Engineering Learning Communities


What is an Engineering First Year Learning Community? (EFLC)?

First year students are grouped together and enrolled in the same sections of Engineering, math, science, and supplemental instruction each quarter of the first year. Engineering First Year Learning Communities are academic and social networks designed to:

  • Foster the development of close academic and social relationships through community building.
  • Support the academic and social transition needed to meet the challenges of a rigorous engineering cirriculum.
  • Guide, promote and enhance first year engineering student's pursuit of academic excellence.

What are the benefits of being a member of an Engineering First Year Learning Community?

Clustering students encourages the development of an engineering identity and group pursuit of academic excellence.

Ready-Made Support Networks!

Even the most proactive first year students wander alone, most often aimlessly, trying to establish connections to support their academic success. Students who join the Engineering First Year Learning Community have the advantage of being part of a pre-existing ready-made network. EFLC members don’t work by themselves; from day one they are part of a team focused on achieving academic excellence.

Guaranteed To Get The Classes You Need!

Registering for classes, a daunting task for most first year students is streamlined and simplified significantly for members of an Engineering First Year Learning Community. Seats are reserved for Engineering Learning Community members to guarantee that they get the courses they want and the accompanying enrichment services.

Stronger Connection and Identification with Engineering!

The first year in Engineering is filled with foundational courses that are shared throughout the entire University. In a large lecture, you might be surrounded by students who may not spend 40 hours each week studying. In fact, the likelihood is that you may never get to know the student next to you and might miss an important connection. The Engineering First Year Learning Community encourages bonding among Engineering students and the development of an Engineering identity. From day one, you never have to guess if the student next to you understands what it’s like to be an Engineering major. Bonding opportunities with other Engineering students happens immediately.

Better Academic and Career Results!

Research reveals that on average Engineering First Year Learning Community members maintain higher GPAs, finish their degree programs in shorter periods of time, and are better equipped with adaptive and team-oriented skills required for success in rapidly evolving technology industries. Engineering First Year Learning Community students tend to get the highest grades and the best jobs!

More Fun!

Participating in the Engineering First Year Learning Community will be fun and socially rewarding. Members have personal invitations to both College sponsored social events for all students and special freshmen-only social events. In addition, peer mentors and Engineering student organizations offer socials, “meet and greet” sessions, receptions, banquets, potlucks, camping trips, engineering competitions, field trips to industry, conference travel, and other celebrations which are offered to all students, but especially cater to the first year students seeking friendships and information.


  • What is the Engineering First Year Learning Community (EFLC)?

    In case you missed the explanations, see the EFLC Webpage and Video! The learning community program includes the enrollment block plus my whimsical e-mail advisement and Supplemental Instruction.

  • What is SI? What is Supplemental Instruction?

    The Academic Resource Center (The ARC) gives a detailed explanation of Supplemental Instruction. See these links for Welcome to SI, What is SI?,  Table of Courses with SI Support.

  • What is ARC 80? Why is it on my schedule?

    In addition to the EFLC reserving a seat for you in a major course, the EFLC partners with the Academic Resource Center to set aside Supplemental Instruction (SI) sections for a course required for your major.  ARC 80 represents the SI section assigned to one of the courses in your learning community block. SI is a two-hour study group.  A great place to your see your cohort, make a peer mentor, and really understand the material. In the EFLC, ARC 80 is always SI.  SI is not always ARC 80.  There are open sessions and CNAS sessions of SI too.

  • Is ARC 80/SI a class? Is there a grade for ARC 80/SI?

    ARC 80/SI is not a class.  There is no grade for ARC 80/SI.

  • Is ARC 80/SI mandatory?

    ARC 80/SI is not mandatory, regardless of the email you received from anyone, including the SI Leader.


    Typically, I make SI mandatory when I have mechanisms to require attendance.  I do not have those mechanisms in the remote environment.  However, I do receive attendance reports.  Therefore, if you ask to drop ARC 80 or you never attend a session (or an alternative), I reserve the right to opt you out of the EFLC. That means I can drop you from all the classes in the fall block and not reserve a seat for you in winter. 


    I’m not overly concerned about attendance in weeks 1 and 2.

    You’re still figuring things out. After that, attendance could be an issue…especially if you don’t perform well on midterms. Non-attendance beyond week two might likely result in me opting you out of the program for winter.


    I strongly recommend that you attend. There really is not a good reason for you not to attend.  You have to study.  It is best to do some of your studying in a group led by someone who already took the class and earned an A.  Any explanation you come up with will read like an excuse to me.  If you say, “I study better on my own”.  Great, do that and participate in SI, tutoring, office hours, and your own study groups.

  • When does it meet? How do I get the Zoom Link?
  • What if I am in the wrong section? What if I don’t have a section? What if I have a time conflict?

    Use this link to access a form to tell me which section works best in your schedule.  The ARC will manually add you to the session. The SI leader will reach out to you via email with the Zoom link.


    You can ignore the section number for ARC 80 on your schedule. The section in your schedule may or may not work anymore for a host of reasons.  For the most part, it is an identifier for me. If you get an email from the SI leader about mandatory participation and you plan to attend a different section, reply to that message and let them know Tara Brown gave you permission to attend a different section. 


    As long as you get learning community email from me, you are in the learning community.  Even if you don’t have a section of ARC 80 in your schedule. 


    If you can’t attend every part of a session, just attend the parts that work.  If there are no parts that work, consider tutoring, study groups, or increasing your office hour visits.

  • How can I get a tutor? Do I need a tutor?

    Talk to all of your TA’s to find out if the department that houses your class offers tutoring.  See this link for more information about tutoring at the Academic Resource Center. Only you know if you need a tutor.  It’s better to have one and not need one than need one and not have one.  You can always stop tutoring.  However, the middle of the term is a difficult time to find a tutor and play catch up too.

  • I still have EFLC and/or ARC 80/SI questions. Where do I ask them?

    Many of you are sending e-mail all over the place regarding EFLC and ARC 80/SI.  Please reply to any Learning Community message you already have or send a new message to with Learning Community in the subject line if you have learning community questions.  In the message, include your full name, student id number, major, and request.


    Do not send it to my direct e-mail, even a CC:.

    Things I don’t expect to see there, get lost there.

    Sending a message with your major in the subject line goes to your advisor.

    Now your advisor has to send it to me.

    Things get lost that way, too.

    If we’re having an ongoing conversation, include that in the message.  If you remove the previous communication, I have no reference for your questions.