living-learning communities, retention, academic success, first-year experience


Many have documented the positive benefits of Living and Learning Communities (LLCs), but creating an environment that truly integrates living and learning across campus can be a challenge. In this paper we chronicle an LLC program that was intentionally built upon a broad foundation. By including faculty, staff, and student leader representation from across the campus - from admissions and academic affairs to student engagement, residence life, and enrollment management - Cabrini College has created a program that has gone beyond the numerical targets of increased retention and increased academic success. We believe the program has created transformational experiences for many student participants, and that these experiences are the result of the LLC’s integrated design. After providing a history of the program and its unique institutional structure, and offering suggestions for other institutions designing LLCs, we present both quantitative and qualitative measures of success.

Richard D. Gebauer is the Director of the First-Year Experience at Cabrini College in Radnor, Pennsylvania.

Nancy L. Watterson is an Associate Professor, Social Justice, at Cabrini College.

Eric Malm is an Associate Professor of Economics and Business at Cabrini College.

Michelle Filling-Brown is an Assistant Professor of English at Cabrini College.

John W. Cordes is an Associate Professor in Communication at Cabrini College.