Book cover for The Faculty Factor: Developing Faculty Engagement with Living Learning Communities
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ISBN: 9781642672534

January 2023

Founded in 2013 as Elon’s first residential neighborhood, the Global Neighborhood combined elements of LLCs and residential colleges through a series of connected buildings, faculty, staff, and programs. The construction timeframe allowed time for a team of faculty, staff, and students, led by a faculty neighborhood director, to develop a residential neighborhood plan grounded in the RCP. The plan articulated unique programs, linked courses (comprised of students from the neighborhood), campus partners, definitions, assessment measures, methods for promoting global literacy, roles for a range of mentors, as well as intellectual, personal, and community goals.

The plan also included a broad annual theme which was global in nature (food was perhaps the most popular theme). Each month’s calendar included dinners to promote discussion on global themes, programming by peer mentors, informal faculty meet and greets or presentations (departments introducing themselves and their research work or exploring a contemporary issue), service projects to support new immigrants living near campus, and a monthly global film followed by discussion. To achieve these goals, a large central facility was constructed that could be used for multiple purposes as a large gathering space. It includes a fireplace for a “chat” type environment, a theater style room for the showing of documentaries and films, a grab-and-go dining option for students, and globally themed artwork. The facility intentionally houses our Global Education Center offices and offices for the Core Curriculum where Elon’s signature first year course, “The Global Experience”, is supported.

In addition to the Global Neighborhood’s intellectual engagements and a broad range of social programs, the plan focused on linking specific courses and faculty to the neighborhood. Faculty were recruited to teach linked courses (comprised only of students in the neighborhood), invited to neighborhood engagements, and consulted about the overall plans and assessments, and they participated in professional development considering how linked courses might further their disciplinary goals. To facilitate these efforts, each residence hall in the neighborhood was constructed to include a specifically designed classroom to support instruction of the core curriculum. One of the residence hall buildings also includes a teaching kitchen to support instruction that might introduce students to global food or sustainable food issues.

Faculty members who teach in the neighborhood classrooms often attend and assign the neighborhood films and dinners as part of class requirements. These faculty have a unique position in supporting the neighborhood learning outcomes. Carefully designed assessment of learning outcomes in their courses also dovetail with methods for assessing neighborhood learning outcomes across both fall and spring semesters. In this way, in addition to living-learning community faculty and members of the neighborhood association, linked course faculty become an additional cadre of teachers and mentors influencing the neighborhood and mentoring these students.