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Living-Learning communities being exanded at UI

Melissa Mitchell, News Editor 
(217) 333-5491; melissa@illinois.edu

2/11/2000

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Today’s college students are expecting more from their residence-hall experiences than ever before.  And at the University of Illinois, student needs are being met through a number of innovative housing plans.

This fall, the UI will roll out two new residential options for students seeking
outside-the-classroom experiences that are more closely aligned with their educational interests and goals.  The additions are “Global Crossroads:  An International Living/Learning Community” and the “Leadership Living/Learning Community.”

“These living/learning communities create a seamless campus experience for the students by connecting curricular and co-curricular activities and programs, and by bringing academics into the residence halls,” said Deborah Richie, assistant director for academic programs in the UI’s Housing Division.

Features of the communities include on-site classes and seminars, advising and referral services, as well as tutors and activities that bring students together with university faculty members.

“The Global Crossroads community was designed to strengthen students’ international educational experiences and to help them better understand the international dimension of many world issues,” said Earl Kellogg, associate provost for international affairs and director of International Programs and Studies.  The program’s aim, he said, is “to help students understand that others have different perspectives … and not only to understand what others think, but why they think it.”

In addition, community members – students from the United States and
elsewhere – will have the opportunity to enroll in courses with other students from the Global Crossroads Community, follow world events through access to international media, interact with faculty members and campus visitors interested in global issues, and practice foreign language skills.  They also will receive assistance in preparing for international internships and study-abroad opportunities.

The program, which will serve 120 residents located on the second and third floors of Saunders Hall, in the Pennsylvania Avenue Residence Halls (PAR), was developed in partnership with International Programs and Studies and the colleges of Agriculture, Consumer and Environmental Sciences; Commerce and Business Administration; Engineering; Fine and Applied Arts; and Liberal Arts and Sciences.

The Leadership Living/Learning Community is designed for students seeking to develop their leadership skills.  The new community is being launched in tandem with a more broad-based effort to promote a campuswide leadership philosophy focusing on 11 skills and attributes, among them self-development, communication skills, project and program effectiveness and group dynamics.

Charles Olson, co-chair of the campus leadership development committee and assistant dean of academic programs in ACES, said the committee is building a program based on “the philosophy that leadership is for everyone.”  In line with that, students opting to live in the community are not required to hold formal leadership roles in any organization.  It is open to all students interested in developing leadership skills.

Features of the program, which will house 150 residents on the second floor of Garner Hall, include student self-assessment, leadership skill-building activities, on-site leadership courses and community service projects.

In addition to the two new living/learning communities, students may apply for spaces in the following existing communities:

• Weston Exploration (in Weston Hall)
The Weston Exploration program is designed to help students examine their interests, academic majors and career options.  The Career Center, LAS General Curriculum, the Counseling Center and the Office of Minority Student Affairs have staff members on-site to provide individual assistance.  As part of the program, course selections and spaces in courses are reserved for Weston students, and some of these courses are offered in Weston Hall.  Facilities include a large study space, resource library, and a computer lab solely for Weston residents’ use.

• Women in Math, Science and Engineering, or WIMSE (in Trelease Hall, part of the Florida Avenue Residence Halls)
This program provides academic and social enhancement to the approximately 135 women in the field of math, science and engineering who live there.  Participants have access to credit courses taught in the hall, spaces in courses reserved for WIMSE students, their own tutor, study groups and student workshops and programs, interactions with faculty members, social events in the hall, small-group discussions and presentations, study lounge and computer lab.

• Unit One (in Allen Hall)
This program provides an intellectually and personally challenging atmosphere characterized by a spirit of community interaction.  Encouraged to participate actively in defining and constructing their education, students are offered such features as courses, academic support services, a guest-in-residence program, music lessons, film discussion series and field trips.  Facilities include seminar rooms and studios for photography, ceramics, electronic music and video editing.

• Liberal Arts and Sciences Learning Communities
LAS Learning Communities for first-year students create a small-college atmosphere within Illinois’ large, opportunity-rich environment.  Students who enroll in these communities attend the same classes and study together, and in some communities, they live in the same residence hall.  The LAS Learning Communities this fall will have space for about 1,300 students, who have opportunities to participate in both in-class and out-of-class experiences focused on their transition to college life.  Through community service, the arts and outdoor education activities, students explore their interests and values and have fun interacting with their learning community peers.

For more information on the living/learning communities, visit the Housing Division’s Web site at www.housing.uiuc.edu; or contact Richie at (217) 333-0770 or d-richie@illinois.edu, or Susan Gonzo, associate provost, at (217) 333-2353 or s-gonzo@illinois.edu.