By Jonathan Edouard
Florida A&M University (FAMU) has made its Living-Learning Community (LLC) Program central to the academic success of its high achieving undergraduate students.
The six-year-old initiative, which allows students of common academic interests to live, work and play together, has led to higher GPAs and improved retention and graduation rates – key metrics that count toward the University’s Performance Based Funding from the Florida Board of Governors.
Conducted in partnership with the Division of Academic Affairs and the Division of Student Affairs, the FAMU LLC Program provides incoming freshmen a unique opportunity that is focused on faculty engagement, active learning, and the ability to live and work closely with classmates as they matriculate through the University.
In the fall semester, freshmen LLC students will live together in the FAMU Towers, the University’s newest residence hall, and participate in focused out-of-class learning experiences such as study groups, community service projects, career exploration and development, mentoring, leadership development, research, global education, and cultural and social activities.
“The LLC has allowed me to learn about networking and building connections with my fellow classmates,” said Kinnedi Bonner, a broadcast journalism student from Tallahassee who lives in the Journalism LLC. “Due to COVID-19, we could not do the normal activities in the LLC; however, the administration has tried its best to make it family-oriented and an overall great learning experience.”
In 2015, the inaugural LLC Program began with five major-specific programs – Business, STEM, Journalism, Allied Health Sciences, and Honors. Since then, the offerings have grown to 13 separate LLCs representing each school and college. More than 380 freshmen participate in the program.
Director Brenda C. Spencer, Ph.D., often describes the LLC Program as a supportive community within a larger supportive community.
“The program helps students with their academic and social transition from high school to the University,” said Spencer, whose office is housed in the Undergraduate Student Success Center, 501 Orr Drive, Gore Education Complex-C 214.
“Students thrive in and outside of the classroom and motivate each other to succeed,” she said.
The LLCs also help students create long-lasting relationships through the experiences and events organized to build comradery. While the COVID-19 pandemic has curtailed some activities, freshmen have found the program beneficial.
“So, this is my first year in an LLC and with COVID there’s been some restrictions, but from what I experienced, it’s pretty cool especially if you’re in a small college like me,” said Kayla Smith, a first-year College of Agriculture and Food Sciences LLC student from Miami. “Honestly, I think the relationships that I have built throughout the semester will most likely continue throughout my life.”
As the fall 2021 semester approaches, incoming freshmen can apply to live in the following LLCs: Allied Health Sciences, Agriculture & Food Sciences, Architecture & Engineering Technology, Business & Industry, Journalism & Graphic Communication, Education, Engineering, Environmental Sciences, Nursing, Pharmacy, Science & Technology, Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities Leadership and Service, and the Provost’s Leadership LLC, which is open to all majors but is reserved for University scholars. Each LLC has a designated liaison.
Incoming freshmen who have already been admitted to the University are encouraged to apply for one of the LLC options via the Housing/LLC application process. Those accepted will live in FAMU’s newest housing complex, FAMU Towers. The deadline to apply for the LLC Program is May 1, 2021.
For more information, email Brenda.Spencer@famu.edu or call (850) 412-5790.