Making College “Worth It” – Season 1, Episode 5

In this episode, we focus on living-learning communities, which combine students’ on-campus housing experiences with academic experiences like linked courses, shared academic interests, or other learning opportunities. We talk to Professor Mark Ward from Purdue University and Professor Jonathan Manz from Lewis and Clark College, two of the creators of The Data Mine Living Learning Community at Purdue, and we learn more about how the program fosters relationship-rich educational experiences. 

View a transcript of this episode.

Meet Our Guests

Photo of Jonathan Manz

Jonathan W. Manz is the inaugural Director of the First Year Experience at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, OR where he is leading the development of retention strategies and programmatic efforts around student belonging. He has served at a variety of types of higher education institutions and various student-focussed areas including academic advising, living-learning communities, academic support, student housing, and other student success initiatives. 

Headshot of Mark Ward

Mark Daniel Ward is a Professor of Statistics and (by courtesy) of Agricultural & Biological Engineering, Computer Science, Mathematics, and Public Health at Purdue University. His research is in probabilistic, combinatorial, and analytic techniques for the analysis of algorithms and data structures. He is also interested in data science, science of information, game theory, and large-scale computation. Ward currently serves as Executive Director of The Data Mine. 

Episode Credits

This episode is co-hosted by Jessie L. Moore, Director of Elon University’s Center for Engaged Learning, and Nolan Schultheis, a first-year student at Elon University, studying Psychology with an interest in law. Nolan Schultheis edited the episode. Making College “Worth It” is produced by Elon University’s Center for Engaged Learning.

Episode art was created by Jennie Goforth, managing editor for the Center for Engaged Learning, and Nolan Schultheis, the Center’s undergraduate Podcast Producer.

Funky Percussions is by Denys Kyshchuk (@audiocoffeemusic) – Soft Beat is by ComaStudio.

Learn More about Research Featured in this Episode

Learn about The Data Mine, Purdue’s large-scale learning community for undergraduate and graduate students from all majors, focused on Data Science for All.

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

The Faculty Factor

20% Discount Available with discount code AFL03 on Routledge website. Please note that this discount code cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer or discount and only applies to books purchased directly via This code expires on 31 December 2023.

Elon Statement on Residential Learning Communities as a High-Impact Practice

Download a printer-friendly [PDF] copy of the Elon Statement on Residential Learning Communities By Mimi Benjamin, Jody Jessup-Anger, Shannon Lundeen, and Cara Lucia Twenty scholars participated in the Center for Engaged Learning research seminar on Residential Learning Communities (RLCs) as…