Louisburg College's Learning Partners Program provides opportunity

by Curtis Hayes, Director of Communications

learningpartnersMore than 800 students have benefitted from Louisburg College’s Learning Partners program since it was established in 1999.

Ninety-percent of those students successfully transitioned to the colleges and/or careers of their choice. In short, the program works. Some recent participants continued on to studies in business, information systems, music, sustainable development, and health and exercise science. Others have pursued careers as first responders, and some have entered the military.

One recent participant, Aidin Colvin, authored a non-fiction book on dyslexia, which has received significant recognition. In the book, Colvin spent a year writing 100 letters to successful people with dyslexia. The book is available on Amazon: “Looking for Heroes: One Boy, One Year, 100 Letters.”

“The Learning Partners program was an amazing resource for our entire family,” said Sharon Bryson, former Learning Partners parent and current Louisburg College Trustee. “It provided the structure and guidance to assist Matt (her son: alumnus Matt Bryson ‘16) in forming study habits that adapted to his learning style, not the other way around.” So, what exactly is Learning Partners, and who is its typical student?

The program is somewhat of a hidden gem, but those who discover it benefit from academic coaching designed to develop their potential for success. Learning Partners is focused on students with documented learning and attention differences. The program provides them with the individualized support and coaching they need to develop their study skills, realize their academic goals, and work toward becoming successful independent learners. This, in turn, leads to opportunity.

“If there is a student with a learning challenge who would like to have additional support, we partner with them,” said Robin Faulkner, Director of Learning Partners and Accessibility Services with Learning Partners. “We assign each student a learning specialist who all have a master’s degree or higher. We meet with them a minimum of twice a week, and the work we do is individualized, because everybody is different.”

bookFaulkner said there is no typical Learning Partners’ student. Some participants are dually enrolled in the honors program, some are star athletes, and others are involved in numerous extra-curricular activities. She said the majority of Learning Partners’ students are highly motivated.

“They have to have motivation to even want to join Learning Partners. They have acknowledged they have some learning challenges, and they are taking specific steps to work on them,” Faulkner said.

That support comes in an open and accepting environment. Learning Partners students benefit from the latest in assistive technology, study lounges, and learning labs that combine to create a family atmosphere within the close-knit community of Louisburg College.

Currently, the program is serving 31 students with three learning specialists. From 2008 to 2018, the program served 400 students.

“We get students different ways,” Faulkner said. “Some are looking at Louisburg College anyway, and then they learn about our program and want to be a part of it. There are other students who will come to Louisburg College specifically because they’ve heard about this program and want that type of support because it’s unique. Most colleges don’t offer this.”

There is an unserved population.

“On every college campus there is a significant number of students who haven’t identified their learning challenges,” Faulkner said. “Maybe they had a bad experience, and now they want to try to do it on their own. That is why we encourage every student who needs support to take advantage of the resources offered by Louisburg College. Our goal is to partner with our students to help them achieve to their full potential.”