Res. life plans themed housing
Published: Tuesday, November 16, 2004
Updated: Tuesday, May 31, 2011 23:05
North Quad Director Rusmir Music said that Thematic Learning Communities, or TLCs, will likely be a housing alternative for the fall 2005 semester. Residence Life is considering adopting themed housing as an alternative to traditional residence halls for the fall 2005 semester, according to North Quad Director Rusmir Music.
Music heads a committee exploring the implementation of Thematic Learning Communities at Brandeis, which would link students according to their interests.
Music said the program would likely become available as an option for rising sophomores, juniors and seniors.
According to Music, the themed housing plan is still in its preliminary stages of development, and further details will emerge when the plan takes shape.
"We're not ready to unveil [the plan] yet," Music said. "We will probably be unveiling this in the spring semester, and if everything goes well, it will be in place for room selection."
Music said that Residence Life remains uncertain about which themes they are choosing for the TLCs.
Music said these themes would be based on the results of meetings with students.
"We're giving a lot of time to hear what students want," Music said. "We've been asking general questions to students about what themes they think would work well on the Brandeis campus."
He said that Residence Life is uncertain as to which residence halls will accommodate the communities.
According to Music, the committee believes that learning communities foster an atmosphere encouraging "integrated learning," which resulted from recent research that found a correlation between students' personal development and their learning enhancement.
Music said the research also found that "peer-group influences" are a key factor in effectively advancing education.
"The residence halls provide the most natural space where this integration-of both personal learning and interpersonal connections-can happen," Music said.
Music said that Residence Life began the project with a campus-wide invitation to attract students to focus groups. They held the groups during three days in November.
According to Music, the committee asked students about their initial associations with the term "learning community," and then further questioned their opinions on what types and sizes of communities would be most successful at Brandeis.
The department has received e-mails about student opinions and comments since then.
According to Music, the committee will conduct a campus-wide survey in the coming weeks.
Student opinion seems divided on the merits of themed housing.
Some students felt that learning communities would create greater divisions among students.
"It's nice to live with people who share your interests," Allison Glansberg '07 said. "But those are probably the same people you share classes with, so you wouldn't get exposure to people with different interests."
"I think housing and the lottery system are complicated enough as it is," David Weiss '07 said.
"If Brandeis is going to make changes, they should guarantee housing to all students first," Weiss said.
Other students saw value in encouraging relationships with similarly motivated peers.
"A lot of people on my floor can study together because they have the same classes," Danna Biala '08 said. "I'd like to have the comfort they get in knowing that people are going through the same thing that I am."
Music said the committee is meeting this week to review overall student responses and will then decide its next steps.