Learning Communities

Students in a lab looking in microscopes

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What are Learning Communities?

Learning Communities, simply stated, are groups of students brought together around a common theme or major in order to seamlessly connect curricular and co-curricular initiatives. The goal of a learning community is to integrate a variety of activities into an organized and connected experience for students so that student learning and student success is enhanced. Through the learning community structure, intentional efforts are made to create a supportive and inclusive network among students, mentors, staff, and faculty to assist in the transition to college. As a member of a learning community students will take a cluster of courses together during their first year of college. Students also have the option to live in Kennedy or Newman Halls, which houses students in the various learning communities. The residential component is optional as learning communities are designed for both commuting and residential students.

Mission and Outcomes

The mission of Bellarmine Learning Communities is to create a supportive learning environment designed for first year students in which academic and personal success is enhanced and nurtured.

The learning community program strives to:

  • Build a positive, inclusive network of support among students, mentors, faculty, and staff
  • Create an integrated academic and social experience to deepen student learning and success through seamless, connected and organized learning experiences

Our Learning Communities

Compassio Learning Community

Compassio LC logoThe Compassio Learning Community (CLC is designed for students who wish to engage in dialogue and experiences focused on the four pillars of the CLC: compassion, civic engagement, civility and community. Students in this community should have a special interest in creating a more inclusive society and be willing to engage in challenging dialogue about current societal issues of injustice and intolerance.

CLC at a Glance

  • Community Capacity: 20 students
  • Common Courses: Fall Semester: BU 100 First-Year Focus, English 101 or English 200, Sociology 101 or Psychology 103; Spring Semester: IDC 101
  • Residence Hall (optional): Kennedy Hall
  • Majors: All majors considered

CLC Mission Statement and Student Learning Outcomes

Deriving its name from the Latin word meaning “empathy,” the Compassio Learning Community (CLC) challenges students to think morally and ethically about issues of social justice so that they may be more enlightened citizens of a diverse and inclusive community that, in the words of Bellarmine University’s mission, “respect[s] … each individual’s intrinsic value and dignity.” The CLC educates students in issues of social justice by engaging in meaningful and lasting service to the community, so that they are able to discover their passion and call as a social justice advocate.

As an active participant in the Compassio Learning Community, students will understand:

  • Compassion: Increase understanding and awareness of contexts that inform social justice issues especially as they relate to the plights of others
  • Civic Engagement: Engage in service learning experiences and activities that immerse students in the local community to further explore social issues
  • Civility: Practice skills for respectful dialogue and active listening in order to positively explore diverse perspectives and experiences
  • Community: Understand the role, responsibility and commitment of each member in creating an environment welcoming of all
Eureka Learning Community

Eureka LC logoThe Eureka Learning Community (EULC) is based upon the theme “Explore and Discover.” The EULC strives to enrich the academic experience through a variety of activities. Such activities include opportunities to: interact and bond with other students to develop social and intellectual connections, develop skills necessary to be successful in life, and engaging in a nurturing and supportive network of peers who share similar academic and career interests.

Eureka at a Glance

  • Community Capacity: 15 students
  • Common Courses: Fall Semester: BU 100 First-Year Focus
  • Residence Hall (optional): Kennedy Hall
  • Majors: Designed for Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics/Actuarial Science, Computer Science and Computer Engineering majors
  • Requirements: Minimum ACT score of 23 and a GPA of 3.0
Explore Learning Community

Explore LC logoExplore Learning Community (EXPLC) is intended for first-year students who are undecided in their major and/or career path. This community, centered around calling and purpose, will have specialized curricular and co-curricular activities designed to support and empower students in their exploration of vocation and career pathways.

Explore at a Glance

  • Community Capacity: 20 students
  • Common Courses: Fall Semester: BU 100 First-Year Focus, BU 199 Career Exploration; Spring Semester: IDC 101
  • Residence Hall (optional): Kennedy Hall
  • Majors: Undecided or exploratory majors

Mission Statement and Student Learning Outcomes

The mission of Explore LC is to foster belonging and build community among students, staff, faculty, and the university as a whole and to guide students through a reflective process to discover their calling and purpose on their pathway to meaningful work.

