Beginning this fall, USD’s Living Learning Communities will expand to include all first year students. The unique program groups participants into residence halls organized by theme. They live and study together while taking classes related to that theme. Many freshmen report heightened academic and social satisfaction thanks to the LLC experience.
“The program received such rave reviews from students and faculty that USD wanted to provide this opportunity to all students,” said Noelle Norton, PhD, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.
Residents of each LLC will be assigned to one of multiple related preceptorial classes. Each preceptorial class enjoys a reduced class size and a faculty preceptor, who serves as an academic advisor. A preceptorial assistant—an upperclassman, who maintains contact with the students throughout the first semester, offers additional support.
“Students come to USD expecting small class sizes, and the ability to get to know the professors on a more personal basis than at many larger schools. This program highlights and intensifies this experience for first year students by setting them up with a faculty preceptor.” –Claire Kuelbs ‘15
Toreros agree that small class size, accessible professors and strong community make USD special. According to Preceptorial Assistant Claire Kuelbs ’15, the LLC program intensifies that desirable experience. “In addition, the LLC program encompasses the mission statement of USD by increasing community in first year areas and creating a more intellectual climate,” Kuelbs said.
The LLCs were introduced in 2010, and rapidly attracted interest. By 2011, 30 percent of first year students were living in LLCs. By 2012, 50 percent were involved. Resident Assistant Leeza Earl ’15 was an LLC participant in her first year. “Students in the LLCs have more opportunities and are exposed to things they probably wouldn't have been exposed to in a residence hall without a theme,” Earl said.
“When choosing a LLC don't be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone. Do something you may be interested in and step into it with an open mind.” –Leeza Earl ‘15
“I loved the LLC experience,” Kuelbs said. “My closest friends at USD lived very close to me. With the expansion of the LLC program to encompass all freshmen, it gives each and every incoming student the ability to make connections with people that are similar to one another, but also get to know some of the outstanding faculty we have on the USD campus.”
This year, LLC themes include: Change, Faith and Reason, Globalization, Honors, Intersections, Natural World, Globalization, Space Place Sound and Sustainability. “When choosing a LLC don't be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone,” Earl said. “All of the themes are great so if you don't get in the theme you want you may find a passion for something you never knew existed.”
- Anne Malinoski '11