PHOTO: Group of students and faculty

Huber Learning Community StudentsNobody practices healthcare alone. Healthcare involves talking, working, and brainstorming with teams of healthcare professionals. The Huber Learning Community fuses reality, community needs, and service learning together.

Sharon Babcock, the Huber Learning Community director, describes the Huber experience as “the real world coming into the classroom.”

The Huber Learning Community is a new residential learning community for 20 first-year, pre-professional health students.  Established in fall 2006, the Huber Learning Community takes a different approach to introducing pre-professional health students from different majors into community-based experiential learning in the health field.

The Huber Learning Community, located in Shenandoah Hall, enhances pre-professional health students’ academic success. Starting college is tough for any student and the transition can be a major stumbling block to academic success. Students are encouraged to interact with faculty and to make friendships with other first-year students with similar interests.

The community can provide a built-in support system for new students who are interested in cross-disciplinary learning as well as the pursuit of a professional health career.  The Huber Learning Community establishes a living-learning environment where participants learn to integrate their undergraduate coursework and preparation for professional training and career. More importantly, these students will gain early experience by working with healthcare professionals from local communities in need.

Students meet with trained healthcare professionals and faculty, and learn skills in building partnerships as well as solving problems. To achieve these goals, the Huber Learning Community encourages its members to look beyond volunteerism, to integrate their academic and service learning experiences, and to reflect upon how the experience impacts their academic and career goals.

According to Sharon Babcock, “This creates a deliberate series of experiences in which students ponder creative solutions to health care related problems.”

A mandatory class each semester explores health issues by using group discussions, readings, guest speakers, reflection, and insights from community and national leaders in service delivery and research. Each week, health challenges are highlighted by the Global Health Series: Rx for Survival. This video series focuses on global health issues by introducing a problem then visualizing a creative solution to it.

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