The Ohio State University at Mansfield

Learning Communities

We are excited to offer The Students Making A Realistic Transition (SMART) Learning Communities program as part of our First Year Experience offering. “SMART” connects students who are interested in exploring themselves, The Ohio State University Mansfield and its surrounding communities. As students work to solidify a major and explore possible career paths, it is important that students understand their strengths, values and identities while also understanding the society in which they live. These SMART Learning Communities support first-year students within the University Exploration program by allowing first-year students to identify different paths to achieve their goals. Within the SMART Learning Communities, students will select one of the following two paths designed to help them discover how to best make their academic, professional and social goals a reality:

New Generation Scholars (NGS) Learning Community:

This path is for incoming freshmen who identify as “first generation” students. “First generation” students are those students whose parents have not acquired a bachelor degree or higher from an institution of higher learning. Why is this significant? Because as any upperclassman will tell you, going from high school to college can be daunting under the best of circumstances…for those students who haven’t come from an environment experienced with the processes of admissions, financial aid, housing, scheduling etc. it can feel overwhelming! Additionally, these students can often feel somewhat isolated as they navigate through the college experience.

The New Generation Scholars (NGS) SMART Learning Community will provide a learning environment in which students can gain knowledge of the university structure and language that can otherwise be alienating. The NGS SMART Learning Community will allow students to engage with faculty, staff and one another to promote confidence through learning how to navigate through college practices and processes for the ultimate goal of academic and social success.

Buckeye Scholars of Color (BSC) Learning Community:

This path is for students of color who are looking to successfully transition in an environment that may look very different than their high schools, their places of socializing, or their neighborhoods. One of the primary goals of the Office of Diversity & Inclusion is to help students, all students, embrace their own differences while accepting and appreciating the differences of others. This is particularly important in a collegiate setting where diversity issues can sometimes distract students from achieving their academic and social best. We recognize that “diversity” is a dynamic, not static, force: therefore, the BSC program is designed to encourage its participants to actively embrace their uniqueness, with the understanding that a diverse learning environment benefits everyone. How is this so?

Research has shown that diversity, promoted within a welcoming and respectful environment, encourages critical thinking, reduces harmful stereotypes, and strengthens one’s ability to communicate effectively. The Buckeye Scholars of Color (BSC) SMART Learning Community offers students of color an opportunity to begin developing these essential skills. “Essential” because in a vastly diverse, globally-connected world, students of color need to learn the social and business protocols to grow into the able leaders and productive citizens that our nation and world demand.



Friday, August 5
Buckeye Scholars of Color Kickoff
Location: OSU Cleveland Recruitment Center in Cleveland, Ohio
Tuesday, August 23
New Generations Scholars Kickoff
Location: Ed Pickens Restaurant in Mansfield, Ohio

How can SMART help me?

  • Regular academic advising with an academic advisor
  • Conversations with faculty members from various disciplines to discuss different career paths
  • Tours to explore campus resources that support personal and academic success
  • Campus and community activities to engage Scholars in strengthening personal and academic strengths
  • Bi-monthly meetings with the campus Retention Coordinator to ensure academic success
  • Access to internship and scholarship opportunities
  • Discussions about personal strengths using leadership assessment surveys
  • Service within the Mansfield and Richland County communities and exploration of the arts and local businesses

What do I need to do?


Contact Renée Thompson 419-755-4109

Remember, “Two Paths, One Outcome-SMART!”
Come on, make the SMART choice!

  • Students interested in being a member of the SMART Learning Communities must complete the on-line SMART Learning Community Application by July 1, 2016.
  • SMART acceptance letters will be sent to your Ohio State email account for your review and signature.
  • Please make sure you sign your agreement and RSVP for the Buckeye Scholars of Color Welcome event, August 5th, or the New Generation Scholars Welcome event, August 23rd.
    Please make sure that they are received no later than Friday, July 15, 2016 in order to ensure your space within one of the learning communities.