The Residential College Model: Student Housing Collides with the Classroom

KSQ Principal Armand Quadrini had the opportunity to present at the 4th Annual Residential College Symposium at Washington University recently–our presentation focused on the idea of transforming vintage or legacy halls into living-learning spaces without major redesign. Needless to say, he enjoyed the opportunity to learn from student affairs and faculty leaders across the nation on how this residential model is impacting their campus. [caption id="attachment_6643" align="aligncenter" width="459"] Dr. Frank Shushok from Virginia Tech presents one of the keynote addresses at the 4th annual Residential College Symposium held this year at Washington University.[/caption] Whether simply including more whiteboard-equipped study spaces in an honors hall to actual classrooms and faculty-in-residence apartments in a residential college, KSQ understands that combining academic spaces with living spaces helps many college students engage more in their studies, achieve higher GPAs and remain connected to their university. In fact, a study published in Research in Higher Education showed that 35% of students are less likely to leave after their first year than similar students not enrolled in a learning community. Converting Legacy Halls to Living-Learning The idea of living-learning communities or residential colleges need not apply to new construction only. In fact, KSQ has successfully converted aging, 60s-era buildings into vibrant, modern living-learning residence halls to help facilitate current programming and curriculum. [caption id="attachment_6647" align="aligncenter" width="820"] This rarely used basement was transformed as part of a renovation to convert a legacy residence hall into a living-learning community for Baylor University.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_6648" align="aligncenter" width="900"] Today the basement provides a wealth of multifunctionality, from classroom and study spaces to this active recreational space as well as a fitness room.[/caption] Integrating living/learning communities or a residential college model into an existing hall offers a unique opportunity for housing to play an important role in how many students learn today. Discovering areas to add faculty-in-residence apartments, classrooms and study rooms while minimizing bed loss is a creative programming exercise for which an experienced student housing firm can assist.