2020 Residential College Symposium Presentations

RCS 2020 shield

Videos of all sessions are now available. Links will open a new YouTube window. Many thanks to our wonderful presenters!

Download the conference program (pdf)

Always available

Self-guided tours of UofSC faculty-led communities

Monday, October 26




These loosely moderated sessions are a chance for you to connect with other participants and make introductions and connections.


Plenary: How to be HIP: Examining the Residential College Model as a High-Impact Practice
Dr. Jennifer Keup, Executive Director National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition at the University of South Carolina
Download the presentation slides


Q&A with Plenary Speaker
Jennifer Keup, University of South Carolina
Around the room, highs and lows: Creating a shared reference for philosophy and practice in Residential Colleges
Nick Blair, Southern Methodist University
Nate Faust, Southern Methodist University
This session seeks to introduce a form of shared language and classification that can be used to more efficiently understand, reference, and communicate the various aspects of implementations of a residential college model. Based on an on-going research project, presenters will provide their findings and offer opportunity for discussion.
To Theme or Not to Theme? That is the Question
Caren Freeman, University of Virginia
Karen Inkelas, University of Virginia
Aida Barnes-May, University of Virginia
How does the presence or absence of themes contribute to the creation and experience of community? What are best practices for tinkering with the thematic landscape at your residential college? How might we leverage themes to address the twin diseases of COVID-19 and endemic racism? Join us for discussion.
Download the presentation slides
Deepening Faculty/Student Interaction in Residential Colleges
Jody Jessup-Anger, Marquette University
Mimi Benjamin, Indiana University of Pennsylvania
Residential Colleges offer a unique structure for faculty to engage with students in novel ways, including in co-curricular activities, retreats, and campus programs. We will provide an overview of research on faculty and student engagement, offer a framework for considering faculty engagement, and advance strategies for developing meaningful faculty-student interaction.


Refreshing the Faculty-in-Residence Position: From Recruitment to Evaluation

Emily Kilburg, Southern Methodist University
After six years of a residential college model, Southern Methodist University was in need of refreshing their Faculty-in-Residence position. Come learn of the structure and work of a Faculty-in-Residence Position and Evaluation Task Force who updated the position description, overhauled the on-boarding process, further integrated FiR families, and developed a 360-evaluation process incorporating traditional Faculty Activity Reports.
“Tag me in that:” Social Media, Networked Publics, and Digital Communities
Liam Rice, Emmanuel College
Social media platforms, from the rise and fall of Myspace to the omnipresence of Facebook, have profoundly shaped higher education, especially in a pandemic-mediated world. At its core, online interactions are no less important than those found in the student union or residence hall and must be engaged with the same importance and vigor. This session provides participants with theoretical background on online student development and communities, as well as exploration of student affairs impact on digital communities.
Developing Faculty Engagement with Living Learning Communities
Lara Lomicka Anderson, University of South Carolina
Jennifer Eidum, Elon University
Dustin K. Grabsch, Southern Methodist University
Ryan Erck, Baylor University
Carl Krieger, Purdue University
Rishi Sriram, Baylor University
In this session, panelists share an overview of Faculty-in-residence programs, productive faculty/res life partnerships, collaboration between academic and student affairs, and challenges of FIR families on campus. In an open discussion, panelists will be guided by the question: “Why do faculty in LLCs matter, now and in the future?”


Discussion on Black Lives Matter, Social Justice, and Equity
This moderated discussion will touch on these questions:
— How is your Residential College supporting Black students?
— Has your institution made any big moves to support these students?
— What initiatives is your campus doing that you would want to share?
— Is there anything happening in your community that you would want to share?

Social event with our custom cocktail and mocktail
These unmoderated sessions are a chance for you to connect with other participants and talk about whatever you like! Feel free to jump between rooms to meet more people.

RCS cocktail
1oz vodka or gin
3oz raspberry club soda
Serve on the rocks
Fun options: raspberry-flavored vodka, use frozen raspberries in lieu of some ice, muddle your raspberries, add a splash of raspberry kombucha at the end

LLC mocktail
1oz lime juice
1oz lemon juice
1oz simple syrup
3oz coconut water
1/2 cup of ice
Combine in a cocktail shaker, and garnish with lemon or lime wedge

Tuesday, October 27


Student Speaker: The Universe called “shotgun”
Aidan Baker, University of South Carolina, BBA Marketing 2022


