Learning Communities

Learning communities are one of the most exciting and rewarding learning opportunities at Skyline College. Students and faculty get to know one another and work together to ensure that students are successful at college. Students in learning communities enroll in a preset group of classes with other students in their cohort who take classes together over one to four semesters. The instructors teaching in learning communities get to know students one on one and work together to support students and make learning relevant to real life. Students who enroll in learning communities are more likely to be successful, to feel connected to their college experience, and to earn a degree.

Learning Community students have higher success rates because they…

  • Are part of a community who share a similar passion or interest.
  • Earn CSU and UC transferable general education units.
  • Take courses that begin a path to Associate’s Degrees, Certificates and Bachelor’s Degrees.
  • Enroll in courses that have linked and related content.
  • Have preferred class times and back-to-back courses.
  • Stay on track with academic and personal campus support services.
  • Are supported by dedicated staff and faculty.
  • Build long lasting friendships and professional connections.
  • Participate in special events and activities focused on students’ interests.
  • Explore rewarding academic connections between courses.

Umoja - ASTEP (African American Success Through Excellence and Persistence)

The Umoja - ASTEP learning community, open to all students, is a transfer and support program designed to provide culturally-relevant curriculum and programming focused on the African American experience. While enrolled in Umoja - ASTEP, students will receive personalized support, mentoring and leadership development from instructors, counselors and support services staff that will help them to overcome academic, personal and financial barriers. Umoja - ASTEP students will also experience curriculum designed to improve skills in written and oral communication, critical thinking, life skills, and cultural and identity development while engaging in dialogue, texts, and history highlighting the African-American voice. Umoja - ASTEP seeks to promote student retention and success in the core college-level courses, and support students with completing their degree requirements, transfer to 4-year universities, and other educational goals.

Core courses in the program include History, Counseling, Math, and Communication. Designated sections are also available in Science, Psychology and other general education courses. For more information, please contact Chad Coates, Umoja-ASTEP Learning Community Coordinator, at coatesc@smccd.edu.

Learn more at: http://www.skylinecollege.edu/umoja-astep.

Biology & Chemistry Scholars

Biology & Chemistry Scholars (BCS) is an accelerated STEM learning community designed to support students in Biology, Biotechnology, Chemistry, and pre-health or pre-medical pathways. BCS students are enrolled in accelerated math and entry-level biology and chemistry courses to establish foundational skills. Students enrolled in BCS take major-related courses together with their cohort until transfer. Through supportive cohort-based learning and participation in introductory research, students advance through the biology and chemistry pathway and gain valuable skill sets for transfer, internship placement, and career readiness. BCS prepares students for an Associate of Science Degree for Transfer (AS-T) in Biology and transfer to university. For more information, please contact Amber Gougis, STEM Center Retention Specialist at gougisa@smccd.edu, or visit skylinecollege.edu/biology/bcs.php

CIPHER (Center for Innovative Practices Through Hip-Hop Education and Research)

The CIPHER (Center for Innovative Practices through Hip Hop Education & Research) Hip Hop Learning Community, open to all students, helps students increase their skills in English and Math and prepares them for success in college and in their career. CIPHER focuses on the culture and history of Hip Hop and promotes critical literacy, personal development, and social change within our communities. CIPHER also provides resources for students interested in the careers in business, music, fashion, teaching, psychology, and social justice studies. It is also designed to encourage students to obtain AA/AS/AA-T/AS-T degrees and/or transfer to a four-year university or other post-secondary institution to continue their studies. Contact Nate Nevado for additional information at nevadon@smccd.edu or (650) 738-4388. You can also find more information online at http://skylinecollege.edu/cipher

Engineering & Tech Scholars

The Engineering & Tech Scholars (ETS) Learning Community is a contextualized and accelerated cohort program designed to engage and support students in Engineering, Computer Science, and Biotechnology pathways. Part of the Silicon Valley Engineering Tech Pathways project, the ETS program helps students move through core Math, Physics, Chemistry and English courses together as a group with support from Math and Engineering faculty and a Student Support Specialist. Through supportive group-based learning, engagement in academic success strategies, contextualized mathematics, hands-on and team-based design projects, and introduction to advanced manufacturing techniques in a brand new state-of-the-art Fabrication Laboratory, students progress from entry-level mathematics through intermediately advanced Science, Engineering, and Technology courses. The ETS Learning Community prepares students for an Associate’s of Science Degree in the Engineering and Tech pathways and transfer to university, in addition to cultivating hands-on design and manufacturing experience to place students in entry-level internships in the Silicon Valley and San Francisco tech industries. For more information, contact Amber Gougis, STEM Center Retention Specialist at gougis@smccd.edu and visit: http://www.skylinecollege.edu/engineering/engineeringtech.php.

