The Impact of a Discipline-Based Learning Community on Transfer Students: A Multi-Dimensional Pilot Study
Author(s): Lord, V. B., Coston, C. T. M., Blowers, A. N., Davis, B., & Johannes, K. S.
Citation: Lord, V. B., Coston, C. T. M., Blowers, A. N., Davis, B., & Johannes, K. S. (2012). The Impact of a Discipline-Based Learning Community on Transfer Students: A Multi-Dimensional Pilot Study. Journal of The First-Year Experience & Students in Transition, 24(2), 63-84.
Learning communities (LCs) have become a popular strategy for developing structured programming aimed at enhancing student success and retention. While most LCs have focused on improving the quality of education for first-year students, little attention has been placed on addressing their usefulness for enhancing the success of transfer students. Also, research on the impact of discipline-specific LCs has been limited (Buch & Spaulding, 2008a); only a single study was found that focused exclusively on an LC within the criminal justice discipline (Dabney, Green, & Topalli, 2006). Using multiple measures over an academic year, researchers examined the achievements of a cohort of transfer students participating in a criminal justice LC at three points in time. During the study, students’ involvement in campus activities increased; they felt a greater sense of commitment to the institution, their majors, and the LC program; they used academic support resources on campus; and their level of stress surrounding transferring decreased. This study provides evidence that LC programs also can be an effective intervention for transfer students.