Learning Communities

The Best Way to Start College

Participating in common learning experiences can help you make friends and form relationships with faculty who are interested in helping First-Year students make the transition to college. Students who participate in learning communities at SAU are more likely to stay in college, participate in service activities in the first semester, and connect to important campus resources.

All communities include two courses that fulfill major or general education requirements.

Some learning communities provide:

  • an introduction to a major while others are built around an area of interest or current issue.
  • a component called New Student Seminar, a one-credit, extended orientation to college that includes college skill development, a chosen piece of text that everyone reads, and an introduction to the liberal arts. The New Student Seminar is very popular.
  • an Information Literacy course, which is a graduation requirement that helps you develop solid research and inquiry skills for your college career.

Fall 2020 Learning Communities

Introduction to the Majors

FYLC 101 A: Business Thinking and Speaking (Business)
What is one thing you must be able to do in the business world? Communicate your ideas and knowledge. Join us for a unique opportunity to learn to think and speak like a polished and professional business person. Accounting Principles offers an introduction to the basics of financial accounting and ways of organizing information with the purpose of communication while Principles of Public Speaking teaches students to organize, verbalize ideas, and effectively communicate in teams. ACCT 201, COMM 129, NSS 101.

FYLC 101 B: Business Analytics (Business)
Using data to drive measurable business outcomes and preparing the workforce to be important participants in driving the strategy and sustainability of an organization are the keys to ongoing success. This learning community pairs the problem-solving aspects of management with analytics to help students learn the latest methods and thinking in the field of business. MGMT 210, NSS 101, STBE 137.

FYLC 101 C: Communicating Science (Science/Pre-Professional Health Career)
Receive strong scientific training and communications experiences to prepare for a career in health and human services. You will develop critical-thinking skills in biology complemented by focused areas of study in oral communication and information literacy. The overall goal of the learning community is to develop science-minded students who understand that communication skills are essential for future careers in health care. BIOL 199, BIOL 199 Lab, COMM 203, NSS 101, IL 101.

FYLC 101 D/E: Inquiry in Action: Field Biology Research (Science/Pre-Professional Health Career)
The foundational skill set for a scientist includes asking interesting questions, formulating hypotheses, designing experiments, analyzing data, and communicating results. In this learning community, students develop all of these abilities as they conduct original research at Nahant Marsh, one of the few remaining large wetlands along the upper Mississippi River. BIOL 199, BIOL 199 Lab, STAT 213, NSS 101, IL 101.

FYLC 101 F/G: Growing Up Then and Now (Education)
Are you the same person as your great-grandfather or great-grandmother? Were you raised any differently? From generation to generation, there are slight and sometimes huge changes in psychological development of children and adolescents. This theme has two communities. EDUC 284, PHIL 102, NSS 101, IL 101 OR EDUC 284, HIST 202, NSS 101, IL 101.

FYLC 101 H: Engineering Academic Foundations (Engineering)
Dive into Engineering where you will develop confidence and strengthen your study skills in a supportive environment. You will learn the value of study groups as you tackle mathematical concepts and arrive at engineering solutions to problems. ENGR 106, ENGL 106 lab, MATH 191, MATH 191 Lab, NSS 101, IL 101.

Open Interest

FYLC 101 I - Health and Social Justice (Pre-Professional Health Career)
This interdisciplinary learning community brings together the many disciplines of the health sciences around questions of social justice and public health. Open to undergraduates from all disciplines, you will focus on resolving and understanding health concerns in health sciences, guided by an interdisciplinary team of faculty committed to social justice. Whether your interests are a future career in a clinical setting, as a personal trainer, a social scientist or in health policy, this learning community will strengthen your interdisciplinary perspective and introduce you to key concepts in public health. HS 100, ENGL 101, NSS 101.

