Living (and Learning) Communities
A high impact practice in college - which builds community, sense of belonging, academic engagement, and improves graduation and retention rates - is to be a part of a living learning (or just learning) community.
Last year, the psych department created a living learning community where incoming psychology majors lived together in the same dorm (affectionately referred to as the “psych ward”) and learned together (by taking the same section of psych courses in Fall & Spring). These common experiences were built-in ways to make friends and engage in psychology.
Because last year’s living learning community was so successful, we created two new learning communities this year. Unlike their living and learning counterparts, the new groups just learn together. The first group includes Freshman psych majors who commute. The second group consists of transfer students.
When they’re not studying, the three living (or just) learning communities have opportunities to party-it-up. In September, they ate ice-cream and played lawn games. In October, they ate pizza and painted pumpkins. Soon in November, they’ll eat a “friends-giving” feast with psych faculty.