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Laurier’s Residence Learning Communities bridge gap between students and faculty
Wilfrid Laurier University’s Residence Learning Communities (RLCs) bring together students with similar academic interests to stimulate learning outside the classroom. This year, Laurier has 14 RLCs with interests ranging from departments such as French and History to themes such as Songwriters and Women in Science. In addition to supporting Laurier’s integrated and engaged learning mandate, RLCs are now bridging the gap between students and faculty members, with nearly 30 professors visiting RLCs this semester.
“The intent is to create an out-of-class connection between first-year students and faculty members,” said Dave Shorey, associate director of residence education. “I think that first-year students are often hesitant to approach professors, even though they hold office hours and invite students to meet before or after class. There is still a perceived barrier, and having a faculty member come into a residence is a way to help break down that barrier.”
Faculty members who visit RLCs talk to students about their personal histories and research, exam preparation and how to be a successful student. They will also accompany students to special events on campus.
For example, Assistant Professor of French Jane Newland visits the RLC La Maison Française almost every week, welcoming students to the discipline, cooking French foods such as crêpes and conducting a reading group. Assistant Professor Laura Allan and Associate Professor Sofy Carayannopoulos from the School of Business and Economics have visited the business RLC to speak to students about how their first year at Laurier translates to success in upper years. Assistant Professor of Sociology Linda Quirke has helped students look at sociology from a practical, application-based lens by conducting activities in residence.
“This connection helps students’ performance in the discipline they are in, and encourages them to engage with faculty more regularly. We hope that we can help first year students discover their passion by connecting their curricular and co-curricular experiences,” said Shorey.
Students can select to be a part of an RLC when they sign up for residence. Visit http://mylaurier.ca/reslife/info/learning_communities.htm for further information.