First Year Experience (FYE)

The First Year Experience (FYE) Learning Community is designed to assist new students explore their major and career options. Students, faculty and counselors collaborate through a set of chosen classes to establish a strong foundation for success in college. By enrolling in the FYE classes, the student is joining a community of learners with a common goal of progressing through math and English classes while learning important skills for student success. For more information, contact Jarrod Feiner at (650) 738-7161 or feinerj@smccd.edu.


The Kababayan Learning Community (Filipino for “countryman”) is a transfer and community support group with the goal of increasing proficiency in English skills for success in college, work and life. It is open to all students and focuses on the Filipino and Filipino American student experience. By using culturally appropriate texts – about the Filipino and Filipino American experience – the Kababayan Learning Community instructors, tutors and mentors generate lively and timely discussions about the students themselves and the community around them, making the students’ coursework “come alive” and providing a solid foundation for their academic success.

Students in Kababayan receive counseling assistance, tutoring and supplemental instruction. They are connected to professional and peer mentors who assist them in achieving academic success and transferring to other colleges and universities. Students also engage in extracurricular activities, including art, music and literary events, college tours, and community functions to foster a sense of community within Kababayan.

The Kababayan Learning Community offers English 104 & 204 – Applied English Skills for Cultural Production, a unique two semester opportunity for students to write, edit, produce, and perform an annual “Pilipino Cultural Night,” an evening of acting, singing and dancing that celebrates the Filipino and Filipino American experience. Other courses include Filipino, reading, literature, history, music and sociology.

For more information, please contact Liza Erpelo, Kababayan Coordinator and English instructor, by telephone at (650) 738-4119 or by email at erpelol@smccd.edu, or visit the Kababayan Learning Community web page at www.skylinecollege.edu/kababayan.


The Proficiency in American Culture and English (PACE) Learning Community is designed for nonnative speakers of English to help them accelerate through to ENGL 100/105. PACE students enroll as a group in a set sequence of classes that focus on English composition, grammar and American history. Students can expect additional support from instructors, information about programs, services and how to transfer, and a designated ESOL Counselor. 

Interested students can contact Mylene Foo by email at foom@smccd.edu or the ESL Connect in Building 01-1218 or (650) 738-7089 or by visiting www.skylinecollege.edu/esol/pace.php.


Founded in 1981, the Puente (Spanish for “bridge”) is a national-award-winning learning community that has improved the college-going rate of thousands of California’s educationally underrepresented students. The original program mission was to increase the number of Chicano/Latino/Latinx students transferring to four-year colleges and universities. Today, the program is open to all students. Through the reading of texts highlighting the Latino     experience, counseling assistance, and connections to professional mentors, students receive the instruction and support they need to achieve academic success and transfer. Students also participate in extracurricular activities such as college tours, mentor networking socials, art and literary events, and family nights to foster a sense of community within the program. Initiating its program in 1992, Skyline College is one of many community colleges participating throughout California.

Puente courses begin in fall semester and continue in spring semester. In the fall, Puente students concurrently enroll in both first semester Puente English and Counseling courses and continue on to their second semester Puente English and Counseling courses in the spring. Students continue to work with both their English instructor and counselor beyond their first year of Puente. For more information, please contact the Puente co-coordinators, Dionicio Garcia at garciadion@smccd.edu or Lucia Lachmayr at lachmayrl@smccd.edu.

Teacher Track

The Teacher Track Learning Community is a great choice for students interested in a teaching career. This Learning Community offers students the opportunity to take ECE/EDU classes connected with hands-on paid work experience at Skyline College’s Child Development Laboratory Center (CDLC). All Teacher Track students benefit from CA Permit application assistance, professional growth opportunities, individualized advising and support, and priority enrollment for select courses the subsequent semester. For more information about this program or to enroll, contact Kristina Brower at brower@smccd.edu or call (650) 739-4304, and visit the program’s website at https://skylinecollege.edu/ societyandeducation/ educationchilddevelopment.php