ScHOLA2RS House concludes successful first semester

The ScHOLA2RS House located in the new NextGen Hall successfully completed its first semester in fall 2016. The new learning community, led by Dr. Erik M. Hines, received positive feedback from students in the program. (Jason Jiang/The Daily Campus)

One of the newest University of Connecticut learning communities finished its first semester strong and looks to continue.

ScHOLA2RS House, which stands for the Scholastic House of Leaders who are African American Researchers and Scholars, is led by Dr. Erik M. Hines. The learning community is located in the new NextGen Hall which houses mostly science, technology, engineering and mathematics students.

“I think the first semester went well,” Hines said. “We are just working out the kinks, as expected in any new learning community.”

READ MORE: Despite controversy, 'Scholars House' to open in fall

The deadline for residents to apply to live in learning communities for the 2017-2018 year closed on Tuesday of this week.

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While Hines does not yet know how many students applied to live in the community for next year, many of his students have verbally told him they intend to come back. “It’s exciting that students are still excited about it,” Hines said.

Hines also teaches the first year experience course for the freshman and sophomores included in the program. “It’s just functioning like a regular learning community. We’re focused on academic achievement, success, and graduation.”

After the semester course evaluations were completed, most of the feedback was positive. Students indicated that they found it helpful to have a class where they can identify resources, both academic and social, and that they found the activities helpful. One of the negative comments was that the FYE course should not have been on a Friday, something typical of first year courses, Hines said.

New developments in the course and the learning community include a “study hall” time, which would give students a regime to implement study time in addition to what they already implemented for themselves.

For the second year students, their spring break will be spent traveling to Salvador, Brazil in a study-abroad experience. The students will travel with Ohio State University and Vanderbilt University. The groups will meet Brazilian students of all ages, guest lecturers and visit museums.

“It’s another way to keep learning about the African heritage, but through the Brazilian culture,” Hines said.

The sophomores and upperclassmen will also learn about graduate school opportunities and complete a Learning Community Certificate of Professional Development offered through the First Year Programs and Learning Communities and the Center for Career Development.


Claire Galvin is a senior staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at claire.galvin@uconn.edu.