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Opening Doors Learning Communities

Prof. Steve Amarnick - Opening Doors
Prof. Steve Amarnick working with an Opening Doors cohort.

In Opening Doors Learning Communities, each semester as many as 33 cohorts of up to 25 students take a block program of three linked courses: English, the Freshman Seminar, and a General Education Discipline course. The English course is either Freshman English I or one of three levels of developmental English, depending on students’ scores on the CUNY ACT reading and writing placement exams. The Gen. Ed. course may be Art History, Business, Biology, History, Health, Economics, Music, Philosophy, Psychology, Sociology, Speech, Theater, or others. Students in an Opening Doors learning community can earn between 8 and 12 credits, depending on their level of English.

Opening Doors began as part of a study conducted by the research group MDRC. Once incoming freshmen agreed to be study participants, half were randomly assigned to learning communities and the other half, serving as the control group, were not. Both groups were tracked with respect to a number of variables identified as indicators of student success. The findings were positive and can be found at the MDRC web site.

Faculty development of Opening Doors is co-coordinated by Prof. Marcia Babbitt, Dept. of English, Prof. Cheryl Smith, Dept. of English, and Prof. Jason VanOra, Dept. of Behavioral Sciences and Human Services.

For more information about Opening Doors, please contact Marissa Schlesinger, Associate Director of Academic Affairs (718.368.5027).

 Prof. Marcia Babbitt      Marissa R. Schlesinger    
Prof. Marcia Babbit
Faculty Co-Coordinator, Opening Doors
Prof. Jason VanOra
Faculty Co-Coordinator, Opening Doors
Prof. Cheryl Smith
Faculty Co-Coordinator, Opening Doors

Prof. Marissa Schlesinger
Director of Academic Affairs and Project Director for Learning Communities

Peter Cohen
Associate Dean for Student Affairs
Prof. Samantha Sierra 
Coordinator of Freshman Learning Communities
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