FYLC 101 J: The Ethics of Forgiveness
Explore the meaning of conflict resolution, reconciliation, and forgiveness through the development of the conflict management skill of mediation and then volunteering as mediators in local middle schools. Students will see how ethical obligations impact our understanding of forgiveness and how integrating the notions of justice and reconciliation can alter our approach to conflict resolution. PHIL 207, THEO 165, NSS 101.

FYLC 101 K: Faces of Globalization
Faces of Globalization seeks not only to explore various aspects of globalization on a wide range of current global issues including international conflicts/terrorism, climate change, human rights, population and immigration, poverty, trade, labor and social justice, energy, but also to evaluate their implications. PSCI 130 provides Gen Ed credits for social science and COMM132 satisfies a Gen Ed COMM requirement, and NSS 101 counts toward graduation. PSCI 130, COMM 132, IL 101, NSS 101.

FYLC 101 L: Be the Change You Want to See
This learning community will explore the theme: "Be the Change You Wish to See in the World." Students will learn about inspiring people who raised their voices for justice. Students will have the chance to make a positive difference in our own community through a variety of service projects. WGS 201, ENGL 223, NSS 101, IL 101.

FYLC 101 M: The Hero's / Heroine's Path
Artists, storytellers, and filmmakers repeatedly revisit themes, depicting and recreating symbols, archetypes, and characters from myths, legends, folklore, and fairy tales. In The Hero's / Heroine's Path, students will investigate and compare characters' complex artistic and literary portrayals of both good and evil, covering a broad range of civilizations, time periods, and forms, from Batman to Luke Skywalker, Beowulf and Grendel to Little Red Riding Hood. AH 120, ENGL 120, NSS 101.

FYLC 101 N: Introduction to University Research and Writing
Students will choose their own topics, conduct guided research with an experienced librarian, and draft and revise papers in a computer lab with individualized instruction and feedback from a professional writer and editor. Fulfills two University requirements: ENGL 101, IL 101.

FYLC 101 O: Society and the Development of Self
Learn what makes individuals human and how individuals develop a self and understand the social world. Taking both a micro and macro perspective about life as a social being, students will explore their own values and beliefs and from where they learn them. SOC 101, PHIL 100, NSS 101.


First-Year students who have been admitted to The Honors Program will enroll in the Honors Core.

The core includes a themed seminar, a speaker series, and service learning for a total of six credits. Each student will choose from the themes of Civic Engagement or The Good and Evil of Art and Life. Each student will continue the theme into the spring semester by enrolling in Honors 102.

In addition to Honors Core, students are encouraged to enroll in a learning community or other courses in their degree plan as recommended by their academic advisor.

FYLC 101-HON1: Food, Faith, and Justice
Why are Americans fascinated with food? Why do we glorify food in magazines, television shows and cooking and eating competitions while a record number of Americans qualify for the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program? This course will examine ethical, theological, and historical issues associated with hunger, food scarcity, food technologies, climate change, and disparities between the First World and developing nations. HON 101A will be integrated with service learning (SVLN 201A) and speaker series (HON 112A), which will provide an even wider range of disciplinary perspectives on the exploration of social justice. Honors 101A is a team-taught course and will meet a theology and humanities general education requirement. HON 101A, HON 112A, SVLN 201A.

FYLC 101-HON2: Bloodshed and Reconciliation in Theology and History
Why are humans so prone to warfare? How do borders and walls both promote peace and enhance conflict? What are the challenges to forging a sustainable peace among individuals and societies? In the War and Peace Honors Learning Community, students will explore religious and political ideas that are root causes of both war and peace while observing these ideas in action in specific historical episodes. This team-taught course will examine Biblical and historical traditions, culminating in an elaborate role playing game set during the French and Indian War. HON 101B will be integrated with service learning (SVLN 201B) and speaker series (HON 112B), which will provide an even wider range of disciplinary perspectives on the exploration of war and peace. Honors 101B is a team-taught course and will meet a theology and humanities general education requirement. HON 101B, HON 112B, SVLN 201B.

So, what's next?

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