learning community, general education, high impact practices, residential linkage, seminar


One form of learning community involves students taking a shared academic course while living together. At Elon University between 2011 and 2015, in a partnership between academic and student life portions of the university, this form of learning community was scaled up to include more than half of first-year students in the fall semester. Each cohort of students lived in a residential neighborhood together and took one of two required four-credit general education courses, COR 110 (an interdisciplinary seminar) or ENG 110 (a writing course). Lessons learned across the five years include the importance of building with faculty guidance, linking to neighborhoods (not halls), integrating faculty development (and not adding it, whenever possible), being attentive to building design and management, rewarding faculty and staff leadership, and assessing and experimenting rigorously.