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Feb. 29, 2016
By Lexi Ryan, media relations assistant
|Above and below, students in living and academic learning communities gather in residence hall lounges for a study session. (Photos by Todd Weddle/Northwest Missouri State University)|
A new model for living and learning on campus is providing Northwest Missouri State University students and faculty with more opportunities to connect and share experiences.
The living and academic learning communities were introduced by the University in the fall. Students studying majors in the School of Agricultural Sciences, School of Business and the Department of Natural Sciences have designated floors in the residence halls.
“Each community is finding its own identity with the help of the residential life staff,” Meghan Davis, assistant director of residential life student success, said. “The faculty and students are making connections outside of the classroom, and the students are feeling a greater connection to Northwest.”
Students have opportunities to network with other students, alumni and faculty in ways that peers on a traditional residential floor do not. These relationships enhance studying techniques and help them build contacts with Career Services and alumni in their perspective fields.
Students living in the communities have connected and socialized through events such as a barbecue with faculty, an ice cream social and faculty trivia night, a professional etiquette dinner, cosmic bowling and a panel of professionals within their disciplines.
Those strong connections also impact students’ decisions to continue their degree programs at Northwest. The University recently reported 100 percent of the students participating in the academic learning community last fall returned for the spring trimester.
“You get to have a group of people to study with automatically and you do not have to search for others to form those study groups,” said Samee Sprenkle, a residential assistant and senior from Edwardsville, Kansas, studying biology with an environmental science emphasis. “You get the opportunity to go to programming sessions like etiquette dinners, which help with future job application. I honestly wish I had been given this opportunity as a freshman.”
Shelley Riley, assistant professor of chemistry, added, “Students in the community share the same academic interests and are taking the same introductory first-year courses. That connection and the ability to use each other as resources is invaluable, especially during that first year of university-level coursework.”
Staff in the University’s residential life, academic and admissions offices are continuing to evaluate the communities and hope to expand the offerings in coming years.
“I would definitely recommend future students participate in the learning communities,” Kaili Sager, a marketing major from Bellevue, Nebraska, said. “It has helped me as a freshman get acquainted, meet staff in my department of study and given me opportunities to put myself ahead of my peers.”
Northwest also offers a special interest community for honors students. For more information about living and academic learning communities at Northwest, contact the Office of Residential Life at email@example.com or 660.562.1214.
Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
firstname.lastname@example.org | 660.562.1704 | Fax: 660.562.1900
Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468