Loyola University Maryland

First-Year Programs

In the News

image divider

Visit this section regularly to stay updated on Messina, including our news and accomplishments

Spring 2014 Updates

Messina Recognized at the NASPA National Conference

Messina was one of three institutional programs recognized this year by the Student Affairs Partnering with Academic Affairs Knowledge Community - a division of NASPA - Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education.   Messina received an Honorable Mention from the selection committee of the Promising Practices Award, which recognizes promising practices in areas pertaining to Student Affairs and Academic Affairs collaboration. 

Messina to offer 30 unique, course pairings and 47 sections each semester for 2014-2015

Beginning in April 2014, students who accept admission to the Class of 2018 will begin to choose a First Year Program – Messina or Loyola 101. When choosing Messina, students will have 30, unique course pairings from which to select. The 30 course pairings will each be linked to one of three themes – Self and Other, Stories We Tell, and The Visionary. Residential students participating in Messina will live in proximity to each other in doubles-style housing. Additionally, commuting students will be welcome to enroll in Messina courses and participate in the co-curricular activities that take place in first-year residence halls.  Students enrolled in Loyola 101 will live in Campion Tower and Lange Court. View a complete listing of courses and faculty/mentor pairings.

Fall 2013 Updates 

Loyola wins $500,000 NEH Challenge Grant to support Messina 

Loyola University Maryland has been awarded a $500,000 Challenge Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to support Messina, the University’s unique first-year program designed to help first-year students adjust quickly to the academic rigor of college and build a foundation for success both personally and professionally.

The grant will fund a new faculty position in a humanities discipline, along with the development of programming that will be integrated in the Messina experience for first-year students. Read more about the grant here

Spring 2013 Updates

Messina and Loyola 101 to begin in 2013-2014

Loyola’s first-year program, Messina, will begin in fall 2013 for one third of the incoming class. As a result, 2012-2013 was the final year that Alpha, Collegium and FE 100 were scheduled to enroll students. When the decision to phase in Messina was made last March, there was a desire to maintain the current level of first-year program participation (65%) for the incoming class in 2013-2014. Therefore, in addition to Messina, Loyola will continue to offer a one-credit, fall-only, course option, now called  Loyola 101. Loyola 101 will be similar to FE 100 in that it will be co-taught by a faculty advisor, a student development administrator and a student leader. However, the content will change so that Loyola 101 courses are more in line with a subset of Messina’s learning outcomes. If you are interested in serving as the faculty advisor or administrator for a Loyola 101 section, contact Xavier Cole at xcole@loyola.edu.

Messina to offer 15 Messina course pairings for 2013-2014

Beginning in April 2013, students who accept admission to the Class of 2017 will begin to choose a First Year Program – Messina or Loyola 101. When choosing Messina, students will have 15 unique course pairings from which to select. The 15 course pairings will each be linked to one of three themes – Self and Other, Stories We Tell, and The Visionary. Residential students participating in Messina will live in proximity to each other in Flannery O’Connor Hall. Additionally, commuting students will be welcome to enroll in Messina courses and participate in the co-curricular activities that take place in Flannery O’Connor Hall. View a complete listing of courses and faculty/mentor pairings.

Student Leaders and Messina

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.

September 2012 Updates

Loyola Living Learning Initiative to be called “Messina”

After extensive deliberations, including outreach to a broad cross-section of the University, research conducted by a marketing firm, and continued conversation among members of the President’s Cabinet, the Living Learning Advisory Board and the co-directors of the program, we have arrived at a name we believe captures the spirit, intent, and ambitions we have for this program: Messina.

Messina, a city in Sicily, Italy, was the site of the Jesuits’ first college to welcome lay students. It represents the foundations of the Jesuits’ commitment to education, much as our living learning program will represent the foundations of our students’ educational experience at Loyola. The college at Messina set the tone for how Jesuit education has developed and progressed throughout its nearly 500-year history with its  hallmark commitment to academic excellence and to the development of the whole person. 

