Senior Learning Community

AMallilo "After four years in the Wagner Plan, I would say it worked really well for my major. I’ve been in classrooms every semester, observing and teaching. In my senior learning community, we focused on diverse student populations and developed experiential lesson plans, while we were also student teaching. So, we were applying experiential learning while also participating in it ourselves.

"My dream job is teaching, ideally in a classroom where I would have enough money to give the kids everything I could possibly give them, and take them on field trips and do projects with them, and where I didn’t have to do the paperwork and worry about the political end of it, and lawsuits and everything that’s going on in classrooms." (Alex Mallilo)

Continue reading the story here. 

What is the Senior Learning Community?

By the end of the senior year, all students must successfully complete a learning community (LC) with a reflective tutorial in their major. The Senior LC is a summative experience that contains the following elements: a summative major course and an RFT that includes a 100- hour experiential component, a substantial and sophisticated written project, and a presentation.

Reflective practice is the central goal within the chosen field. For instance, biology majors engage in a senior program that asks them to develop a senior field project demonstrating their competency as reflective practitioners in biology.  The same holds for each of the respective majors.  In the Senior Learning Community, majors engage in a variety of different field projects, meet together in a reflective tutorial, and take a summative course that normally runs concurrently.  In some cases, work leading to the senior experience and reflective tutorial may start in the junior year.

As the ultimate goal of The Senior Learning Community, all senior students bring together the breadth of a liberal education and the depth of specialized knowledge into a real world applied practice. The critical question for each student becomes:  “What does it mean to practice this discipline in a reflective and responsible manner within a pluralistic society?”


Each major program has designed a Senior Learning Community composed of at least two courses (see each department's courses here):

  • A Summative Course (usually 1 unit)
  • A Senior Reflective Tutorial (usually 1 unit)

The Senior Learning Community maintains the following minimal expectations:

  • A senior project involving applied learning, leading to a final substantial and sophisticated written project and presentation
  • Summative course content in the discipline
  • A 100-hour experiential component
  • Experience in the practice of the discipline as a profession
  • In-class reflection on the connections between course content, experience, and professional practice

Dr. Sarah Donovan

Senior Learning Community Coordinator, Associate Professor

718 420 4273 Parker Hall 305