Profs partner with Residence Life Learning Communities

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As a response to student input, Wilfrid Laurier University’s Residence Learning Communities (RLC) are exploring a new initiative that tries to bridge the gap between students and faculty.

RLC’s bring together students with similar academic passions to encourage learning outside of the classroom. 14 RLC’s are present at Laurier this year. Now, to continue to support the purpose of the communities, Residence Education is giving students the opportunity to connect with faculty members outside of the classroom.

“There has been already 40 campus partners and faculty members involved this year with the RLC,” said Megan Lott, residence academic initiatives coordinator. “The initiative is to work in partnership with faculty or campus partners to support the approach of the RLC.”

“Students and dons felt the need to combine the learning experience of university with their living experience in residence. Campus partners and faculty have caught on to how good of a program this is and are trying to help the RLC achieve an enhanced student experience,” she continued.

How the different dons in the RLC will engage with the new initiative, Lott pointed out, will be entirely up to how they want to handle it.

“The business community, for instance, has two faculties that come in quite often to see students in informal settings. Entrepreneurship has the initiative Connect. The goal is to bring faculty into residences so it humanizes the professor persona to students, so students are less hesitant to go for support.”

GianPaul Delle Donne, a fourth-year psychology and business major and don for In(nova)tion – an entrepreneurship RLC- sees the program as a positive experience.

“As a don, you want to see learning that transcends the classroom, so students are more connected to the business world. Some of the students on my floor have said they see the benefit of being on this floor,” Delle Donne said.

He also suggested that the initiative reflects the needs of students.

“I’ve had a lot of campus partners come in. We want to make sure everything we’re doing is centered on student needs, so it should be worthwhile for the students.”

“You can’t qualify this kind of success. It truly is an unique experience,” Delle Donne concluded.

Lott said the initiative is based upon an observation RLC had on student feedback.

“We recognized if a student has a positive interaction with faculty members, they were more prone and able to go see help from another campus partner and faculty. So it really is breaking the barrier between professors and students to a more comfortable standard,” Lott said.

Selena Jones is a first-year political science student and who is part of the Leadership and Service RLC. She believes the initiative is a great idea.

“As a first-year, it’s cool that I can talk to professors as normal human beings,” she said.
Lott believes the initiative will fill the need of individual student growth both academically and in general.

“It is flexible and adaptable to what the student demands are.”

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