The Community and Leadership Experience (C.L.E.W.S.) at Worcester State is a living learning hall designed for incoming students and limited to 20 (non-honors) invitees began in February, 2012. Students selected to opt in to the Community and Leadership Experience Hall will live together on gender specific halls in Dowden Hall, will take two linked courses, and will be invited to participate in extracurricular activities and trainings, all of which explore themes of self-development, community building, and leadership.
Our hope for student outcomes for the C.L.E.W.S. program include:
Aid students in transition from home to college
Encourage intellectual growth and interactive learning
Facilitate closer ties between faculty and students
Invite students to participate in co-curricular activities and offer opportunities for student leadership
Increase tolerance and understanding of diverse practices and in so doing to encourage closer social ties between peers, colleagues, faculty and students
Academic and Extracurricular Practices, Semester 1:
Linked Courses: The centerpiece of the First Year Community and Leadership Fall ‘13 term would be linked courses. In their first semester, students would share two courses:
First Year Seminar: Politics of Rock 'n Roll
English Composition 1:
An exploration of the themes of leadership and community
Other Opportunities Include:
Make a Difference Day: Students would be invited to take part in organizing and leading Make a Difference Day in October. Working with community partners, students would organize a day of service and celebration.
CLEWS Conversations: Students would be invited to two fireside chats with faculty. These chats are designed to allow students to meet faculty on a personal level and to listen to faculty members speak about their visions.
Alternative Fall Break: Students would be invited to take part in Massachusetts Campus Compact’s Fall Alternative Break during Columbus Day Weekend.
Academic and Extracurricular Practices, Semester 2:
Spring term would continue the First Year Community and Leadership Experience in these ways:
CLEWS Conversations: Students would again be invited to two fireside chats with faculty.
English Comp 2: CLEWS students would be encouraged to take English Composition 2 as a learning community. This course would continue the exploration of the literature of leadership.
Peer Mentor Training: Students will also be invited to train as Peer Mentors for the X-Hour of First Year seminar.
Service Learning: CLEWS students would be invited to take 1 SRV course. Service Learning Courses are courses designed around project-based, experiential learning and interaction with community partners. These courses are offered in a number of disciplines, including History, Urban Studies, Honors, Occupational Therapy, Nursing, and others.
Alternative Spring Break: CLEWS Students would be invited to take an Alternative Spring Break to Heifer International’s Overlook Farm. The Global Gateways Programs is a four-day retreat focused on issues such as sustainability, global agricultural and poverty, and problem solving.
Living Learning Programs (LLPs) “have their roots in the social clubs of Oxford and Cambridge and later incarnations at Harvard, Yale , and Princeton.” (Browers and Inkelas, p. 36) Later versions developed themes of intentional communities with specific objectives, such as experimental colleges and partnerships between student affairs and academic affairs. More recently, LLPs have developed particular themes that may involve personal preferences, political stances, and perception of academic rank. While we should not underestimate the rigor and hard work involved in a successful LLP, there is evidence that the rewards of these programs are notable.
The National Study of Living-Learning Programs has researched participation, and determined how LLPs influence academic, social, and developmental outcomes (www.livelearnstudy.net). Students get to know their instructors, develop strong friendships with fellow students who may share common emotions, values or beliefs. LLPs have become the template for a cohort-based, integrative approach to higher education that include key factors to community such as: (1) belonging, (2) influence, (3) fulfillment of individual needs and (4) shared events and emotional connections.
In addition, George D. Kuh (AAC&U, 2008) notes that through practices such as First-Year Seminars and experiences, close interactions with faculty, leadership training, and common intellectual experiences, learning communities encourage integration of learning across courses and involve students with “big questions” that matter beyond the classroom.
The First Year Community and Leadership Experience will be limited to 20 (non-honors) invitees, with spots allocated on a first come first serve basis beginning in February, 2013. This proposal is designed and budgeted for a maximum of 20 students, though the program could run with less. Based on concepts of high impact practices such as linked courses, service, and civic engagement, the CLEWS is designed as a living learning experience that will produce strong student outcomes and offer the opportunity for meaningful institutional assessment and research.
If you have questions or concerns, feel free to contact:
Adrian Gage MEd
Director, Office of Residence Life
Dr. Mark Wagner
Director, Center for Service Learning and Civic Engagement
Brower, Aaron and Karen Kurotsuchi Inkelas, Living Learning Programs, One High-Impact Educational Practice we Now Know a Lot About, Liberal Education, Vol. 96, No. 2. Spring 2010. Print.
Chavis, D.M., Hogge, J.H., McMillan, D.W., & Wandersman, A. (1986). Sense of community through Brunswick's lens: A first look. Journal of Community Psychology, 14(1), 24-40. Web.
Inkelas, K.K., ed. 2008. Special issue on living-learning programs. Journal of college and University Student Housing 35 (1).
Kuh, George, High-Impact Educational Practices: What They Are, Who Has Access to Them, and Why They Matter (AAC&U, 2008).