University College

Dr. Hall with a Student

Program Overview

STEM Learning Community

The first semester for students in the STEM courses can be academically challenging as they transition from high school to college level courses; causing many students to feel discouraged and questioning their possible interest in a STEM area. The mission of this learning community is to provide support to these students during their first semester. Professors will utilize active and collaborative learning approaches, encouraging students to develop a support system with similarly focused peers. Students will develop effective academic strategies to use when studying STEM subjects as well as other academic courses.

There will be out-of-class activities designed to get students more engaged in the learning process and to help them further develop a sense of community with their peers. Upperclass STEM students who are excelling in their area of study through research and/or internships will serve as peer mentors for each group, giving them a unique student perspective as they transition to college. In addition, there will be a speaker series focusing on the following areas:

  • Applied Learning in the Sciences through Undergraduate Research and Internship Opportunities
  • Getting into Graduate School: Preparations Start Freshman Year
  • Careers in the STEM areas
  • Study Abroad Experiences in the STEM areas
  • Benefits of Obtaining a Secondary Teaching Licensure

Over the years, much research has been done on the effectiveness of learning communities. Here are just some of the benefits seen by existing UNCW Learning Communities:

  • Students create their own supportive peer networks that extend beyond the classroom.
  • Students become more involved in both in-class and out-of-class activities.
  • Students spent more time and effort on academic and other educationally-related activities.
  • Students tend to earn higher grades.
  • Students report feeling more connected to their Learning Community professors and the UNCW campus.
  • Students report an increased overall satisfaction with the college experience.