College students spend the great majority of their time outside of the classroom. Many of the life lessons and skills that an undergraduate should develop during his college years must be learned during this vast amount of largely unstructured time. These lessons include: communication skills, conflict management, decision-making, relationship building, organizational skills, project management, stress management, tolerance, maintaining a healthy lifestyle and so much more.
Learning communities have become a priority within the American higher education system to ensure that students have the opportunities to develop these critical skills during some of the most formative years of their lives.
This concept is not new. The residential learning college began centuries ago at Oxford and Cambridge universities in England, and Yale and Harvard later adopted it in the 20th century. Today the residential learning concept takes many different forms on campuses across the country. SigEp shares the same academic philosophy as these great institutions, as each of our brothers commits to working diligently toward his college diploma.
Fostering a living-learning environment, fashioned after the residential learning concept, is one of the most critical ways Sigma Phi Epsilon can provide a meaningful experience to our brothers. Below are some of the initiatives that SigEp supports to instill this environment at the chapter level.
Find a list of current SigEp Learning Community chapters here.
History of Learning Communities
SigEp’s Residential Learning Community (RLC) program was established in 2000 as a guide for chapters to create a more powerful living-learning environment. The RLC concept expands upon traditional residential college models and recent research within higher education. Students in living-learning communities have higher overall grades, are more engaged in on-campus activities, and are more likely to spend their time outside of the classroom developing the life skills they need to succeed after graduation. SigEp must offer these experiences to our brothers, so we can deliver a membership experience of value, which promotes personal growth.
In 2019, SigEp announced a name change to this innovative program to be more inclusive of unhoused chapters and align the framework of the learning community concept with the Balanced Man Program. Today, chapters with this status are known as SigEp Learning Communities.
The SigEp Learning Community Accreditation Process
Faculty fellows are faculty members at a host institution who work with the chapter to play a key role in the member development program. Faculty fellows work with the chapter in a wide range of areas, from providing individuals with academic support to working with the vice president of member development to oversee the Balanced Man Program. Successful faculty fellows show a strong desire and enthusiasm for working with students outside of the classroom, and can provide guidance and mentorship to brothers in a variety of areas. Faculty fellows can include professors from any discipline, department chairs or upper administration. | More
A resident scholar is a full-time graduate student who resides within a chapter facility to provide the chapter with daily mentorship. Resident scholars focus their efforts on helping younger brothers manage the transition from high school to college, mentoring the chapter’s executive officers in leadership, and facilitating high academic achievement through scholastic programming. | More
SigEp Learning Community Programming
The SigEp Learning Community is filled with programming to build a learning environment, engage faculty and university partners, and to apply knowledge. These programs reinforce a chapter culture that is dedicated to intellectual growth and development. To decide on what programs to offer, we must understand the experiential learning model — the model that Learning Communities employ. Experiential learning happens for individuals through the BMP, while also taking place for the entire chapter or campus, through learning community programming. | View the template here.