Learning Communities Committee

Composed of faculty and student services staff, this committee encourages and fosters integrative curriculum development and faculty participation in planning and maintenance of academic standards, primarily through review and support of Learning Community courses, linked courses, and integrative assignments and experiences.

The LCC conducts quarterly reviews of proposals for new and revised learning communities and for IS (Integrated Studies) tag requests for stand-alone courses. The committee considers compliance with college standards, accreditation standards, alignment with the college mission and values, and college-wide and integrative learning outcomes. All new and revised learning communities must be reviewed and signed by the LCC prior to instruction. The LCC maintains and facilitates documents related to the learning communities’ review and support process.

Committee Goals

  • Develop and implement a plan that sustains and documents learning communities.
  • Promote the values and pedagogies of diverse learning communities.
  • Strengthen and support the creation of successful learning communities and their creative processes.
  • Evaluate learning communities in relationship to the mission and values of the college.

Integrative Learning Outcomes

The strongest learning community programs are designed as systematic intervention strategies aimed at improving the persistence and academic achievement of students in particular courses, programs, or pathways.

  1. Identify the strengths and limitations of different fields of study or different ways of knowing.
  2. Explain and Evaluate the relationships among different perspectives within a field of study, among different fields of study, and or different lived experiences.
  3. Integrate concepts and analytical frameworks from multiple perspectives to develop one or more of the following:
    • comprehensive descriptions,
    • multi-causal explanations,
    • new interpretations, or
    • deeper explorations of issues.
  4. Analyze and Reflect upon insights gained from integrating multiple perspectives in a purposeful project or experience.

Proposal Process & Instructions

The LCC welcomes proposals to establish or revise a Learning Community Course, Linked Course, Integrated Assignment, or Integrated Experience. In general, learning communities must be proposed at least two (2) years before being offered to allow time for any necessary revisions and to meet the publication deadline for the quarterly schedule. Exceptions may be made as time allows and at the discretion of the chair with approval from the committee.

Proposing teaching teams are expected to follow the steps below:

  1. Query division dean(s) about your idea for a Learning Community and obtain their approval. Workforce education learning communities must also be approved by the Executive Dean for Workforce Education.
  2. Contact IT Services to ensure availability of needed computing resources.
  3. Contact liaison librarian(s) to ensure availability of needed information resources (print, media, databases...).
  4. Download and complete the Learning Community Proposal Form
  5. Coordinate a meeting with the dean(s) to discuss proposal details. Ask dean(s) whether division LCC reps should be invited to assist with questions.
  6. Modify proposal based on feedback from the dean(s) meeting.
  7. Save the final version of the proposal form with a file name that follows this pattern: LCE_yourlastname.docx. 8. Email a digital copy of the proposal and other required forms to the LCC Chair, Sharon Spence-Wilcox (LCC.Central@seattlecolleges.edu) by 4 p.m. on the quarterly review deadline date.
  8. Submit a printed copy of the proposal with faculty team and dean signatures to the LCC Chair, Sharon Spence-Wilcox (mailstop BE2101; library office 2101-K) by 4 p.m. on the quarterly review deadline date.
  9. Attend the LCC review meeting to expedite the review (2 weeks after the submission date).
  10. Review the LCC chair’s feedback and advice of approval status (within 2 weeks of the review). Recommended revisions or corrections may require additional time.
  11. Note the assigned LC number and other details on the approved learning community that are provided by the LCC chair to the dean(s), program administrator(s) and teaching team.
  12. Confer with dean(s) to determine which quarter the learning community will be scheduled.
  13. Submit a brief written statement to the LCC chair that reflects on the experience of offering the learning community upon its completion.

LCC retains digital copies of the team’s proposal, committee response, and team reflection in its document archives.

