Creating A Premier Residential Experience

Published on 11 September 2019

Beginning in fall 2019, first- and second-year students at St. Louis College of Pharmacy will have an opportunity to further enhance their on-campus living experience with the introduction of the Diversity and Global Citizenship Living and Learning Community.

Through a partnership between the Offices of Students Affairs, International Programs, and Diversity and Inclusion, the community will engage students outside the classroom to build connections among its diverse members. Students living in the community will learn about education and health care systems around the world from visiting international scholars.

“The global citizenship and diversity idea came about because of how it connects a lot of the resources we already have at the College,” said Heather French, Ed.D., vice president for student affairs. “I think it would be wonderful and ideal if this community served as one of our flagship programs that highlights our institutional values, as we aim to be a globally prominent institution. It also speaks to students who are wanting to serve a diverse patient population.”

Through their experiences in the community, students will develop a better understanding of their own beliefs and biases, the significance of health care education and global health care, and the need to recognize the dignity of every human being.

Members of the living and learning community will reside on the same floor of North Residence Hall where they will participate in programming, courses and off-campus activities together. First-year students will be enrolled as a cohort in the College’s Foundations of Learning course, while second-year students will enroll together in a global heritage course.

Through the development of living and learning communities, the College is creating a premier student experience that is thoughtfully designed to reinforce the College’s values and academic programs.

“These communities help promote a positive student experience by reinforcing the learning students are doing in the classroom within their residential experience,” French said. “We will have a residential curriculum, led by the resident assistants, centered on what students are learning in their courses, and it becomes a loop of reinforcement.”

Following the launch of the Diversity and Global Citizenship Living and Learning Community, the Office of Student Affairs has plans for future communities that will create connections on campus and new opportunities for students. 

“These communities will bring more options for students and allow them to receive the full benefit of living on campus,” French said. “We are creating opportunities for students to receive more than just amenities. We are creating a wrap-around residential college experience that truly deepens the overall educational experience.” 

As the College looks for ways to continually improve the student experience, the Office of Student Affairs is working to support the changing needs of students and create opportunities that are relevant and impactful.

On campus, across the region and even at a national level, the College is working to create a culture of advocacy where students feel empowered to seek change. 

“On any campus, it’s important for students to be able to create change when it comes to issues they think are important and necessary,” French said. “In college, students are starting to build their own voice and sense of advocacy. How we, as a college, support, deeply listen and respond can have a major impact on their experience.”

The College is also building new support structures for students. Many students face adversity in their personal lives that can impede their academic success. The College is addressing these under-the-surface needs with initiatives like an emergency fund that can provide a grant when students experience a  temporary setback and need assistance with basic needs. 

As new ideas are implemented to enhance the student experience, French makes sure that students remain at the center of the conversation. 

“First and foremost, we are all here because of the students,” French said. “They have to be our focus. Really listening to what the students’ needs are and developing the proper response to meet students where they are plays into the ultimate goal of improving the student experience on campus.”

This story was featured in the spring 2019 issue of Script magazine. To read past issues of the magazine, visit the Script magazine archive.

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