Learning Communities are popular at universities across the country. Several institutions spearhead the Learning Community movement to promote new Learning Community concepts.

One of the leading institutions in this area is Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. They host an annual National Summer Institute to explore ways to strengthen learning community programs at colleges and universities across the nation. For more information, please visit the National Summer Institute or email:

Every year, WSU sends a team to the National Learning Community Conference. Amy Cooper has been presenting at the NLCC for the past seven years. You can find more informaiton about the NLCC here:

In June 2008, WSU sent a team to the National Summer Institute for Learning Communities (NSILC).  During the conference, the team attended lectures and workshops and worked with learning community experts from around the country to develop a two-year plan for WSU learning communities. An overview is available.

There are several other national conferences that focus on learning communities. More information on some events of note are available at the following websites: and

Library Reading List

Title: Creating Learning Communities—A Practical Guide to Winning Support, Organizing for Change, and Implementing Programs
Library Link:
Authors: N. Shapiro and J. Levine
Jossey-Bass Publishing. 1999

Title: Learning Communities in Research Universities
Library Link:
Authors: J. O'Connor and J. Anderson
Washington Center for Improving the Quality of Undergraduate Education. 2003

Title: The Powerful Potential of Learning Communities: Improving Education for the Future. View PDF
Abstract: This report examines the importance of learning communities within institutions of higher education. It identifies two important dimensions of learning communities: primary membership and primary form of interaction. Four categories of student learning communities are identified: curricular learning communities, classroom learning communities, residential learning communities, and student-type learning communities. Benefits for students and faculty of effective learning communities are documented and include higher academic achievement, better retention rates, diminished faculty isolation, and increased curricular integration.
Author: Lenning, Oscar T. and Ebbers, Larry H
Publication: ASHE-ERIC Higher Education Report, Vol. 26, No. 6.

Title: Why learning communities? Why now?  View PDF 
Abstract: Are learning communities just another fad or an idea whose time has truly come? The author considers what's going on in higher education research and practice—and in the philosophy informing our thinking—that makes the idea of learning communities resonate so strongly among its advocates. (Article Abstract)
Author: Cross, K. Patricia
Journal: About Campus Volume: 3 Issue: 3 Year: 1998
Pages: 4-11

Title: Learning Communities View PDF
Abstract: This article describes several types of learning communities and explains the benefits to both students and faculty. Fostering workforce skills, encouraging problem-solving skills, and increasing retention and success are some of the benefits for students and faculty.
Author: Dodge, Lucy.
Journal: College Teaching Volume: 52 Issue: 4 Year: 2004
Pages: 150-155

Title: Colleges as Communities: Taking Research on Student Persistence Seriously  View PDF
Abstract: An article by Vincent Tinto, who recently visited WSU's Student Academic Success Summit. His article looks at what current research tells us about student persistence, and argues that colleges and universities would be best served by reorganizing themselves in ways that promote greater educational community among students, faculty, and staff.
Author: Tinto, Vincent
Journal: The Review of Higher Education Volume: 21 Issue: 2 Year: 1998
Pages: 167-177

Title: Motivation to Learn in General Education Programs View PDF
Abstract: This article discusses motivational theory and research and draws implications for general education programs.
Author: Glynn, Shawn M.
Journal: The Journal of General Education Volume: 54 Issue: 2 Year: 2005
Pages: 150-170

Title: Reconsidering Learning Communities: Expanding the Discourse by Challenging the Discourse View PDF
Abstract: This article looks at Learning Communities with a critical eye. However, the institution description bears a strong resemblance to WSU, so this may be worthy of review, if only to identify some of the challenges with developing and sustaining a learning community in an urban institution serving a diverse student base.
Author: Talburt, Susan and Boyles, Deron
Journal: The Journal of General Education Volume: 54 Issue: 3 Year: 2005
Pages: 209-236

Title: Adding Value: Learning Communities and Student Engagement View PDF
Abstract: This study examines the relationships between participating in learning communities and student engagement in a range of educationally purposeful activities of first-year and senior students from 365 four-year institutions. The findings indicate that participating in a learning community is positively linked to engagement as well as student self-reported outcomes and overall satisfaction with college.
Author: Zhao, Chun-Mei and Kuh, George D.
Journal: Research in Higher Education, in press

Title: Learning Communities and Student Success in Postsecondary Education: A Background Paper View PDF
Abstract: This paper was funded under contract to MDRC by the Ford Foundation, the Ford Motor Company, the New York Times Foundation, and the Robin Hood Foundation. It reviews the history and theory underlying learning communities, describes various learning community models, summarizes published research, synthesizes how some learning communities operate based on field visits to nine colleges, and concludes by proposing program and research design questions to consider for a multicollege demonstration. Read up to page 20 for a good overview of learning communities and learning community research.
Author: Price, Derek V.

Provided by:

Veronica Beilat
University Libraries