Living-Learning Center Established For Honors College

Oct. 15, 2003

by Lori Scott Fogleman

Baylor University's Honors College and Campus Living and Learning have announced plans to establish a second Living-Learning Center for students in the university's Honors, Baylor Interdisciplinary Core, Great Texts and University Scholars programs.

The new Honors College-LLC will open in fall 2004 in Alexander and Memorial residence halls, providing students with a unique living environment specifically designed to enhance and enrich their academic experience. Alexander Hall will be redesigned to house up to 145 Honors College men, while Memorial Hall will become home to nearly 200 Honors College women (either upper-division or first-year students). The HC-LLC also will include several faculty offices, a seminar room, classroom and an Honors College student lounge.

"The Honors College is excited about this new partnership, which will provide tremendous momentum to the new Honors College," said Dr. Thomas S. Hibbs, dean of the Honors College and Distinguished Professor of Ethics and Culture. "With common living areas for Honors College students, faculty offices and classroom space, the LLC will help us to build a community of faculty and students united in the pursuit of academic excellence. It will allow for the integration of serious discussion of important issues and great texts into the very fabric of student life at Baylor."

The creation of the new living-learning center marks the second partnership between an academic unit and Campus Living and Learning. Last January, Baylor officials announced the establishment of the Engineering and Computer Science-LLC, which will open in fall 2004 as part of the new North Village Residential Community. Similar to the ESC-LLC, which has reserved 180 of the facility's 600 beds for engineering and computer science students, honors students will have to apply to live in the HC-LLC.

Living-learning centers in residence halls have gained national support at major universities for their ability to attract and retain exceptional students seeking a residential experience that is connected to their academic major or a related interest. Baylor officials believe when students join this small, close-knit community, they will strike a balance between serious intellectual pursuits and social interaction that will reinforce experiences in the classroom and living room.

"Students learn holistically, and this fact was intuitively known by the founders of American colleges and universities," said Dr. Frank Shushok, associate dean for Campus Living and Learning. "Over the last hundred years, however, a shift in practice has in many ways gradually separated the extracurricular experience from the academic one. This partnership with the Honors College is a correction in course, a movement back to intricately weaving together the academic, social and spiritual life for the sake of profound learning."

In most instances, Shushok said, these centers require students to enroll in at least one common course, often require a special admission process and may include additional expectations. Research on living-learning communities has indicated such programs help students earn higher grades, become more satisfied with their college or university, have greater interaction with faculty and engage more often in academic related conversations with peers. For more information, contact Hibbs at 710-7689, Shushok at 710-6957 or Terri Garrett, associate director for academic initiatives in Campus Living and Learning, at 710-6650.

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