”Students who join learning communities have a special opportunity to connect with classmates---form study groups, serve as sounding boards for one another, and even develop lasting friendships throughout their four years at ISU. Seeing the same familiar faces in two classes every week creates a comfort level many college first-years don't experience, and finding comfort in the classroom setting inevitably leads to smoother learning and more permanent retention of vital communication skills that translate to the workplace."
Majors eligible to join
Students of any major (including Open Option) who register for English 214 and English 250.
Students will learn about the background, practical application of, techniques of, and demand for technical writing and web design/usability in the U.S. and worldwide. Through written, oral, visual, and electronic communication skills, they will complete summaries and rhetorical analyses related to topics in technical communication. They will also delve into visual website design and rhetoric and learn to analyze and evaluate visuals both in terms of their messages and in their creation as TComm deliverables. Finally, they will master argumentation, acting as mediators in debates centered around technology, its use/misuse in the workplace, and its presentation in writing and multimedia. Because all students enrolled in this section of English 250 will also be taking the same section of English 214, this will encourage a sense of community and create shared learning opportunities. Within this single learning community, students can satisfy an Arts and Humanities requirement and an ISUComm Foundations requirement! Students will also gain a greater understanding of technical communications as a field, potentially adding it as a major, second major, or minor. Tech Comm was recently rated the 14th best job in the U.S. by Career Cast and other sources, meaning that majors in English and related fields are becoming more and more lucrative as the demand for strong communicators rises!
Students will have the opportunity to register for this learning community during spring registration and June Orientation.
Primarily for Biology and Genetics majors, but open to all students interested in exploring careers in the life sciences, including Biochemistry, Environmental Science, and Open Option.
BIOL/GEN113X is taught in the Spring to students in their first year at ISU (freshmen or transfer students).
BIOL/GEN114X is taught in the Fall to students in their second year at ISU (sophomores or recent transfer students).
Note: students are not required to have taken BIOL/GEN113X in order to enroll in BIOL/GEN114X.
Do you want to:
Get to know new friends in a small classroom setting (40 students or less) while exploring careers in the life sciences?
Make connections with peer mentors who are knowledgeable and who remember what it was like to be new at Iowa State?
Develop academic and professional skills that will enable a successful Iowa State experience now and launch you into your future?
Have the ability to shape your learning community experiences based on your own interests and goals?
Participate in small group activities that engage you with students and professionals who are already pursuing careers that interest you?
You can achieve all these things and more by meeting for just two hours per week throughout the spring and/or fall semester in these low-effort, high-reward, one-credit, pass/not pass (P/NP) courses!
BIOL/GEN113X – 1cr, P/NP, Spring:
This course will help you discover where your interests lie within the life sciences, with a particular focus on Biology and Genetics. It will provide you with opportunities to explore different career paths through interactions with more senior students, faculty, and leaders outside academia. Activities will include workshops to develop professional skills, visits to labs on campus and conversations with the faculty, graduate students, and staff, and field trips to facilities both on and off campus (e.g. the ISU Research Park). It is also a great way to find study buddies for first-year life sciences courses and create long-lasting connections with other students who share similar interests with you.
BIOL/GEN114X – 1cr, P/NP, Fall:
This course is split into four sections, each of which gives students the opportunity to explore and get hands-on experience in a specific topic within the life sciences. Options include:
Save Planet Earth. An environmentally-themed section where students learn and connect via hands-on sustainability and conservation projects, as well as field trips to research sites around Ames.
Helping People: The Health Care Career Spectrum. Learn about the myriad of healthcare-related career options and meet with practicing professionals.
Exploring the Secret Life of Cells. Learn how basic cell biology research in different organisms can help us improve our world in areas such as medicine, agriculture, and technology. Experiences include hands-on lab activities and visits to research labs around campus.
Decoding the Genetic Mechanisms of Metabolism and Aging. Obtain authentic research experience and learning opportunities using cutting-edge genetic and cell biology approaches. Interrogate cellular metabolism, aging, and age-related diseases.
Bonus: Join study teams for Principles of Genetics and Organic Chemistry I
Students will have an opportunity to register for this learning community during class registration.
The best part of learning community is all of the connections I've made. I met some of my best friends when I was taking it as a freshman and I continue to meet new people all the time. It has also allowed me to connect with a lot of professors who have been valuable resources to me throughout my college career. - Kate
Majors eligible to join
The Chemistry Learning Community is intended for first-year and transfer majors in chemistry, but is open to any student with an interest in chemistry.
