The evolution of learning communities in higher education during the last decade is one of the most exciting, academically challenging, student friendly developments in years. Learning communities are academically challenging and extremely rewarding.
At Buffalo State, the learning community program is referred to as Bengal Community of Scholars program. The program is a block of courses that explores a complex theme through four or five classes. The faculty work to demonstrate how their particular course reflects the theme and connects to learning in other courses. Students take all of these courses together and form friendships that last beyond graduation.
Equally as important, students learn material at a deeper level because they spend more time discussing ideas and working to master the lessons.
Any student in any major can participate in the Bengal Community of Scholars program and is available to both resident and commuter students. Students in special programs (athletics, honors, EOP, etc.) can participate with their adviser’s approval.
A community is a particularly good idea if...
you have scheduling flexibility in your degree program.
you are not working more than 20 hours per week.
you are new to the Buffalo area.
Each community includes a section of CWP 101, the basic writing course required of most freshmen, and classes that fulfill a portion of the college's Intellectual Foundations (general education) requirements.
One of the goals of the Bengal Community of Scholars program is to encourage students to appreciate the interrelationships between many subjects, despite their apparent differences. Faculty members work together to emphasize these connections and to use the community theme as a "thread" to tie them together. Each community also includes a one-credit "integrated hour." All of the instructors and students in a community meet for an hour each week to talk about connections in the course material. This time is also used to discuss questions or concerns about adapting to college life or to share experiences that advance the theme of the community.
Space in the residence hall has been dedicated to the Bengal Community of Scholars Program participants and includes a lounge space, a kitchen, a computer lab, and an office for learning community professors. Commuter students have access to the residence hall during certain hours and can consider it a "home away from home."