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Academic Learning Communities

Fostering connections through engaged learning.

When you join an Academic Learning Community (ALC), your learning forms connections with the community theme and with your classmates. The community theme explored throughout the ALC courses allowing you to examine the theme from different disciplines (example: How are plants viewed from Biology versus Art?) or on a deeper level (example: discover viruses and genomes under the microscope in a lab).  Students enrolled in an ALC take courses together in a cohort. ALCS will enhance your learning while also providing you with an opportunity to:

  • Make meaningful connections with your classmates
  • Get to know your professors in a smaller classroom environment
  • Earn credits towards graduation with courses that meet major or liberal studies requirements
  • Create an in-depth understanding of the community theme
  • Expand beyond the classroom with activities and events specific for your learning community

ALC Themes for 2023-2024



Biotechnology is a rapidly growing sector that impacts many critical aspects of our lives and environment. You will learn about the principles of molecular biology, genetics and cellular processes from the perspective of biotechnology methods and applications that have revolutionized human health, agriculture, and other industrial processes. Students will participate in tailored learning experiences, professional development opportunities, and gain advanced hands-on experience with molecular techniques. Courses include: Principles of Biology, Biotechnology FYS, Intro to Research in Biology, and Introduction to Genetics. Students in the Biology, Chemistry, or Pre-Forensic Science majors are best suited for this community.



The Latinx learning community is a part of the largest/fastest growing minority population in the US. History dating back 500 years ago examines cultural impact of Latinx individuals and this course is built to be an inclusive learning community, as well as supportive. Therefore, the Latinx community will deliver on creating a sense of belonging for first year students who are interested in building a more diverse and inclusive student community. Courses include: Intro. to US Latinx Studies, Freshman Seminar in Literature, and Latin American History.

Going Global


Join our internationally focused environment cultivated through global engagement programming, interactive cultural experiences, and community service! The Going Global! Living-learning community is open to Honors students who want to think globally while connecting locally. Community members live in the same hall in the beautiful Blue Ridge Honors Residence Hall! Courses include: Honors Global Issues and Honors Forum.



Place Based Nature explores nature in the mountains of Western Carolina through science, art, culture, reading, and writing. The community will explore outdoor learning through a cross-disciplinary focus. Students will complete a 2-dimensional design workbook that highlights art, writing and the natural world, and diversity of southern Appalachian habitats. Courses include: Writing and Rhetoric, Discoveries in Biology, and 2D Design.



Would you like to explore the intersection of race and justice from a variety of disciples and perspectives? Would it be great to have a cohort interested and engaged students take all those classes together with you? Are you a junior based on your transfer credits? Join us to explore race and justice through this junior-level academic learning community! Students interested in Global Black Studies, Social Justice, Philosophy, or pre-law are the primary audience for this learning community. Courses include: Intro to Global Black Studies, Philosophy of Law, Theories of Social Justice, Philosophy of Race.



The Virus Hunters project-based learning curriculum provides students with meaningful research opportunities as part of their first-year experience. Students participate in a semester-long research experience on the discovery of novel viruses and the genomes of bacteriophage. Virus Hunters offers a community where students are provided with an inclusive experience where they are engaged with other students that have similar professional interests while performing undergraduate research and getting excited about science early in their college careers. Virus Hunters is best for students that are interested in a pre-health concentration, in graduate school in the biomedical sciences, or in a degree that combines chemistry and biology such as Forensics. Courses include: Chemistry, Principles of Biology, and Molecular Bioinformatics.

Whee Teach


Whee Teach is for students who love children and are interested in learning more about teaching as a profession. Whee Teach is a living learning community, which means students will live together on a designated floor of one of our brand-new residence halls, learn together in classes designed to help them take a closer look at teaching as a profession while fulfilling liberal studies requirements, and making the transition to college with a built-in support system as soon as they arrive on campus. Beyond the theme, Whee Teach wants to help students develop a strong foundation for future success by providing holistic support throughout their first year of college. 

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