Loyola University Maryland

First-Year Programs

Frequently Asked Questions

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  1. When is the program scheduled to begin?
  2. How will new faculty be hired?
  3. What is the commitment for individual faculty?
  4. What is the commitment for academic departments?
  5. What is the commitment for administrators?
  6. How will student leaders  be involved?
  7. How will faculty pair up with other faculty and administrators?
  8. Can faculty participate even if their department did not receive a new faculty line?
  9. How will students select courses?
  10. Are students required to take a living learning course?  Is the successful completion of two living learning courses required for graduation?
  11. Can students drop a Living Learning seminar?
  12. Will commuters participate in Living Learning?
  13. Will any current student leadership positions change as a result of Living Learning?
  14. Will themes change every year?
  15. How do transfer students fit into the Living Learning program?
  16. What will be the time commitment for training during the 2012-2013 year (the year before living learning implementation) for faculty and administrators?

1. When is the program scheduled to begin?
The program will begin in the fall of 2013 for all 1/3 of the first year class and will be universal for all first year students by the fall of 2015.

2. How will new faculty be hired?
A first round of new faculty hires has been approved and they will be hired during 2011-2012. Additional faculty lines will be approved and hiring will take place before the 2015-2016 academic year.

3. What is the commitment for individual faculty?
The Advisory Board will discuss specific commitments for faculty who are involved in living learning. Faculty will be involved in the program for several years at a time and will teach 1-2 living learning courses per year.

4. What is the commitment for academic departments?
Academic departments that agree to a living learning hire are generally expected to provide coverage fo 6-8 living learning courses for a period of 6-9 years.

5. What is the commitment for administrators?
The Advisory Board will discuss specific commitments for administrators who are involved in living learning. Generally, administrators will sign on for at least one academic year and will work with about 16 students, a student leader and several faculty members throughout the year to facilitate co-curricular experiences for the students.

6. How will student leaders be involved?
The Office of Student Engagement and the Office of Student Life are partnering with Messina to recruit, select, and train a group of student leaders who will support students throughout the first year at Loyola.  Every student enrolled in Messina will have an Evergreen whom he or she meets during orientation and who continues to meet with him or her throughout the entire academic year through Messina enrichment hours and activities.  Furthermore, each student will have a Messina Resident Assistant who collaborates with Messina Evergreens to plan residentially-based activities that highlight Messina themes and support student success.  Messina Resident Assistants will live in Flannery O’Connor Hall with the first year students and promote community building and engagement throughout the year.

7. How will faculty pair up with other faculty and administrators?
Faculty interested in participating in the living learning program will be asked to complete an application in the spring semester that will ask questions regarding their current thinking on themes and courses they would like to contribute to Messina. Faculty will also be asked to identify whether or not they have a faculty member to pair with in mind. .  Administrators will fill out a similar application.  These applications, in addition to formal and informal gatherings during the preparation will be used to match administrators and faculty pairs based on course time scheduling, shared theme interests and overall needs of the program.

8. Can faculty participate even if their department did not receive a new faculty line?
Yes.  We encourage all faculty interested in teaching and advising first year students to participate in Messina.  Plans are underway to find ways to compensate departments for faculty time and courses dedicated to Messina. 

9.  How will students select courses?
Students will be able to learn about themes and courses online through an expanded first year programs website.  They will share their theme preferences, along with pertinent academic and social information (such as their intended major or housing preferences) that will allow us to place them in a course pairing that maximizes the chance that the courses will count towards their core requirements.  We also seek to minimize potential spring semester scheduling conflicts.  We hope to maintain flexibility that is informed by information provided directly by the student.

10. Are students required to take a Messina course?  Is the successful completion of two living learning courses required for graduation?
Beginning in fall 2015, all first year students are required to take a Messina seminar in the each semester they enroll for classes during their first year at Loyola.  However, students will not be required to repeat the living learning experience if they fail courses or need to withdraw.  The developmental aspects of the program make it so that this program cannot be repeated during another academic year.

11.  Can students drop a Messina seminar?
Students will not be allowed to drop a Messina seminar without the approval of the Messina Office.  If a student is allowed to drop a fall Messina seminar, they must add a Messina seminar during the spring semester.  In the majority of cases, the added seminar will be taught in the same theme.

12. Will commuters participate in living learning?
Yes, Commuter students will be fully integrated into Messina seminar courses and will have access to all events held residentially and on campus.  In most cases, the enrichment hour is scheduled immediately before or after the Messina seminar in an effort to minimize inconvenience to commuters'  travel schedules.

13. Will any current student leadership positions change because of Living Learning?
During the spring 2012 semester, members of the Living Learning Advisory Board and Implementation Group will meet with administrators and students who recruit, train and supervise student leaders that work with first year students.  These conversations will bring clarity as to how positions such as Evergreens and Resident Assistants may evolve as a result of Messina.  

14. Will the themes change every year?
No, themes will stay the same for at least three years at the start of the program.  Keeping themes for at least three years provides some stability and consistency for working groups so that tey have time to refine their syllabi and enrichment hours.  It is also advantageous for the selection of student leaders since many students will have an idea of types of courses and events offered in a theme. While most themes will stay the same for a longer period of time, we plan to initiate a process to assess the whether or not each theme was successful.  Faculty, administrators, student leaders and students will provide feedback that will dictate whether or not we replace a theme. 

15. How do transfer students fit into the Living Learning program?
Students who transfer to Loyola during their first year at college will join a spring Messina seminar and if they are a residential student, they will also live in the same building as students in their class (as long as space allows).  Students transferring after their first year at college will not participate in the Living Learning program as it is currently designed since their developmental needs are different from first time students.  Discussions concerning transfer students’ experience are ongoing.

16. What will be the time commitment for training before faculty and administrators start to participate in seminars and enrichment hours?
Training will take place over the course of the prior academic year to provide time for administrators and faculty to develop relationships and plan syllabi and enrichment hours that meet the learning outcomes of the program.  We estimate that faculty and administrators should allot 3-5 hours per month for workshops and other training activities.