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Tuesday, November 16, 2021

From the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Posted: Monday, November 8, 2021

Call for Faculty: Fall 2022 Bengal Learning Communities

Buffalo State College’s Academic Transition Programs is excited to announce the fall 2022 recruitment for the Buffalo State Bengal Learning Communities (BLC). The key goals for learning communities are to encourage the integration of courses and to involve students with “big questions” that matter beyond the classroom. In Buffalo State’s revised model, students now take two or more linked courses and work closely with faculty members in exploring that question.

The Mission for Bengal Learning Communities
Bengal Learning Communities seek to enhance our first-year experience by providing communities with a unique learning experience through engagement and intellectual, personal, and community exploration.

In keeping with this mission, the main criteria for Bengal Learning Communities are as follows:

  • Communities promote an innovative pedagogy and connect through integrated, cooperative, and interdisciplinary learning with co-curricular-centered activities based on the theme.
  • Communities demonstrate plans for sustainability and departmental support.
  • Communities make it possible for transformative learning to occur by engaging students in opportunities to enhance their campus connection and professional, ethical, and civic responsibilities.
  • Communities provide a space for an intellectually stimulating environment to emerge between faculty and students.

Benefits for Faculty
Faculty members who teach in our Bengal Learning Communities often collaborate with faculty outside their departments and disciplines, leading to a sense of renewal and increased engagement with the college. Learning communities promote deeper interactions among students and faculty. BLC instructors increase their repertoire of student-centered pedagogical practices by participating in BLC faculty development opportunities and by sharing ideas. BLC faculty members are encouraged and supported in their pursuit of scholarly teaching for deep student learning. BLCs have been shown to increase student persistence and retention toward graduation.

Many BLCs explore a common topic or common readings through the lenses of different disciplines, or have embedded features such as service learning, collaborative assignments, undergraduate research, or social justice. Trips, local outings, and even national and international travel are possible. Together, our Bengal Community of Scholars Program becomes a community where real learning resides.

Structural Features
Two or more general education or lower-level major courses are linked together by a common theme. The same 30 students are co-enrolled in both courses within a learning community and work closely with their professors. BLC faculty members collaborate to help students make intellectual connections across and between their courses.

  • Reserved seats in large classes.
  • Students must take both linked courses.  
  • Faculty are encouraged to participate in faculty development sessions designed to enhance the community’s collaborative process
  • Faculty are encouraged to provide feedback on their community experiences each semester.

For a list of current communities, please visit the Learning Communities website.

Faculty members who are interested in starting a new Bengal Learning Community are asked to please complete the new Bengal First-Year Learning Community form. Please contact Leasa Rochester-Mills, director of Academic Transition Programs, with questions or for more information.