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Overview of Living-Learning Communities
Our Living-Learning Communities enhance the college experience by promoting academic success and student engagement within a residential community. While each community is unique, all have the same ultimate goal: fostering a successful and engaged Clemson student. These programs provide experiences that extend from the classroom to the surrounding community and enhance the living experience. Clemson University has identified Living-Learning Communities as an integral part of student engagement on campus and has been committed to the development or enhancement of two LLCs each year. University Housing and Dining and our academic partners are pleased to offer a variety of living-learning opportunities.
History of Living-Learning Communities
The first community to later be described as a Living-Learning Community was in the 1920s, “The Experimental College” at the University of Wisconsin. This community was designed to explore ideas of democracy and to facilitate faculty-student interactions. Living-Learning Communities came to the forefront in the 1980s when dramatic reform began in higher education to increase the quality of education. Living-Learning Communities continue to grow in popularity as institutions attempt to address budgets, quality of education, and opportunities to link students to academic partners outside of the classroom.
Clemson’s very first LLC was created in 2000 and named the First Class. This LLC was a collaboration between business and engineering students designed to increase their interaction with each other. In 2004, Clemson adopted the First Year Experience curriculum model and LLCs began forming across campus in first-year experience residence halls and upperclassmen suites and apartments.
Living-Learning Community Mission Statement
The mission of Living-Learning Communities at Clemson University is to collectively enhance and support the missions of the institution, university housing and residential life, and designated academic departments by providing a holistic approach to student development and engagement through academics, service-learning, and research programs and opportunities.
Impact of Living-Learning Communities on Students
Students who joined an LLC indicated the following with regard to living in their specific residential community (compared to responses from students who had not joined an LLC):
- 5 percent (33.5 percent) agreed that living in on-campus housing provided opportunities to interact with faculty/instructors outside of the classroom.
- 4 percent (61.4 percent) agreed that they could better articulate their academic goals as a result of their experience living on campus.
- 6 percent (54.3 percent) agreed that they could better articulate their career goals as a result of their experience living on campus.
- 1 percent (64.6 percent) agreed that they could better balance social and academic commitments as a result of their living on campus.
Of the 788 full-time, first-time students living on-campus in an LLC in the fall of 2012, 93 percent returned to Clemson in the fall of 2013. These students completed the 2012-2013 academic year with a cmulative GPA of 3.26.
Of the 2,579 full-time, first-time students living on-campus but not in an LLC in the fall of 2012, 92 percent returned to Clemson in the fall of 2013. These students completed the 2012-2013 academic year with a cumulative GPA of 3.13.
In addition to the numbers above, students who have participated in LLCs have also been shown:
- to have more interactions with faculty outside of the classroom,
- to participate in on-campus activities more often,
- to build meaningful relationships with faculty and staff,
- to access resources to promote student success,
- to enjoy exciting activities and make lifelong friendships.
Submitted by Tyler Gailey, Assistant Director for Residential Life, Clemson University