  • Students will develop a strong sense of belonging at Bellarmine among their cohort and broader community.
  • Students will discuss, reflect, and explore “calling and purpose” to facilitate vocational exploration and experiential learning.
  • Students will explore vocation via opportunities for community-based learning and alumni mentoring.
  • Students will learn how to use discernment practices and career research tools to aid in academic and career planning.
Galileo Learning Community

Galileo LC logoThe Galileo Learning Community (GLC) is designed for first-year students interested in careers in health and medical sciences. The GLC challenges students to consider the elements of “Mind, Body and Spirit” as they explore the many facets of becoming a healthcare provider. Each of these concepts are important to health and wellness and are interrelated and must be considered as symbiotic.

GLC at a Glance

  • Community Capacity: 85 students
  • Common Courses: Fall Semester: BU 100 First-Year Focus, English 101, Biology 108 or Biology 130 (lab); Spring Semester: IDC 101
  • Residence Hall (optional): Kennedy Hall
  • Majors: Students majoring in programs related to the health professions: Nursing, Exercise Science, Physical Therapy, Biology, Psychology and Respiratory Therapy

Mission Statement and Student Learning Outcomes

The mission of the Galileo Learning Community is to create a learning environment focused on the holistic development of a healthcare 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. The development of these skills leads to better understanding of the inter-connection between mind, body, and spirit as it pertains to healthcare and defines a one’s identity.

As an active participant in the GLC, student will:

  • Mind: Understand the role that mental soundness plays in the identity and well-being of an individual
  • Body: Explore the meaning of embodiment as the relationship between a physical body and identity
  • Spirit: Acknowledge the importance of spirituality in a healthcare setting as it relates to the care of one’s physical body
Terra Learning Community

Terra LC logoThe Terra Learning Community (TLC), formerly known as Rachel Carson Environmental Learning Community, focuses on the theme “Sustainability: from words to action.” The community is designed for students that have a strong interest in the issues of sustainability and/or majoring in environmental disciplines. The students in the TLC will support each other in the courses they take, in environmentally conscious living, civic engagement benefitting the greater community and activities that align with the theme of TLC, such as a visit to a farm to table restaurant, projects in the Bellarmine garden, and outdoor activities.

TLC at a Glance

  • Community Capacity: 15 students
  • Common Courses: Fall Semester: BU 100 First-Year Focus & English 101; Spring Semester: IDC 101
  • Residence Hall (optional): Kennedy Hall
  • Majors: All majors considered; highly encouraged for students majoring in environmental science or environmental studies

Student Learning Outcomes

As an active participant in TLC, students will learn to:

  • Increase understanding of the multidisciplinary nature of environmental issues
  • Gain awareness of personal attributes and academic interests in enviro topics for developing or enhancing environmentally sustainable communities
  • Identify and practice opportunities for living sustainably, both locally and globally
Valor Learning Community

Valor LC logoValor Learning Community (VLC) is intended for first year and transfer Active Duty, Guard, Reserves, and Veteran students. The focus of this community will be the successful transition of military-affiliated students to college life and to Bellarmine University. The community’s specialized curricular and co-curricular activities will center on establishing community and translating their skills gained from military experience into a successful academic and career path.

VLC at a Glance

  • Community Capacity: 15 students
  • Common Courses: Fall Semester: IDC 101 Basic Training & Philosophy 101; Spring Semester: ENG 200 Veteran Literature
  • Majors: All majors considered.

Mission Statement and Student Learning Outcomes

The mission of the Valor LC is to foster a sense of belonging, community, and support among Bellarmine’s military-affiliated (Active Duty, Guard, Reserves, and Veteran) students. The community will provide the skills and relationships that military-affiliated students require to successfully complete their degrees through camaraderie building and mentorship.

As an active participant in VLC, students will learn to:

  • Develop a strong sense of belonging and camaraderie among their cohort and the broader Bellarmine University community.
  • Successfully apply the skills gained from their military experience to their academic careers.
  • Gain knowledge of resources available to them to on and off campus to increase likelihood of academic success.



Contact us at learningcommunities@bellarmine.edu

Chelsea McKendree, Director of Academic Enrichment

Kim Kerns, Assistant Dean of Academic Enrichment