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February 9, 2021 at 10:22 am

Pre-Law Named Outstanding Learning Community, Keeps Out-of-Classroom Experiences Engaging

Pre-Law LC students have Lunch with Larry

Pre-Law LC students have Lunch with Larry

Instructors, student leaders, and supporters were celebrated at the Ohio University Learning Community Programs Awards, held virtually on Jan. 31. The Pre-Law Learning Community Seminar, taught by CLJC Pre-Law Advisor Larry Hayman, Esq. and led by third year History HTC student Alexis Karolin, was named the Outstanding Learning Community for Fall 2020.

A learning community seminar is a group of students who take a common set of courses together or share a common experience around their academics. Students develop a deeper understanding of the courses’ subject matter while they build relationships and learn together outside of the classroom. Hayman, who has taught the Pre-Law Learning Community Seminar for six years, was named Outstanding Learning Community Instructor in 2019.

In addition to the Outstanding Learning Community Award, Karolin was awarded, for the second time, the Rauschenberg Family Scholarship. Established in memory of Roy Rauschenberg, a long-time history professor at Ohio University, the Rauschenberg Scholarship recognizes outstanding students for peer leadership in Learning Community Programs.

“I am quite honored to receive this award, especially this year when everyone had to adapt to a new platform,” Karolin said. “I could not have done my job without the support of Larry, my students, my GA adviser Miranda, and my success team who hyped me up every week.”

Learning and Community—But Virtually

“I was elated to even have been nominated this year, given the global pandemic. It was challenging to recreate in the virtual world what the students would have experienced had we been in person,” Hayman said. “But a lesson that will serve the students well, whether they go on to law school or not, is that out of adversity comes opportunity. Because of the virtual platform, for example, we were able to host a panel of recent alumni who are in law school across the country to share their advice and experiences that would not have been otherwise possible.”

Karolin, who has led the learning community for two years, said she was initially worried about maintaining engagement with the students this year. However, she was delightfully surprised.

“Larry and I had a fantastic group of students who made the experience easy and enjoyable,” she says.

First year Sociology-Criminology major Kira Buckwalter enrolled in the Learning Community after being accepted into the Law, Justice & Culture Early Assurance Program.

“Logging in to class always felt inviting, and every time we would start, I got this feeling of belonging and being grounded. Larry and Alexis created a very open atmosphere to learn, connect, and create,” she shared.

They were even able to convert many of their out-of-class events that were historically held in person into the online format.

“We even continued our tradition of ‘Lunch with Larry’ to help the students get to know their professor outside the classroom, although this time it was over Teams instead of in Boyd Dining Hall,” Karolin notes.

Beyond the Lunch with Larry series, the students were invited to various different types of out-of-classroom events to help immerse them in exploring Ohio University, pre-law, the legal profession, and what it means to be a college student, all while getting to know each other.

Nominations for Learning Community Awards come from Ohio University faculty, staff, and students.

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