About the Program

If you are looking for a connection with other potential future leaders, this is where you belong. To be a good leader, you must be a good learner. This learning community will offer you opportunities to work with others to explore questions that all good leaders and learners deal with, such as: Why is learning certain things so difficult for some of us, but easier for others? How can we learn faster and better? Where does motivation come from? What connection is there between setting goals and accomplishing goals?

Through this exploration, you will develop close friendships; have access to academic support geared towards preparing you for leadership positions in the world of work, and within your community. Students will be connected by two classes in the fall: Strategies for Academic Success (TRDIS-120) and American Government (POLS-210). This learning community is sponsored by ASPIRE-Student Support Services and is available to eligible students only.

Who's Eligible

First year students who meet one of the following criteria:

  • limited income (receiving the PELL grant) and/or
  • who are first generation (meaning neither parents has graduated from a 4 year college or university) and/or
  • have a documented disability recognized by the University's Disability Services Office.
Visit ASPIRE Student Support Services for more information

Classes You'll Take


POLS-210 American Government (3 cr.)
Instructor - Kim Zagorski

Structures and processes of national, state and local government in the United States; constitutional framework, political theory and ideology, racial and ethnic dimensions of U.S. political culture, civil rights, media, voting, parties, elections, interest groups, and policy making. Comparisons with selected foreign governments. This class fulfills 3 of the required credits for the Social and Behavioral Science general education requirement.

TRDIS-120 Strategies for Academic Success (2 cr. - Tuition Waived)
Instructor - Dave Boisen

STRATEGIES FOR ACADEMIC SUCCESS is a 2-credit seminar designed to enhance your ability to be successful in college, the job market or whatever else follows your undergraduate experience. Through a variety of sources, methods, activities, as well as in-class and out-of class experiences, you will be shown how to achieve the course's overall educational goals:

  • Learn how you learn best - and incorporate new ways to learn
  • Maximize your available resources and seek out new opportunities
  • Relate what you are exploring now to success in college and beyond
  • Strive to become the best individuals you can be

Where You Will Live

This is a non residential learning community and is not linked to a resident hall or floor. On campus and commuter students are welcome. There is an ASPIRE floor option available in SOUTH HALL that is affiliated with this Learning Community. Students indicating an early interest in ASPIRE programming will receive priority to live on the ASPIRE Floor in South Hall.

What We Do

  • Individualized interpretation of the student's results from the School Strategies Scale and the Gallup StrengthsFinder (online assessments)
  • Practice and familiarization with everyday campus technology tools (AccessStout, D2l, MS Office suite) in a "low stakes" environment
  • Use structured in-class activities to examine the practical challenges of leadership, problem-solving, consensus-building, voting as a decision-making tool, and cooperation
  • Offer the opportunity to lead collaborative study sessions for the 'American Government' course content
  • Frequent instructor outreach: recurring office hours in SOUTH HALL as well as the MSC-commons
  • Coordinate with the South Hall director and ARCs for programming in/around the living area
  • Complete a series of confidential journal entries that chronicles how the student met various obstacles during the semester and turned these challenges into potentially positive growth experiences
  • Offer opportunities for structured leadership opportunities and experiences both on- and off- campus

Your Commitment

  • Engage in the ASPIRE --SSS Community
  • Schedule and attend academic support appointments
  • Utilize university and program support resources (Individualized writing and math support are available through the ASPIRE-SSS program.)

Faculty and Staff

dave boisen 

  Name: Dave Boisen


Hobbies and Interests:
U.S. History; home beer brewing; watching my kids participate in sports and music activities.

The most interesting thing that I ever done: being a by-name call-up for state active duty two weeks after 9/11 to organize and help administer the airport security mission at 7 regional airports, (some for 24-hours a day, all of them 7-days a week) that the Wisconsin National Guard executed during the next 8 months from the state headquarters in Madison. Since something like this had never been done before, we had to synthesize the operation, quickly and safely, as we went along. I wrote the official military order, which was signed by our two-star general commanding officer only a week after my arrival in Madison, which put it all into motion.

Community Profile

Number of Participants: 25

Living Location: South Hall, Commuter Students Welcome

Classes: POLS 210 and TRDIS 120

Eligibility: First Generation, Income Eligible and/or Documented Disability