development of a health care provider, placing an important balance between scientific knowledge and skills necessary to provide care inclusive of the entire individual, not just their illness or disease. These skills include cultural competence, medical ethics, compassion, empathy, resiliency, and mindfulness. Emphasizing the health and wellness of the whole person, Galileo’s curriculum and communal experiences model support for the student’s mind, body, and spirit – cura personalis – as they learn the important personal wellness skills that will help prepare them for a life in service to the health and wellness of others. 

All students in the GLC have access to Kennedy Hall, where those living on campus reside together in double rooms. Commuting students have access to the building’s common areas and kitchen facilities, and can make themselves at home while on campus and participating in GLC study sessions, as well as any of the scheduled community and social events. These events are overseen by dedicated Community Mentors, Academic Peer Advisors, Peer Ministers, and Resident Assistants, many of whom are former GLC students themselves. 

Proven Academic Success 

Galileo Learning Community students take five of their first-year courses as a cohort. They are First-Year Focus (BU 100), Introduction to Academic Writing (ENGL 101), Anatomy and Physiology I and II (BIOL 108 and 109), and their First-Year Seminar (IDC 101).  The community has two full-time faculty members – Dr. Jessica Hume and Dr. Amy Tudor, both of whom are in the Department of Health Care Administration and Public Health – along with designated faculty from the Department of Biology, who teach Anatomy and Physiology sections and labs for the GLC, as well.   

In addition to faculty dedicated to supporting the program, GLC students have access to special study sessions designed solely for them led by academically successful students, many of them former GLC members themselves. Kim Kerns is the coordinator for the community as the Director of Learning Communities, and she coordinates all GLC activities and acts as the students’ primary GLC contact.   

Co-Curricular Events 

Students participating in the Galileo Learning Community have the opportunity to take part in unique co-curricular opportunities that are designed to augment the academic work they’re doing in the classroom. GLC students visit Bellarmine University’s Gross Anatomy Lab in Nolen C. Allen Hall, walk the storied paths of Louisville’s historic Cave Hill Cemetery, and tour local rehabilitation and health care facilities, including Nazareth Home. In previous years, GLC students have been certified in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), participated in fundraising walks for Alzheimer’s disease and breast cancer, and received training from The Kentucky Harm Reduction Coalition in the administration of naloxone to help prevent deaths from overdoses.   

These experiences are carefully designed to make topics discussed in class come to life for students, allowing them to attain a deeper understanding of contemporary health and wellness issues. GLC students gain valuable firsthand experience in their chosen fields during these events, as well. 

This unique model of shared experiences, community support, and a wide variety of academic and social experiences help Galileo students make friends, work with like-minded colleagues, create valuable contacts in their fields, better understand the interdisciplinary nature of healthcare, and receive the academic and personal support they need to excel personally and academically in their first year.  

Interested? Here’s What to Do Next 

You can get all the information you need to join the Galileo Learning Community by visiting the Learning Communities page at the Student Success Center. There’s even a link on that page with information on “How to Apply.” If you’d like specific information or have questions, please feel free to contact Kim Kerns, Director of Learning Communities, via email at or by calling (502) 272 – 8073. 

Tags: Learning Communities



Located in the historic Highlands neighborhood of Louisville, Kentucky, Bellarmine University is a vibrant community of educational excellence and ethical awareness that consistently ranks among the nation’s best colleges and universities. Our students pursue an education based in the liberal arts – and in the distinguished, inclusive Catholic tradition of educational excellence, the oldest and most rewarding in the western world. It is a lifelong education, worthy of the university’s namesake, Saint Robert Bellarmine, and of his invitation to each of us to learn and live In Veritatis Amore – in the love of all that is beautiful, true and good in life.