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NEWS RELEASE

07-16-01

Contacts:
Howard Shapiro, Provost's Office, (515) 294-6365
Teresa Branch, Student Affairs, (515) 294-8597


LEARNING COMMUINITIES FUNDING, LEADERSHIP ANNOUNCED

AMES, Iowa -- A major academic program at Iowa State University has been given a permanent funding base and will now be under joint leadership.

Corly Brooke, who was recently named associate vice provost for undergraduate programs, and Doug Gruenewald, assistant director of residence, will jointly administer the Iowa State University Learning Communities initiatives. Brooke will represent the academic administration. Gruenewald will serve on behalf of the division of student affairs. Both will be realigning their administrative responsibilities to take on this assignment.

In learning communities students with common academic interests take the same classes, study together and sometimes live in the same residence hall. Learning communities have been in place at Iowa State for several years. Former Interim President Richard Seagrave provided $685,000 for program for fiscal year 2001-02. Learning communities have been identified as a major factor for enhanced retention of students at Iowa State.

"I am delighted that a permanent budget has been provided for learning communities. These innovative communities of learners have been built through grass-roots recognition that students learn best when their learning is supported outside the classroom as well as within," said Teresa Branch, assistant vice president for student affairs.

Gruenewald and Brooke had co-chaired an advisory group that developed and grew learning communities over the last several years. At present, there are more than 40 communities serving nearly 2,000 students. Studies by an assessment team indicate that learning community participants are more likely to continue at Iowa State and complete their degrees than those who don't participate.

"Learning communities have proven to be an effective way to increase learning through collaboration among students, faculty, and staff. In this way, we think more broadly about the entire educational endeavor," said Howard Shapiro, vice provost for undergraduate programs.

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