Career Story: Learning Communities Program Coordinator At A State University

Learning Communities Program Coordinator At A State University

Job Title: Learning Communities Program Coordinator

Type of Company: I work for a large public university in rural Connecticut.

Education: BS, University of Connecticut •• Some master's courses

Previous Experience: I started work as a University Helper, progressed through secretarial and administrative positions and now work in a student affairs position.

Job Tasks: I coordinate a Learning Communities program at a university. Learning Communities are a living option for college students that allows them to live with other students with the same major or a common interest. The students take a seminar course together, but beyond that each Learning Community offers different benefits. For example, some students participate in community service activities or take additional courses with those they live with based on the theme of their community.

My job is to coordinate all of the Learning Communities, working with many offices on campus, from Residential Life (where student housing is coordinated) to academic departments (such as the School of Pharmacy and the School of Fine Arts). Each Learning Community has a team of people who run it, many of whom are volunteers. I regularly meet with all of these people to plan the activities that a Learning Community (LC) will participate in, the classes participants will take and to generate ideas for new LCs. I created and maintain a website to promote the LC program. I do several presentations every year to different student groups to inform them about our LCs and generate interest. I handle student applications and community placement, making sure everyone gets a room in a residence hall, and I also enroll students in their corresponding LC courses. I write reports and am currently working on developing an LC assessment, collecting data that will help us to demonstrate that the LCs provide students with a better college experience than they would have had otherwise. There are always problems to solve and questions to answer and these keep me very busy.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: My favorite thing about working at a university is the rich diversity. I meet and get to know people from all over the world, all over the United States, and all over my own state of Connecticut. It's fun being around young people, and you work with many smart and interesting people.

The worst part of my job is sometimes there are so many details to take care of that you feel like you don't have time to be creative, to stop and think of better ways to do things or of new ideas to implement.

Job Tips: Student affairs professionals usually need to obtain a master's degree in student affairs or a related field, and some pursue a doctorate which can help them move into leadership positions on campus. When you are an undergraduate student, you could obtain a job at an office on campus in student affairs to see what it is like to work there (such as in a First Year Program, Residential Life, Career Services, Student Activities, Community Outreach offices).

Additional Thoughts: When you are in college, remember, an amazing job may be created in the future that does not even exist today. So, plan what you want to do, but keep your eyes open to opportunities to improve your teamwork, leadership, and other skills that will allow you to take advantage of whatever lies ahead for you. Take a risk and step outside of your comfort zone, and you will be surprised at what you can accomplish!

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