LLC expansion introduces new communities with more to come

Academic Affairs and Student Affairs have expanded LLC offerings this academic year with the pilot of Leadership and Wicked Problems communities.

Under 50 percent of freshmen currently participate in an LLC, and the expansion will continue to the next academic year, with the addition of a Global Engagement LLC in the fall of 2017.

Located in Hunt and Le Mans halls, the leadership LLC was established in 2014, and has been re-imagined for 2016. The program aims to help students develop their leadership qualities. The newest LLC community, Wicked Problems, is located at Basil Moreau Hall. It is named from theorist Horst Rittel’s definition of wicked problems as complex social issues that have no clear solution.

Associate Director of Residence Life Anthony Farmer and Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs, Molly Minus responded to Hilltop Views via email, responding as a united voice for Academic Affairs and Student Affairs. Listing advantages of LLCs besides the tight-knit communities, the representatives said, “students who live in LLCs tend to do better academically, as well, when compared with students that do not participate in LLCs,” Farmer and Minus said. “Furthermore, students in LLCs have additional opportunities to connect with faculty outside the classroom in informal settings creating collegial bonds that will last well beyond their college years.”

LLC requirements include an hour-long seminar once a week and a three credit class. Other requirements vary depending on the LLC. For instance, those in the social justice community must complete three hours of community service each semester. Science and mathematics majors in Wicked Problems and honors have additional programming available to them, such as access to tutors for those subjects.

Freshman Ray Grosvenor considered joining an LLC, but ultimately decided not to.

“I think that the seminar and the extra class would get in the way of getting time to study and focusing on my classes,” Grosvenor said.

Though LLCs are intended to have students take classes alongside students they live with so a sense of community is fostered, 15 percent of the commuter first year students were invited to join as well.

These commuter students in LLCs are participating in a pilot and their experiences will determine Academic and Student Affairs’ next steps concerning first year commuter students in LLCs.

“I will admit that the class was a bit unnecessary, but I don’t regret taking the class because it has helped me,” freshman Kevin Wilson said.

LLCs have been at St. Edward’s University since 2007. Farmer and Minus said national research supports that students in LLCs at St. Edward’s are experiencing a smoother academic and social transition to college as well as a higher likeliness to apply critical thinking skills, amongst other things.

90 percent of students during the 2015-2016 academic year reported that they enjoyed their overall experience in their LLC, Farmer and Minus said.