Psychology & Writing Learning Community

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Students welcoming youth panel from Ampersand Families

The English and Psychology departments at Inver Hills Community College are hosting a learning community youth panel Thursday, October 11, 2018, in the Fine Arts building on the college’s main campus in Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota.¹

Lisa DuRose, PhD, Inver Hills English faculty, reported that the learning community (LCOM) is a combination of two courses: English 1108: Research and Writing Skills and Psychology 1101: Introduction to Psychology. Students in the Psychology & Writing Learning Community are conducting research on the foster care system in Minnesota.

“The panel is composed of youth from an organization called Ampersand Families,” Lisa said. “The panelists are in the process of being adopted and will share their experiences with our students.”

More about the Psychology & Writing Learning Community…

In Minnesota alone, 50 percent of 18 year olds aging out of foster care don’t graduate from high school. By age 23, 50 percent will be unemployed and 25 percent will be homeless. What can we do about these alarming numbers? In this learning community, students are completing Intro to Psychology and Research and Writing Skills coursework, applying their newfound knowledge and abilities to study the foster care system and work to improve it.

This learning community also incorporates community-based learning (CBL) involving Ampersand Families as a community partner. Students enrolled in the Psychology & Writing Learning Community fall semester 2018 at Inver Hills are collaborating with Ampersand Families to learn more about the foster care system and advocate for comprehensive changes.

The panel of youth from Ampersand will share their perspectives and experiences. As part of their study, students at Inver Hills read Cris Beam’s To the End of June. Beam’s book tells the complex story of the American foster care system by combining trenchant research with interviews and narratives from those most impacted by the system—the youth, social workers, biological parents, and adoptive and foster families.

While this book provides the academic and research frame for the classes, the topics explored have been more fully realized by working with Ampersand Families. In their final project for the class, students will write research-based persuasive letters to stakeholders in the foster care system and they will present these letters to Ampersand Families executive director, Michelle Chalmers.

More about learning communities at Inver Hills…

Learning communities are one of the best ways for students to take on challenging and important courses. By joining a learning community, you become part of a cohort with shared interests and goals.

You can participate in fun and rewarding activities together and develop the camaraderie that can help you excel in your coursework. Instructors and peer mentors are there to help you understand the material, and you can collaborate with students in your cohort. Read more…

Learn more about learning communities at Inver Hills by contacting:

Lisa DuRose, PhD
English Department Coordinator
Co-Director of Learning Communities
651-450-3341

¹ The event is not open to the public.

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