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Fall 2012 Communities

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Academic Excellence at St. Ambrose University:  Learning Communities

Ambrose Learning Communities offer terrific advantages to first-year students by allowing you to take a cluster of courses suited to your interests and needs, and to do so with a group of your peers with similar interests.

Learning Communities include two general education courses, a New Student Seminar, and Information Literacy. Some communities are designed to introduce you to your major, while others focus on current issues and events on campus and around the world.

The benefits of taking courses in a Learning Community include the opportunity to learn about ideas from more than one perspective, learning with a familiar group of your peers, and having professors who are working together to help you connect your learning, research, and the transition to college in a meaningful way.

Contact information: Sherri Erkel, Director, First Year Experience, 563-333-5829 or

Take a look at the list of Learning Communities below, and then talk to your advisor about the community that will be best for you!

Note: All Learning Communities include IL 101 which satisfies the Information Literacy requirement and New Student Seminar (NSS 101) counts toward graduation and helps you make a smooth transition to college life.

101A: The Road Less Traveled
This community will explore the meaning of conflict resolution, reconciliation, and forgiveness through the development of essential conflict transformation skills such as mediation. The courses include analysis of various case studies, practical application of conflict engagement strategies, and a personal conflict transformation project. JPS 105 and THEO 160 satisfy philosophy and theology general education credits. Great for social science and education majors!

101B: Searching for Cures to Society's Ills
What would you do if you had access to cells that could potentially create vaccines and cures for diseases, but you knew they were taken from a patient without her consent? What social factors and inequalities in society would make such a situation possible? We will search for solutions to these persistent social issues using the New York Times bestseller, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. ENG 101 satisfies the written communication skills general education requirement, SOC 101 satisfies a social science general education requirement.

101C: Be the Change: Learning and Serving in the Community and World
We will examine human rights issues that impact people around the world and will teach students about inspirational activists. Students will also partner with local service agencies to learn more about how human rights issues impact the local community. ENG 101 satisfies the written communication skills general education requirement, WMST 201 satisfies a Humanities general education requirement.

101D: Writing and Research: Integrated Learning
Students will research and write about topics of their own choosing and relate the writing process to research and inquiry while also learning valuable transition skills to be successful at SAU. ENG 101 satisfies the written communication skills general education requirement. This is a pair

101E: Heart, Mind, and Soul: Engaging in the Catholic Intellectual Tradition
To engage in the Catholic intellectual tradition is to live a reflective life where an academic tradition is faith-based and where we seek truth where it can be found. We will take a holistic learning approach which uses study, service, and reflection, resulting in the ability to communicate to others the richness of our 2000 year-old dialogue between faith and reason. CATH 201 satisfies a philosophy and theology general education requirement, ENG 101 satisfies the written communication skills general education requirement.

101F: Speaking Truth to Power: Political Thought and Public Speaking
Words are powerful tools. They can persuade or threaten, illuminate or deceive, inform or obscure. They can be used to advance the cause of justice or to excuse injustice, to inspire the betterment of lives or to condone oppression. This learning community will explore the power of words and help you both to speak more effectively in public settings and to grasp the ethical and political implications of human speech, reason, and modes of communication. PSCI 120 satisfies a social science general education requirement, COMM 129 satisfies the oral communication skills general education requirement.

101G: Walk the Walk and Talk the Talk: Leadership and Public Speaking
Ever wonder why some people and teams are more successful than others? Might it have something to do with them possessing greater leadership and communication skills? In "Walking the Walk and Talking the Talk" you will discover what makes one an effective leader while you become a better communicator. PSCI 104 satisfies a social science general education requirement, COMM 129 satisfies the oral communication skills general education requirement.

101H: Business Thinking and Speaking
This community offers students a unique opportunity to learn to think like a business person and to speak effectively in both informal and formal business settings. Accounting Principles introduces students to the basics of financial accounting and its way of organizing information with the purpose of communication, while Principles of Public Speaking teaches students to organize and verbalize ideas, as well as effectively communicate in group settings. ACCT 201 satisfies a core major requirement for Business, COMM 129 satisfies the oral communication skills general education requirement.

101I/J: The Art of Science
The centerpiece of a practicing scientist's life is identification of a problem, formulation of a hypothesis, design of an experiment, and analysis of results to produce new knowledge. You will work in teams to conduct original research at Nahant Marsh in Davenport, one of the few remaining large wetlands long the upper Mississippi River. BIO 199 satisfies a science general education requirement, STATS 213 satisfies a mathematics general education requirement.

101K: Race Matters
This learning community will investigate the construction of race, particularly in the history of the United States with literature from Latino/a, African-American, American Indian, and Asian communities, as well as the contributions theologians from these ethnic groups have made to Christianity by reflecting on the religion from their particular contexts. ENG 120 satisfies a humanities general education requirement, THEO 160 satisfies a philosophy/theology general education requirement.

101L: Between Peril and Promise: Global Issues, the Bible, and Social Justice
"Between Peril and Promise" seeks to enrich students' awareness of global concerns and to evaluate their implications through the perspective of political science and social justice. PSCI 130 satisfies a social science general education requirement, THEO 199 satisfies a philosophy/theology general education requirement.

101M: Order in the Universe
Astronomy studies the order of the universe; logic is a way of ordering the mind. In this Learning Community, you will study both and see the important connection between clear perceptions of space and clear perceptions of our world. PHIL 201 satisfies a philosophy/theology general education requirement, ASTR 201 satisfies a science general education requirement.

For all or most First-Year Students

New Student Seminar
New Student Seminar (NSS) is a one-credit elective course that provides an orientation to SAU resources and student success strategies including time management, career discernment, co-curricular involvement opportunities, and personal development. Each section is taught by a faculty or staff member, with the assistance of a peer mentor. The NSS instructor also serves as the student's academic advisor in their first year at SAU. Approximately 90 percent of first-year students at SAU enroll in a New Student Seminar.

Service Learning
In keeping with SAU's mission and Catholic heritage, Service Learning at St. Ambrose provides students with service opportunities at the local, national, and international level. Service Learning provides students opportunities to use the skills and knowledge they acquire in the classroom in real-life settings while contributing to relevant community needs and issues. Students who engage in service as a part of their academic career develop a sense of caring for others and enrich their academic experience through experiential learning.