Frequently Asked Questions about IRW's Learning Community

If you cannot find the information that you need here, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., the IRW Learning Community Coordinator, to learn more.

What are the goals of the IRW Learning Community?

What do Learning Community Scholars do throughout the semester?

Who can apply?

What are the prerequisites?

Will I get credit for being an IRW Learning Community Scholar?

What are my responsibilities as an IRW Learning Community Scholar?

What is the final project?

Who should I contact for more information?

How can I apply to the IRW Learning Community?

Does my application package need to be complete before I submit it?

 


What are the goals of the IRW Learning Community?

The IRW Learning Community's goals are that our Scholars: 

  • become aware of the array of learning opportunities Rutgers has to offer;
  • learn ideas and concepts related to the IRW's annual theme;
  • help create and maintain a sense of community;
  • demystify academic life and build academic skills;
  • develop research skills.

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What do Learning Community Scholars do throughout the semester?

The majority of Learning Community meetings focus on engaging Scholars with readings and ideas related to the IRW's annual theme.  A key component of the Learning Community is attending the IRW's Distinguished Lecture Series, which usually consists of three lectures each semester.  Before each lecture, Scholars read and discuss an article by the upcoming lecturer in order to familiarize themselves with specialized vocabulary and key concepts.  Following the lecture, the Scholars meet again to debrief on their experiences and discuss what they learned about the IRW theme.

Each semester, Scholars meet with Women’s and Gender Studies Librarian Kayo Denda, who presents a research methods class tailored to the annual theme and to Scholars’ initial thoughts about their research topics.

Throughout the semester, Scholars also use Sakai to develop community protocols, respond to lectures, and share reflections on community experiences such as the field trip to the United Nations.  Scholars also use Sakai to circulate drafts of research outlines and offer each other feedback.

Another major component of the IRW Learning Community is the final project in which Scholars investigate topics of their choice related to the IRW theme.  Each semester, as a group, the Scholars develop project timelines with target due dates for outlines, bibliographies, drafts and final versions of their projects.  Based on their topics, Scholars are assigned to a mentor chosen from among participants in the IRW’s weekly faculty-graduate interdisciplinary seminar. They are required to meet with their mentor during the process of developing their projects.  At the end of each semester, the Scholars present their research at events attended by their IRW mentors, other Rutgers faculty and staff and Scholars’ family and friends.

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Who can apply to become an IRW Learning Community Scholar? Can men apply?  Do applicants have to be Women's and Gender Studies majors or minors?

All Rutgers sophmores, juniors or seniors, regardless of major, gender or previous experience with Women and Gender Studies may apply. Our goal is to create a community which includes a wide range of students and reflects the diversity of the Rutgers student population.

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What are the prerequisites for participating in the IRW Learning Community?

There are no curricular prerequisites, and students from all New Brunswick campuses and majors are welcome to participate.  Although attention to women's experiences and the operations of gender in society are central to the IRW's mission, students in the learning community need no prior experience of studying gender or women. We ask that applicants will be Juniors or Seniors in the semester for which they are applying for the Learning Community and that they have achieved a GPA of at least 2.5. 

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Will I get credit for being in the Learning Community?

Yes; students admitted to the Learning Community will receive 1.5 credits for successfully completing the semester. Scholars will receive special permission numbers to register for the course.

As an IRW Learning Community Scholar you will receive other kinds of credit, too: Recognition on your resume for taking part in the Learning Community and presenting at the end-of-semester event; deeper relationships with faculty and research professionals who support you and your work; and meaningful connections with other Rutgers students who share your interests and challenge and inspire you to think critically.

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What are my responsibilities as an IRW Learning Community Scholar?

The Learning Community meets from 4:30-6:00 p.m. on Thursdays at the IRW on Douglass Campus. Students will participate in 12-14 Learning Community meetings during the semester they are enrolled, which includes attendance at three IRW Distinguished Lectures.

In addition, students will work individually or in small groups on a final project of their choosing, and will present the products of their work at a public event at the end of the semester.

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What is the final project?

Each IRW Scholar will plan and carry-out a small-scale research project that results in a five-minute public presentation and a five-page write-up.  

The idea is to offer Scholars the opportunity to pursue research on a topic of interest to them.  This research may someday become the springboard for future work in either an Honors thesis or graduate research project.  IRW Learning Community Scholars may choose to work alone or in a group and the topic can be anything related to the IRW theme.  We’ve left the guidelines purposely broad so you can design your own project with guidance from the Learning Community Coordinator and your fellow Learning Community members.

As a class, the IRW Learning Community attends a special research session with a Rutgers librarian and has regular discussions and workshops related to shaping and developing research projects.  In addition, each Scholar will be assigned an IRW mentor (either a faculty member or an advanced graduate student) and work closely with the Learning Community Coordinator throughout the research process.

For an idea of past final projects, take a look at the program from the Fall 2008 final project presentations.

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How can I find out more about the IRW Learning Community?

Please contact the IRW Learning Community Coordinator, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., with any questions.

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How can I apply to the IRW Learning Community?

In general, applications are accepted each semester for the following semester.  Please contact the Learning Community Coordinator, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., if you have any questions or wish to be notified about future IRW Learning Community themes and application timelines as they become available.


**Apply online to join the Spring 2017 Learning Community**

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Does my application package have to be complete for me to submit it?

Feel free to send documents as you complete them. Note, however, that you cannot be accepted as a Learning Community Scholar until your application is complete.

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Contact Us

IRW building

Institute for Research on Women

160 Ryders Lane
New Brunswick, NJ 08901

P   848-932-9072
F   732-932-0861
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