Greenlee Learning Communities

five members of Journalism Learning Community in the Des Moines Register newsroom

Greenlee Learning Communities

First-year students majoring in journalism and mass communication, advertising or public relations will automatically become part of one of Greenlee’s two learning communities.

The Journalism Learning Community and the Advertising/Public Relations Learning Community will help you navigate the transition to college life at the Greenlee School. About 50 people will be in each group, making them among the smaller learning communities at Iowa State University. Those groups will be divided into two sections of the orientation class, JL MC 110, which will help make a big campus feel more approachable.

In addition to getting to know each other, learning about career possibilities and exploring your academic goals together, you’ll receive support from a peer mentor — an upper-level Greenlee major who may also be a student media or student organization leader. Faculty members Joanna Schroeder and Brenda Witherspoon oversee the learning communities.

How it works

As a member, you will be placed in one of the sections of JL MC 110 reserved for first-year students. These sections are further divided by focusing either on journalism or on strategic communications (advertising and public relations). Many of you will find that you are also together in one of the principles classes (P R 220, ADVRT 230, JL MC 240) and JL MC 101: Mass Media and Society.

Outside the classroom, your peer mentor will organize activities to build camaraderie and engage with the professional world. These might include field trips, guest speakers, strengths assessments, workshops or social events. When appropriate, the two learning communities will get together for activities. These activities are optional but strongly encouraged.

This learning community will also introduce participants to opportunities for working with student media, clubs and other organizations that will foster and showcase their skills during their four years in the Greenlee School.

Peer mentors for Greenlee learning communities

Peer mentors are integral to the success of the Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication’s two learning communities. Greenlee hires separate peer mentors for each learning community, one of which focuses on advertising and public relations, the other on journalism. Peer mentors offer experience and guidance to first-year students. Our peer mentors, who must be juniors or seniors with declared majors in Greenlee, take on these roles:

  • Assist in the Greenlee orientation sections set aside for learning communities.
  • Organize study groups, social and professional events and out-of class activities.
  • Act as role models for students new to Iowa State and connect them with university resources.
  • Greenlee peer mentor job description

Benefits for peer mentors

  • Greenlee peer mentors develop leadership, organization and interpersonal skills needed to become successful, practicing professionals.
  • Iowa State University peer mentor looks great on a résumé.
  • Each Greenlee peer mentor works about eight hours per week throughout the semester and is paid for their training and mentoring time.

How to become a Greenlee peer mentor

We are always looking for Greenlee students to serve as future peer mentors. If you’re interested in a future position, contact the faculty coordinators. The formal application process generally takes place in the spring for the following academic year. If you apply for a learning community peer mentor position, you will need to have room in your schedule to attend (but not register for) the corresponding JL MC 110 sections.

2023-24 Faculty Coordinators

Joanna Schroeder Assistant Teaching Professor [GSJC]
Brenda Witherspoon Teaching Professor



For more information on Greenlee learning communities or becoming a peer mentor, please contact:

Learn more about Iowa State’s Learning Communities program.