  • For help with writing course descriptions, see the CAC guide for writing course descriptions
  • For help with outcomes and assessment, see the IAC guide for writing outcomes
  • For more information about Learning Communities proposals, contact LCC Chair, Sharon Spence-Wilcox (206.934.4069 or LCC.Central@seattlecolleges.edu)

2018-2019 Roster

Chair: Sharon Spence-Wilcox (Library)

  • Student Leadership (Student Ambassador) – Sam Chesneau; open (student)
  • Arts/Humanities/Social Sciences – Melanie King (Art History); Greg Hinckley (Sociology)
  • Science and Math/STEM – Jay McLean Riggs (Health); open (Math)
  • Work-Force Education – open
  • Business/Information Technologies – open
  • Basic & Transitional Studies – Tram Dang (ESL); Claire Makins (IBEST)
  • Health and Human Services – open
  • Counseling/Library – open
  • Advising/College Transfer – Rebecca Shropshire (Advising)

Interested in joining the committee? Contact the LCC chair.

Defining Learning Communities

At its core, integration provides the opportunity for students to engage in content through the lens of their life experiences. In turn, integration across disciplines gives students the chance to make connections among the learning outcomes found in all different subject areas. Our Learning Community models use integrative learning practices to encourage creative and critical thinking; they range from team taught to independently taught courses, assignments, and experiences.

What is a Learning Community course?

  • Formerly called CSPs or Coordinated Studies Program; renamed to avoid confusion.
  • Paired courses with fully integrated curriculum that are team taught by two or more diverse faculty members.
  • Students and faculty explore issues and concerns of a major theme from a variety of academic disciplines.
  • Students enroll in a Learning Community course (LC) for a total package of 10 to 15 credits that is generally considered a full course load.
  • Interactive courses that include student seminars, field trips, group projects, web content, music, video, guest speakers – anything but your traditional classroom fare.
  • LC courses count as IS credits toward the AA transfer degree.
  • Sample Learning Community courses:
    • The Art of War: ART 105 Modern Art; ART 255 Survey of Asian Art; HIST 210 The Pacific Century; HUM 105 Intercultural Communications
    • Math in Motion I: MATH 151 Calculus I; PHYS 221 Physics I for Engineers; CSC 102Q Computers in Math
    • Holocaust: Memory and Meaning: HIST 269 History of the Holocaust; HUM 105 Intercultural Communication; ENG 218 Literature of the Holocaust; ENG 102 Composition
    • 7 Billion and Counting: MATH 107 Math in Society; ENVS 150 Environmental Issues & Problems; GEOL 110 Environmental Geology

Is I-BEST a Learning Community course?

  • I-BEST stands for Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training.
  • Academic I-BEST is a learning community for students who place into developmental English.
  • Integrates an English course and a general education course that are taught by two instructors in the classroom at all times.
  • Students have the opportunity to move faster through English, saving time and money while working toward a degree.
  • Learn more about both Academic and Professional/Technical I-BEST programs.
  • Sample Academic I-BEST programs:
    • 2016-17 Spring: HUM&105 w/English 092-101
    • 2017-18 Spring: PYSC&100 w/English 092-101
    • 2018-19 Winter: CMST 101 w/English 092-101
    • 2018-19 Spring: HUM&105 w/English 092-101
    • 2019-20 Winter: PYSC&100 w/English 092-101
    • 2019-20 Spring: SOC 101 w/English 092-101

Check out current Learning Community courses (LC) in the quarterly class schedule at mycentral.seattlecolleges.edu.

What is an Integrated Assignment/Project?

  • Alternative to the Learning Community course model that allows multiple instructors to participate on independent schedules.
  • Ideal approach for broader participation and promotion of a more cohesive and community-minded learning environment.
  • Projects include groups of students from several different courses and Student Leadership.
  • Students collaborate to explore issues related to their life experiences and specific course disciplines in one or more shared assignments to show their understanding of a topic.
  • Student groups use posters, panels, and/or papers to look at a particular situation, explain its significance, and propose ideas to address it.
  • Brings together diverse disciplines such as Sociology, English, Psychology, ESL, ABE, Anthropology, Math, Global Studies, Desktop Publishing and more.
  • Sample Integrated Projects:
    • Water Students track and analyze their weekly water use and determine scientific results by comparing findings with publications on global warming and water pollution. This course is the reason a club formed to ban the sale of bottled water on campus.
    • Food Students from English, Geography, Psychology, Environmental Science, Culinary Arts, and Sociology work together to develop social change projects around the issue of food production, scarcity, and more. Student research from this project inspired the creation of a campus food pantry.