Breaking Down the Numbers: Residential Colleges and their Relationship to Student Retention
Samuel Cox, Baylor University
Leia Duncan, Baylor University
This presentation examines variables regarding retention at three residential colleges and their neighboring residential communities at a private university through data collected in the 2020 SkyFactor Housing Survey and institutional retention data.  Presenters use data to explore how residential college leaders can improve student satisfaction and retention efforts.
Inescapable Engagement! The Experiences from Faculty In-Residence – an Example from Oklahoma State University
Rodney Eksteen, Oklahoma State University
D’Antae Potter, Oklahoma State University
The College of Engineering, Architecture, and Technology, In-Residence (CEAT-IR) position is the first of its kind at Oklahoma State University. A brief summary of a portion of the 2019/2020 academic year programmatic activities conducted in this role are presented. A description of the inception, execution, and various collaborations are highlighted.
Academic and Student Success within a Residential College Model
Dustin Grabsch, Southern Methodist University
Jennifer Post, Southern Methodist University
Jonathan Lindbloom, Southern Methodist University
This study sought to understand the potential impacts of housing and a residential college model have on academic and student success over a five-year period. We employed an exploratory research study to understand variables associated with student retention, graduation, and other student success indicators maintained in housing and institutional databases.


RCs as HIPs Gateways: Connecting RCs to Student Success
Jennifer Stephens, University of North Carolina Greensboro
John Sopper, University of North Carolina Greensboro
Sarah Cobb, University of North Carolina Greensboro
Connecting residential colleges to student success is key to the viability of residential colleges on campus. RC administrators, faculty, and students from the University of North Carolina Greensboro demonstrate how the integration of High-Impact Practices into RC curricular and co-curricular experiences led to student success metrics surpassing the campus average.
The Power of Microsoft Power Bi: A University Housing Example
Catherine Sturm, University of South Carolina
Telling your living learning community’s story can be difficult if you have several separate datasets that are collected in different ways.  Being able to pull your data together is extremely beneficial not only to the assessment professional but for those who make programmatic decisions. Creating a relationship between datasets using Microsoft Power Bi not only illustrates where immediate program adjustments are needed but can also assist with student retention/outreach, and staff program tracking.  During this presentation, the attendee will hear how University Housing Assessment uses Microsoft Power Bi  to improve the residential living experience.
Civil Discourse: Education, Promotion, and Participation on our College Campuses
Sylvia Wade, Elon University
Trianne Smith, Elon University
With an impending presidential election and a global pandemic, the phrase civil discourse has been thrown around. What is civil discourse? How can we educate our students on how to participate in it? This session will discuss collaborating with campus partners to impart the value of civil discourse in relation to civic engagement in its many forms.


Living and Learning in Historical Context
Clark Maddux, Appalachian State University
Thel Kelejian, Appalachian State University
Jenna Kubiak, Appalachian State University
Zach Ranson, Appalachian State University
This panel will provide the research findings of 3 students participating in their capstone class of the Watauga Residential College at Appalachian State University.  The three papers will explore how residential colleges arising in the 1960s and 1970s differed from those that came before and after.
Training Culture: Shifting Student Staff Experiences
Madison Mucci-Ferris, Southern Methodist University
Emily Kilburg, Southern Methodist University
Nathan Faust, Southern Methodist University
Changing culture is one of the most daunting tasks a team can take on. At Southern Methodist University, we were wanting to make a culture shift around our student training to match our RC Model, create greater buy-in, and increase engagement. Further we sought to include all student leaders (peer leaders and community council members) in an integrated training model. Southern Methodist University changed the culture of their yearly student leader training sessions and they’re sharing the successes, challenges, and results of the process in this session.
Imagining the Possibilities: How Benchmarking Can Improve Our Work
Sherry Woosley, Skyfactor (Formerly EBI)
Matt Venaas, Skyfactor (Formerly EBI)
Housing professionals need solid strategies to make sense of assessment data and drive action. Benchmarking, one powerful option, involves making comparisons to identify best practices and opportunities for improvement. This session will describe the types of benchmarking and the value of benchmarking using both theoretical and applied student affairs examples.


