Living-Learning Communities Grounded in Faith

Andrea McCaffrey

A distinguishing hallmark of Catholic colleges across the nation is that students do not have to choose between changing the world and advancing their career goals. They can do both.

With opportunities offered through global and service learning programs, students attending faith-based institutions with Living-Learning Communities are able to extend the Church’s mission of service around the world while developing communication and leadership skills in high demand by employers.

Living-Learning Communities Extend Catholic Mission of Service

Living-Learning Communities (LLCs) help bring academics into the residence halls by allowing students to live and learn among like-minded people who share their academic, professional and personal interests.

Students in these communities live together on the same residence hall floor to assist in developing supportive peer relationships. Specialized programming, study groups, and engaging activities provide a unique residence hall experience geared toward increasing overall student success.

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Living-Learning Community participants have a greater satisfaction with their college and residence hall experiences, are more academically engaged and involved on campus, achieve higher grades and, as a result, are more likely to return the next year.

Exemplary Living-Learning Community Programs in the United States

For instance, Blouin Global Scholars Program at Walsh University provides students with a unique opportunity to become part of a community of students and faculty dedicated to using scholarship and service to address major global issues. In 2012, the inaugural class chose world hunger as their cohort theme with the goal to make a difference on a global scale.

The Blouin Scholars have dedicated three years of study and research on food insecurity and sustainability issues. Their hard work culminated in a senior capstone project this year in Italy, with Caritas Internationalis, the humanitarian and international development organization of the Vatican.

The Social Justice Living-Learning Community at St. Edwards University is another example of a residence program that combines the passions of students with high-impact educational practices. Students in this LLC get access to a unique one-hour seminar in Social Justice, plus access to the socially active city of Austin, TX, where there are ample opportunities to get involved in faith-based communities.

Private Colleges Equal Better Learning Outcomes

Students at private colleges with Living-Learning Communities are more likely to experience courses that uniquely prepare them for their careers through hands-on interactive learning, internships, global experiences and service opportunities.

report released in June 2015 by the Council of Independent Colleges reinforces the fact that students who enroll in smaller private colleges are experiencing more student engagement and achieving better learning outcomes that their peers at public institutions. Graduates enter the workforce prepared for the 21st Century with strong communication and critical thinking skills, a global perspective, ethical decision making abilities and real-world experience in their fields.

Check out the Colleges of Distinction list of Catholic Colleges of Distinction for more schools of faith that may offer Living-Learning Communities you can get involved in.