Living, learning community caters to health sciences students

UNK Communications

KEARNEY – A new learning community at the University of Nebraska at Kearney allows students with interest in health sciences to live and study together.

UNK Logo 1The Health Sciences Program has partnered with the Office of Residence Life and Center for Teaching Excellence to create two academic living-learning communities for students interested in health sciences careers.

“Careers in health sciences require rigorous academic program,” said Peggy Abels, director of Health Sciences. “A learning community is a ready made study group. Students are living and working with other students who have the same goals academically. It’s a built in support system.”

Forty-eight students will participate in the unique experience. One group of 24 students will live near each other on the same floor of Centennial Towers East, and another 24 students will live on the same floor of Centennial Towers West.

“Residential life is about creating an environment, a community, which is conducive to our purpose here – learning,” said Tony Earls, director of student housing.

“To learn about ourselves, who we are, what we want to do, where we want to go. Most of that actually takes place inside the classroom. Residence halls need to complement what happens inside the classroom and be a part of what happens inside the classroom.”

Students in each group will take a common set of three courses in the fall semester.

“What we know from research that’s been done on learning communities is that these students tend to graduate in a more timely manner,” said Beth Hinga, director of assessment and the Center for Teaching Excellence. Students also graduate, typically, with better GPAs.”

Students living in the new learning community will all have an interest in health sciences including cardiovascular perfusion, chiropractic, clinical laboratory sciences, dental hygiene, dentistry, health information management, medical technology, medicine, mortuary science, nuclear medicine technology, nursing, pharmacy, physical therapy, physician assistant, podiatry, radiography, respiratory therapy or optometry.

“The purpose of this learning community is to give students the opportunity to explore different careers in health sciences,” Abels said. “Many students know they’re interested in health sciences, but haven’t had the chance to explore all the options available. The learning community allows them to explore the possibilities. Career exploration is a key part of this learning community.”

The William H. Thompson Scholars Learning Community is the only other living-learning community on campus. It is open to students who are awarded the Susan Thompson Buffet Foundation Scholarship.

To participate in the health sciences living-learning communities, students must be admitted to UNK, have a math ACT score of 20 or above, have an interest in a health sciences career, have completed a housing application and have completed the program application.


Source: Beth Hinga, 308-865-8006,
Writer: Sara Giboney, 308.865.8529,

One thought on “Living, learning community caters to health sciences students

  1. As a Doctor of Chiropractic, I love seeing integrative programs like this that include the entire spectrum of health science professions. What a fantastic way for students to explore all their options!

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