Learning Communities

Helping you adjust to college life on The Cliff is important, that's why every undergraduate student belongs to a learning community. These groups of 15-20 students, with similar life experiences and passions, will help you find your purpose and passion, while developing life-long friendships. 

At Briar Cliff, our goal is to educate a new generation of pioneers and critical thinkers immersed in exploration and discovery through service. Through our learning communities curriculum, you'll learn the power of service by participating in a week-long service project. During this time, you'll learn about fostering relationships, building trust, and how you can learn from serving others.

During Orientation, Charger Move-in Weekend activities, and CORE classes, you'll be with your learning community. While each community will have a different name/theme, the purpose of every community is to help you create friendships other Briar Cliff students, right from the start. 

 What are the benefits?
Studies show students in learning communities earn higher grades, make friends faster and graduate at higher rates than students who don’t. Learning communities usually result in higher academic achievement, better retention rates, greater satisfaction with college life, improved quality of thinking and communicating, better understanding of self and others, and a greater ability to bridge the gap between academic and social life. By the end of your first year at BCU, we think you’ll be a more confident public speaker, a better writer and a more engaged citizen.
 Will I live with my learning community?
No, learning communities are centered around an academic experience, and learning inside and outside of the classroom. It’s not a place where you’ll actually live. Every traditional freshman lives in the residence halls on campus. 
 What students participate in learning communities?

Every full time incoming first-year, transfer student, and online undergraduate at Briar Cliff will belong to a learning community.

New this year - we are proud to offer a different kind of learning community experience, specifically for transfer students.

 What are the required classes for learning communities?

You and your learning community will be enrolled in the following 5 CORE classes during your first year at Briar Cliff. The rest of your first year schedule will be general education and/or introduction courses to specific majors.

  • CORE 120M First-year Seminar (Fall)
  • CORE 100 Franciscan Values (Fall)
  • CORE 131 Composition (Fall)
  • CORE 101 Franciscan Experience (Spring) This one credit hour service learning immersion experience focused on finding your passion/purpose and engaging with the community through service learning partnerships. This is different than volunteering, as the service in the course is specific to the theme of the course and there are writing assignments associated with the course to reflect learning. 

Please note, online and transfer students will have different requirements please direct all questions to your advisor.

 Can I change my learning community?

Yes, you're eligible to switch communities before the second week of first semester. Student interested in changing communities should visit with their first-year advisor. You can switch if you meet specific requirements and if there is an opening before the semester's add/drop deadline.