At Loyola, Messina - the first-year seminars, the enrichment hours, the establishment of communities around learning—will offer a similarly distinctive beginning for our students today, the first steps toward encountering these disciplines, appreciating their interconnectedness, and taking to heart the continuing importance of learning in their personal and intellectual growth. Messina connects our faculty, administrators, and first-year students with the rich Jesuit tradition of innovation, academic excellence, and a commitment to community. From students’ first days on campus, they will be connected to a support network of academics, professionals, and peers that will challenge them to think critically, discover their God-given talents, and find ways to connect their passions and gifts to the needs of their campus, local, and global communities. While few students will recognize the name at the outset of their studies, by the end of their first year at Loyola, they will view Messina as having contributed to their development as whole persons, prepared both academically and socially to continue their journey at Loyola and in the world. 

Selection of a name is only the first part in the communication strategy we will need to establish for this program. Loyola’s office of marketing and communications is in the process of developing a visual identity and message strategy designed to convey the program’s identity and purpose to our prospective students and their families. This campaign will launch this fall as the University continues to work toward recruiting the first-year class to enter in the fall of 2013, one-third of which will participate in the first year of a phased implementation of Messina.

Honors Program Pilot Update

This fall, members of Loyola’s Honors Program are participating in a living learning community that also serves as a pilot for Messina. Faculty teaching in the Honors Program pilot have begun to meet with student development administrators and student peer leaders to plan enrichment activities. Messina would like to thank the following participants in the Honors Pilot for dedicating their time, energy and talents to this new, collaborative endeavor:

Fall Faculty Participants: Angela Christman, Martha Taylor, Joe Walsh
Spring Faculty Participants: Fritz Bauerschmidt, Leslie Zarker Morgan, Trent Pomplun
Student Development Administrators: Michelle Cheatem, Mary Beth Mudric, Michael Puma
Student Peer Leaders: Sidney Christman, Taylor Daily, Matthew McDonnell

Faculty and Administrator Participation for the Upcoming Years

Workshops have begun for the faculty and administrators who will participate in next year’s Messina seminars. Over the next few months, they will form working groups connected to the first three Messina theme clusters – Stories We Tell, The Visionary and Self and Other. Members of the class of 2017 will have an opportunity to select seminar courses linked to these three themes after they are accepted and confirm their attendance at Loyola next spring. Residential students participating in Messina will live in Flannery O’Connor Hall during 2013-2014. Additionally, commuter students will be welcomed to join the theme clusters and will be invited to attend events and activities in Flannery O’Connor Hall. 

Faculty and administrators interested in participating in 2014-2015 (with training provided during 2013-2014) should begin to speak with their department chairs and/or direct questions to Doug and Mike. We will hold information sessions in the late fall and early spring semesters and applications will be due by late March.

April 2012 Updates

In March 2012, Father Linnane announced a change to the implementation schedule for the Living Learning initiative. The new plan to phase in the program over three years will begin in September 2013. By fall 2015, all Loyola first-year students will participate in the universal Living Learning program. The Advisory Board and Implementation Committee continue to review how this change impacts logistics and planning. Furthermore, the Advisory Board (after consultation with faculty, students, administrators and prospective students) continues to refine the themes that will shape the integrative and collaborative components of the program. The five themes still under consideration include: Borderlines; Self and Other; Stories We Tell; The Good Life and The Visionary. Two of these themes will be selected for the 2013-2014 academic year. 

Next fall, the new Honors program will begin as the “first adopters” of the new Living Learning Community model and the students admitted to the Honors Program will live together in Flannery O’Connor Hall.  In addition to the two Honors seminar courses and the program’s new plenary lectures, students will attend living learning enrichment hours. All components of the program will integrate the theme of “Self and Other.” Introducing the new Honors program in a living learning format will allow us to incorporate best practices into subsequent trainings and implementation years. For the 2012-2013 academic year, Loyola will continue to offer all current first-year programs (Alpha, Collegium and FE 100).

