Learning Communities

Learning Communities are cohort-based programs that link instructors across disciplines and connect people who share common academic goals and attitudes. CSM’s learning communities offer an innovative and exciting approach to learning designed for student success. While each program is unique, common features include:

  • Two or more classes working together with common themes, content, and materials
  • A group of students and faculty working collaboratively in a friendly, supportive atmosphere
  • An exploration of the connections between disciplines
  • Specialized counseling and transfer support, free tutoring, mentoring, and academic support
  • Enrichment activities like university field trips, cultural events, and guest speakers
  • Community involvement and internships

We offer Cultural Communities (MANA, Puente Project and Umoja), Interest Communities (Honors Project and Writing in the End Zone) and Transitional Community (Project Change). For more information, please visit the Learning Communities website.

With Honors Project, students accepted into this unique interdisciplinary community will join a dedicated group of faculty and students working together to create a rich, intellectual experience at CSM. Students will earn honors credit in selected transfer courses by developing and successfully completing advanced research projects. Students are required to concurrently enroll in an Honors Project research seminar.  Students must be accepted into the Honors Project before registering for seminars. For more information, contact David Laderman at laderman@smccd.edu or visit the Honors Project website.

MANA is a transfer and support program with the goal of increasing proficiency in communication skills for success in college, work, and life. The MANA program focuses on the Pacific Islander American student experience and is open to all students. The three primary components of the program are Ethnic Studies, Communication Studies and Academic Support. For more information, contact Finausina Tovo at tovof@smccd.edu or visit the MANA website.

Project Change is the first learning community to provide wrap-around student support services and direct access to postsecondary education for current and formerly incarcerated youth. This program unites CSM and San Mateo County community organizations together in a joint effort to help students make the transition to community college. For more information, contact Katie Bliss at blisskatie@smccd.edu or visit the Project Change website.

The Puente Project is a transfer support program with English, Counseling and mentoring components. This learning community focuses on Latino literature and experiences and spans two semesters. Students are required to enroll in the English and Career classes concurrently each semester as well as attend out of class field trips and activities. Interested students must first attend a Puente Project Orientation for registration access. For more information, visit the Puente website.

Umoja is a transfer support program that focuses on the African American experience through the study of culture, history, literature, and identity. The courses offered through this program are Ethnic Studies, English, and Counseling. Students must enroll in Ethnic Studies 105 in the fall and Ethnic Studies 288 in the spring. Students are also strongly encouraged to enroll in designated Umoja English and Counseling courses.  For more information, contact Jeramy Wallace at wallacej@smccd.edu or visit the Umoja website.

Writing in the End Zone (WEZ) is an interest-based learning community that links collegiate football and English composition. While exploring the demands and rewards of being student-athletes, WEZ students will strengthen their reading, writing, and critical thinking skills. All WEZ students enroll in sections of ENGL 105 and ENGL 110, which are linked to fitness and theory of football classes associated with active participation in the College of San Mateo football program. For more information, contact Teeka James at james@smccd.edu or Bret Pollack at pollack@smccd.edu or visit the Writing in the End Zone website.