The Chemistry Learning Community (CLC) seeks to build a community environment that fosters the educational and emotional growth of chemistry students. Because of the importance of research in chemistry, the CLC is centered on a research theme. The CLC holds weekly meetings and activities with freshmen and transfer students throughout the year. Students enroll in Chemistry 101A (fall only) and Chem 101B (spring only) “Chemistry Learning Community Orientation.” We will introduce students to support services, resources, and opportunities at ISU including AccessPlus, Canvas, and the Society of Chemistry Undergraduate Majors (SCUM) – our chemistry club. We will develop team-building, problem-solving, and professional skills, provide educational and service-based field trips, and invite faculty to discuss their research. We will also have some activities just for fun!
Our goals include:
building a supportive community for our freshmen and transfer students by creating and promoting connections between the majors, peer mentors, faculty and staff,
exposing freshmen and transfer students to undergraduate research opportunities, and
helping students learn coping, problem-solving and communication skills.
This is a non-residential learning community.
All incoming first-year and transfer chemistry majors will automatically become part of the Chemistry Learning Community when they register for courses at summer orientation. Be sure to show up in August for the learning community orientation events which will be held just prior to the start of classes.
Multicultural students (American Indian/Alaska Native, African American, Asian American, Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, Hispanic or Latino/a, Multiracial) in any College of Liberal Arts and Sciences major.
Are you looking forward to building a community with students of color this fall?
Do you want to learn more about campus resources and opportunities to get involved?
Would you like to develop a great relationship with a current multicultural student leader who could serve as your peer mentor, and become a life-long friend?
BOLD is a fantastic opportunity for first-year and new transfer students who are striving for academic, social and professional success. The BOLD Learning Community is designed to support the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences’ diverse student population with representation and retention, and you can be a part of it!
The BOLD Learing Community offers three main components:
Orientation course in the fall and seminar course in the spring
The Program for Women in Science and Engineering (WiSE) is a supportive community dedicated to making STEM equitable and welcoming for all. The goal of WiSE is to provide the network and resources WiSE students need to excel in their studies, approach their career with confidence, and become advocates and leaders. Female-identifying students in a STEM major are automatically in WiSE.
This course equips first-year WiSE students with skills needed to persist and thrive in their chosen STEM major at Iowa State and beyond. Students explore experiences of diverse women leaders in STEM fields, engage with peers across STEM fields, and develop community in small groups with peer leaders. This course also fulfills the U.S. Diversity requirement.
*this includes women who are cisgender, trans, of trans experience, etc.
Community groups are designed to connect first-year and transfer WiSE students with each other. Groups meet informally once a week with an upper-division WiSE Community Coordinator. During these meetings, groups do a variety of activities ranging from eating together, studying, and exploring what Iowa State has to offer. The focus of these groups is to foster connections between students, specifically the peer-to-peer relationship.
WiSE Connects are monthly events featuring food, speakers and activities! Open to all WiSE students to attend and connect with one another. These activities connect the WiSE student community together and with other individual that impact their undergraduate experience.
Residential clusters are designed to help students connect and build community with other female-identifying students in STEM. WiSE residential clusters options exist for first-year and transfer students.
All female-identifying women in STEM are automatically in WiSE and will receive the e-WiSE to their Iowa State email. The e-WiSE has information on how to sign up for WiSE opportunities. Students are also welcome to stop in the WiSE office at 218 Carver and talk to a staff member.
First-year students majoring in Biology (Liberal Arts and Sciences, Agriculture and Life Sciences)
The Biology Learning Community, Biology Education Success Teams (BEST), is designed to support first-year students entering the Biology Program. The BEST Learning Community seeks to help navigate students through their first year in the Biology program and facilitate lasting connections with peers, program faculty, and staff, both in and outside the classroom.
All BEST members will be invited to participate in various social events throughout the fall semester. Upperclass peer mentors provide advice and direction and are involved in leading activities in the Biology orientation course. Our social programming increases opportunities for interaction between students, faculty, and staff during events, trips, and picnics. It is our hope that after participation in the BEST Learning Community, students will feel a strong connection to the Biology program, feel more comfortable approaching and interacting with faculty and staff, know and utilize ISU resources, and demonstrate academic success during their time here at Iowa State.
How to sign up
First-year students in Biology will be registered for BEST during their summer orientation advising appointment.