During the 2013-2014 academic year, at least one third of the first-year class (including Honors students) will participate in the new Living Learning program. Additionally, the Advisory Board and Implementation Committee are exploring ways to offer another first year program (a modified version of the Living Learning enrichment hour experience) to first-year students beyond the one third who will be in the new program. To accommodate one third of the class in Living Learning, 25 seminars will be offered each semester. Recruitment of faculty members and administrators to participate in the 2013-2014 seminars and enrichment hours is on track to begin in May 2012. Administrators and faculty members selected will participate in training and preparation during the 2012-2013 academic year. Learn more about faculty involvement in living learning.

December 2011 Updates

Themes help unite students living in the same residence hall and taking one of approximately ten courses each semester. The themes serves as a common point of reference for the courses and as a basis to develop enrichment activities that connect course content to first year transition issues, personal reflection and life in the residence halls.  A subgroup of the Living Learning Advisory Board and Implementation groups met throughout the semester to vet more than 150 theme ideas submitted through informal conversations and the summer Living Learning survey. View a list of 10 themes (and explanations) still under review. During the first part of the spring semester, we plan to shorten the list once again to 5-7 themes that will be ultimately be the themes used in the courses and residential clusters and promoted to incoming students. Please take a few minutes to weigh in on one or more of themes by filling this survey. Respondents who share their name and e-mail at the end of the survey will be included in a drawing for a Loyola apparel item from the bookstore. Quantitative results of this survey will be included in the January 2011 report to the campus.

The Living Learning Initiative Office would like to thank the 28 people who submitted over 60 program name suggestions over the last few weeks. We are happy to announce that Richard Sigler is the winner of the participation drawing and received a Loyola sweatshirt. The official name of the program will be unveiled next semester. 

November 2011 Updates

The Living Learning Advisory Board is hard at work developing a living learning program that will transform the ways which we welcome and interact with Loyola students (and each other) in and out of the classroom. To that end, selecting a program name that signifies the transformational spirit of the program for both the campus community and individual students is key. The Advisory Board welcomes your suggestions and ideas. Please consider submitting an idea through this link. All campus community members (faculty, staff, administrators and students) who submit an idea will be entered into a drawing for a Loyola sweatshirt.  If your suggested program name is eventually selected as the name for Living Learning, you will receive an Apple Ipad 2 (16GB, Wifi)*.  All suggestions must be submitted by 10:00 a.m. on Monday, November 28, 2011, in order to be eligible for the sweatshirt drawing.

October 2011 Updates

The Living Learning Advisory Board and Implementation Group have formed subcommittees to address specific aspects of program design. The subcommittees include the Jesuit Mission and Communications, Collaboration, Pedagogy, Theme Development, Logistics ("April to August") and Curriculum groups.

September 2011 Updates

Faculty and Administrator Surveys Now Open – We want to hear from you!

With the recent composition of a Living Learning Advisory Board and the Living Learning Implementation Group, elements of the program remain to be determined; toward that end, we seek insight and feedback on the Living Learning Initiative from the Loyola community with regards to: 

  • The design and specific components of the program;    
  • The potential themes that would unite the curricular and co-curricular aims for each of the program’s clusters; and
  • individual administrator and faculty needs and concerns about participation in the program.

The office of institutional research recently sent email messages with survey links to campus faculty and administrators. Participation in this survey is completely voluntary and your responses to the survey will be kept strictly confidential; data from the survey will be presented only in aggregate form.

We hope this will be the beginning of many subsequent conversations about the Living Learning Program! At the end of the survey, there is an opportunity to provide your name if you’d be interested in being an active participant in future discussions of the program and its development.

Please contact Shannon Tinney Lichtinger, associate director and coordinator of first-year research and retention studies in the office of institutional research, by email or call 410-617-2680 if you have any questions or need assistance with the survey.