Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Reynolds Learning Communities faculty prepare for upcoming year

Virginia Director of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Dr. Megan Healy recently visited the college to share her presentation “Cooperative Learning is a Good Fit with Learning Communities” with the Reynolds Learning Communities faculty. 

A learning community is when two (or more) course sections in the same semester are linked together and the same students enroll in both course sections. Professors work together to coordinate assignments, content, and improve crossover learning between the courses. Benefits for Reynolds students include convenient scheduling, shared assignments and topics, support systems, the courses still meet the requirements for students’ majors. There’s no additional cost for taking a learning community as compared to taking the classes separately.

Dr. Healy previously taught biology at Patrick Henry Community College in Martinsville, and subsequently played a leadership role in the Virginia Community College System’s re-engineering effort to improve student success and streamline developmental studies in community colleges throughout the Commonwealth. 

The Learning Communities mini-summer institute included a number of rich sessions designed to assist learning communities faculty with creating activities and assignments leading to improved student engagement, retention and success.

During the session, Reynolds Learning Community Facilitator and English professor Karyn Pallay also led a session on Developing Critical Thinking Skills – an essential competency in any academic discipline and for successful living.

Miles McCrimmon, Steve Brandon, Carolyn Quenstedt and Jena Morrison participated in a faculty panel to discuss successful learning community strategies for both in- and out-of-class activities. 

Learning Communities faculty were also provided with time and guidance for planning their teaching collaborations and several facilitating exercises developed by the Washington Center for the Improvement of Undergraduate Education at The Evergreen State College were enfolded into this session.

To find out more about Reynolds Learning Communities, visit