UK Ag's Living Learning Community is Thriving
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 5, 2013) — Having the opportunity to absolutely get the most out of one's college experience — this is one of the central themes of the University of Kentucky's Living Learning Program (LLP), a growing initiative that involves partnerships between the Office of Residence Life and various academic and non-academic units across campus.
The Living Learning Program provides students with the opportunity to live and learn with other students in an environment that takes education beyond the traditional classroom. This residential experience offers specialized programming, interactions with UK faculty and staff, and a supportive community that focuses on student success.
The community involving UK's College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, known as the Agriculture Residential College (AgRC), recently welcomed its fourth class of students to campus, having first begun the program in the fall of 2010 in the Dale E. Balwin Residence Hall on South Campus.
Jamie Dunn serves as director of student success for the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment and coordinator for the Agriculture Residential College.
"We believe that the Living Learning Program is helping to increase student retention, academic success and student engagement," Dunn said. "The comingling of like-minded students helps to build a sense of camaraderie and connectivity. Peer mentors, upperclassmen who are chosen based on a high standard of qualifications, live in the AgRC and are a great source of support for our first-year students."
In addition, students in the AgRC are required to attend programs specifically related to their community, thus encouraging exposure to a number of different facets of the agriculture industry. Students also get the opportunity to interact with college faculty outside of the classroom.
"It is an excellent opportunity for first-year students to get involved in the college and to build relationships that will last a lifetime," Dunn said. "They learn the importance of networking and social responsibility to develop themselves on a personal and professional level."
Marcia Shrout, associate director of Residence Life for Residential Education, said that UK's Living Learning Communities are becoming increasingly popular with students and faculty throughout UK.
"The assessment we've done shows that students in these programs have higher GPAs and are retained at higher rates than other students," said Shrout. "In addition, the connections and associations students develop in these programs make their experience at UK much more meaningful and fun."
All students who participate in the AgRC currently reside in Baldwin Hall. In the fall of 2014, Woodland Glen II, currently under construction, will become the brand-new home of the program.
Celebrating its 25th year on campus in fall 2014, the Living Learning Program at the University of Kentucky provides students with an environment to learn where they live and to live where they learn. The Division of Student Affairs Office of Residence Life, creators of the program, collaborated with academic and other student success partners to complement the classroom experience. Through Living Learning Communities and Residential Colleges, UK offers students an opportunity to live and learn together in an integrated academic residential environment. This dynamic residential experience offers specialized programming, interactions with UK faculty and staff, and a supportive community that focuses on student success.
The program has grown exponentially in recent years with 965 students participating in 13 programs this fall. Six more programs will be added in fall 2014, nine times more than in 2008. For more information, visit http://uknow.uky.edu/content/students-live-and-learn-uk. To view additional videos about living and learning at UK, visit this YouTube playlist: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL0vC9-Q8LFczrqJaZ70CeGluwq4D912xB.
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