What We Do
Learning for Life (L4L) is a research-based, multi-faceted community and college partnership that links students to a network of services, supports and opportunities. This collaborative work fortifies students for college success and removes any challenges that they may encounter in keeping college a central priority in their lives. The L4L staff team includes networks of peer mentors/advocates called Navigators, who are supported by Lead Navigators, three Educational Support Facilitators, 4 community partners from College Crusades, and College Visions, a Data Specialist, an Assistant Director and a Director. The L4L community is about resilience and excellence, moving side-by-side with students to meet the challenges in becoming a college graduate.
The L4L Community is organized through networks of support, led by Educational Support Coordinators who serve as the central point of contact for Scholars as well as the Navigators. ESC’s, as we call them, also coordinate project objectives including outreach to students, the development of marketing materials, communications, and collaborative initiatives. Clinical oversight for the Navigators is provided through a faculty member of the School of Social Work, Dr. Jennifer Meade and the Assistant Director of Learning for Life.
What we offer:
Navigators: Connections to a network of trained peer advocates
Navigators are Masters or Senior level students whose primary role is to support the students we serve, called L4L Scholars, as they work toward their academic goals. Each Navigator will work with a network of students, building bridges upon which students can reach each other and the resources they need for success. We provide personalized and confidential support and follow-up.
Linkages to Resources: Connections to on- and off-campus services
L4L links students to a wide range of services, supports, and opportunities that help with everything from housing, transportation, financial planning, career exploration, academic support, personal challenges, and other unforeseen life circumstances.
Community Building Events: Connections to the campus and with each other
L4L coordinates opportunities for students to engage with each other, as well as with campus and community partners. They include monthly, student-themed Community Lunches, FAFSA completion events, study groups, and meet-and-greet events. We are always looking for new ways to connect with students, so please share your ideas for events or activities we can try!
Partnerships and Collaborations: Connections to new resources on- and off-campus
L4L functions as a catalyst to build collaborations among campus and community resources as well as to seed new initiatives for student success.
Each year, stakeholders are invited to participate in a planning retreat. On May 20, 2016, Dr. Sue Pearlmutter, Dean of the School of Social Work, facilitated a gathering to review the previous year, look at what the data revealed, and plan forward as L4L becomes an expanded part of the institutional landscape of student support. As a final exercise, participants gathered in small groups to develop goals for the next year. Based on the notes from the gathering, themes emerged that informed our goals as well as a shared purpose for the expansion: of L4L to reach more students; and the network as an ever-expanding collaborative for student success.
- Actualize the college mission to foster “a caring community that respects diversity and values academic excellence.”
- Actively and collectively cultivate an ever-expanding network of campus and community partnerships.
- “Enzymatically” seed new initiatives to fill service gaps through collaboration.
- Coordinate resources, trading “turf” for a more comprehensive reach to all students who needs services.
- We empower students through peer-peer support and amplified student voice.
- We are grounded in evidence-based practice, current research, and critical program evaluation and timely data to ensure we are doing the best we can.
- We are trans-divisional, crossing campus and community boundaries for streamlined, collaborative service delivery.
The North Star: How Will We Know We Have Succeeded
- All students step onto campus prepared to succeed; “they have been here before.”
- We enjoy rich, strong partnerships with PK-12 partners across the region.
- Student voice and their real lived experience drive campus policy and practice.
- Campus and community boundaries “are permeable”, allowing fluid collaborative potential to organically spring to meet emerging needs.
- As a result, the Rhode Island College community reflects a vibrant, supportive and inclusive campus culture.