Discussion on COVID
This moderated discussion will touch on these questions:
— How has COVID changed life in your Residential College?
— What new and innovative approaches to residential college living have you tried? What has worked? What didn’t meet your expectations?
— Share your campus dashboard

Wednesday, October 28


It’s More Than Housing: Growing Campus Buy-In for Your Residential College System
Emily Kilburg, Southern Methodist University
Dustin K. Grabsch, Southern Methodist University
Maria I. Schoppa, Southern Methodist University
Nicholas J. Blair, Southern Methodist University
Madison Mucci-Ferris, Southern Methodist University
If you’re attending RCS, you have likely spent some time shouting to the rooftops about your institution’s incredible RC System. After working to perfect the RC system in a few campus groups, how do you ensure everyone on campus is as enthusiastic as your core team? This presentation will outline the process Southern Methodist University used to gain campus buy-in from every level (students, high level administrators, admissions, conduct, and everything in-between). We will give specific examples of ways to increase buy-in on campus and conclude with strategies for getting commitment from each stakeholder.
Creating a Process for Living-Learning Program Evaluation
Matt Kwiatkowski, Virginia Tech
Amanda Eagan, Virginia Tech
Evaluation of Living-Learning Programs is essential for their ongoing success and sustainability. Presenters will share a tool they’ve developed, adapted from the text Living-Learning Communities That Work: A Research-Based Model for Design, Delivery, and Assessment. Further, presenters will share their process in working with LLP partners in conducting bi-annual evaluation.
Creating Campus Partnerships to Foster High-Impact Learning Experiences
Tricia Kramer, University of South Carolina
This session provides examples, models, and lessons learned for developing strategic partnerships between campus programs, including residential colleges, to create undergraduate research opportunities and other high-impact learning experiences. The goal is to help participants utilize existing campus resources to enhance student experiences and augment resources available for campus partners. 


Collaborate for Success: Maximizing the Human Resources in the Residential Colleges
Taylor Carnes, Vanderbilt University
Melissa Mallon, Vanderbilt University
Jill Stratton, Vanderbilt University
Join colleagues from experiential learning units at Vanderbilt University to share innovative strategies to increase collaboration in the residential colleges to support student success. We will specifically highlight a new program called Campus Connections that launched this fall to connect students with important university resources and share lessons learned.
Life in College: Diversity and Inclusion by Design
Jane Rathbone
, Hanbury Design
Matt Lee, Hanbury Design
Nancy Redenius, Hanbury Design
This session will provide insights and lessons learned from several Residential Colleges, including how space enriches the student experience and shapes behavior. We will discuss how we can, through intentional design, achieve a vibrant community–one that increases the probability of diversity and inclusion.
Making a Location a Place: Plotting Residential Colleges in the U.S.A
Lara Lomicka Anderson, University of South Carolina
Logan Lebrón, Columbia, SC
The Residential College (RC) Mapping Project was designed to assist administrators, faculty, and staff in assessing data about RCs around the U.S. We provide a geographic perspective of more than 70 RCs, discuss the design of the project and present the results of a short survey. The survey data help to better define RCs and provide insight into commonalities and factors that make each RC unique.

The Residential College Mapping Project allows you to search  for a RC by institution, dining facility, classes and classrooms and live in faculty. If your RC is not on the map and you would like it to be, please complete the questionnaire. Please direct any questions to Lara Lomicka Anderson and Logan Lebron.


The Power of Deeper Life: How Meaningful Interactions Help Students Thrive in Residential Learning Communities
Ryan Erck, Baylor University
Rishi Sriram, Baylor University
Alexis Ngo, Baylor University
Recent studies demonstrate how powerful deeper life interactions (concerning meaning, value, and purpose) can be toward influencing student success. In this session, participants will learn the value of deeper life interactions and hear from faculty, staff, and current students about recommendations for practice to incorporate these interactions into residential colleges.
Quantitative metrics to drive and assess qualitative connections; The use of data analytics in the Residential College System
Rosevelt Noble, Vanderbilt University
This session explores how the use of quantitative data analytics by residential faculty members can in the short-term, identify deficits in making connections with their students.  In the long-term, quantitative metrics can provide insight into the factors influencing the faculty members ability to produce substantive qualitative connections with students.
The Beginning of Our Unlearning: A Conversation Exploring Power and Oppression in the Residential College Model
Lauren Oliver, Virginia Tech University
Emily Whitehouse, Virginia Tech University
C.L. Bohannon, Virginia Tech University
Jill Stratton, Vanderbilt University
Janice McCabe, Dartmouth College
The Residential College Society’s motto requires our undivided attention. Current events have continued to illuminate that perhaps Dwelling Together requires first unlearning about systems and the oppression they yield. This panel of thought leaders in their respective fields will help us imagine a model around our work that radically includes.

Closing Plenary: Why Now? Residential colleges and radical change

Dr. Shannon Lundeen, Director of Academic-Residential Partnerships, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Co-Chair, Residential College Society
Dr. Jennifer Stephens, Residential Colleges Office Director, Teacher Education Fellows Program Director, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Education, University of North Carolina Greensboro