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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 Stephanie Akunvabey, Associate Director of Academic Affairs and Prof. Cheryl Smith, Dept. of English. For more information about Opening Doors, please contact Stephanie Akunvabey (718.368.5027).

Stephanie Akunvabey    Marissa R. Schlesinger    

Stephanie Akunvabey      Faculty Co-Coordinator, Opening Doors and Associate Director of Academic Affairs

Prof. Cheryl Smith
Faculty Co-Coordinator, Opening Doors

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

Peter Cohen
Vice President for Student Affairs
Prof. Samantha Sierra 
Director of Learning Communities for Student Affairs
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