Community college thrives with new residence life strategy
- Onondaga Community College will expand its living-learning communities, grouping students with similar majors into common dormitory space, to more than 30% of its total residential student enrollment this fall
- Officials say the residence life strategy has helped to increase retention and to reduce conflicts among roommates, as faculty are able to provide more concentrated tutoring and mentoring to major-specific cohorts in uncommon learning space.
- About 12 communities divided among programs such as criminal justice and STEM are housed in the living-learning communities.
Several four-year institutions have found success with living-learning communities, which schools like Colorado State University have expanded to include centralizing among major, age and transfer status. And while the typical college experience demands students be immersed in and embracing diversity, the undergraduate experience of being surrounded by common ideas and pursuits in the same major can be an additional tool in retaining students and reducing time-to-completion statistics.
But campuses should be cautious of walking the fine line between developing communities and potentially discriminating against students because of major or other factors. At the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, 30 LGBTQ students will move into 'Pride Place' this fall, a designated living space for the community. While this community has been largely embraced by students and families, it only takes one student to potentially claim, and prove, unfair separations or accommodations under discrimination or Title IX law.
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