What is a Linked Course?

  • Two independent courses with one or more overlapping assignments and the same students are in both classes.
  • Sample Linked courses:
    • Ways of Knowing Humanities and Math
    • Having Our Say, Too! Humanities and English
    • In Search of Community: People, Place and Poetics Anthropology and English


  • Integrative Learning
    American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U)
  • Learning Communities
    Washington Center for Improving Undergraduate Education
  • Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training Program (I-BEST)
    Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges. Team teaching resources including how to write integrated learning outcomes. Comprehensive and integrated learning outcomes establish the foundation and direction for all I-BEST.
  • Learning Communities Research and Practice
    Open-access journal. Provides a forum for higher education faculty, staff, researchers, administrators, and students to share current research, effective practices, critical reflections, and resources related to student learning communities in higher education.
    • Graziano, J., Kahn, G. (2013). “Sustained Faculty Development in Learning CommunitiesLearning Communities Research and Practice, 1(2), Article 5.
    • Appendix A: Guiding Questions for a Pre-Semester Conversation
    • Appendix B: Creating Shared Assignments
    • Appendix C: Decision Tree for Assessing Integration and Revising Shared Assignments & Activities
    • Appendix D: Faculty Debrief

Schedule of Learning Communities

Quarter Title Team Members Course Number
Winter 2014 Art and Anarchy Pete Knutson / Melanie King CSP 175 (ANT 201, ANT 206, ART 105, ART 255)
Spring 2014 Back To The Beat For Your Soul (10-credits) Jim Cauter / Carl Waluconis CSP 125 (ENG& 101/102, ENG 265, MUSC 161, MUSC 204)
  7 Billion and Counting Greg Langkamp / Joe Hull CSP 200 (ENV 150, GEO&110, MATH 107)
Fall 2014 Holocaust: Memory and Meaning (10-credits) Phebe Jewell / Tracy Lai CSP 250 (HIST 269, HUM 105, ENG 218, ENG 102)
Winter 2015 Art and Anarchy (10-credits) Pete Knutson / Melanie King CSP 175 (Ant 201, Ant 206, Art 105, Art 255)
Spring 2015 Freak Show (10-credits) Katie Roberts / Jaime Cardenas CSP 125 (HIST 148, HIST 150, HUM 105)
  Stories We Live By Helena Ribeiro / Shelley Douma I-BEST (HUM 105, ENGL 092, 096, 101)
  Central Supply Technology Joni Whitsitt / Elaine Ong I-BEST (AHE 126, SURG 110, SURG 112, SURG 114, SURG 119, ABE)
Fall 2015      
Winter 2016      
Spring 2016 The Exotic Other Melanie King / Helena Ribeiro CSP 250 (ENG 102, ENG 266, ART 254, ART 255)
Fall 2016 Math in Motion ( 11-credits) Jonathan Ursin / Danielle Mallare-Dani CSP 175 (MATH 151, PHY 221, CSC 102Q)
Winter 2017      
Spring 2017 Holocaust: Memory & Meaning (10-credits) Tracy Lai / Nada Oakley CSP 250 (HIST 269, HUM 105, ENG 102, ENG 218)
Fall 2017 Math in Motion (11-credits) Jonathan Ursin / Danielle Mallare-Dani CSP 175 (MATH 151, PHY 221, CSC 102Q)
Winter 2018 Art of War (10-credits) Melanie King / Tracy Lai CSP 125 (ART 255, HIST 210, HUM 105)
Spring 2018 Math in Motion II (10-credits) Jonathan Ursin / Danielle Mallare-Dani CSP 175 (MATH 152, PHY 222, CSC 102Q)
Fall 2018 Speaking Up: Building Bridges, Building Community [first quarter experience]
(12 credits)
Marian Lyles / Erin Steinke / Sharon Spence-Wilcox / Krysta Walia LC 150 (ENGL 101, CMST 101, HDC 101, INFO 101)