Learning villages give students more on-campus living options

Posted by Lori Shull - Friday, July 29 2011
lshull@tntech.edu

thumb_Learning_VillagesStudents living on campus this year will have a wide variety of activities to get involved with, thanks to the two additional learning villages now in Tennessee Tech University’s Crawford and Maddux/McCord Halls.

Whether it is baking cakes, helping recovering drug addicts, experimenting with new social media or building relationships with international or younger students through “buddy” programs, students will have lots to do when not in class.

The sense of engagement the residents will get from the villages is geared to keep them returning to TTU’s campus, semester after semester, until they leave with a degree in hand.

“The villages can appeal to these students who would ordinarily fall through the cracks,” said TTU English professor Peggy Kilgore, who will be the new faculty advisor to the Service Station in New Hall South. “It’s about being really visible, gathering up some students and saying, ‘Let’s go downtown to the ice cream parlor,’ or ‘Let’s go to the game.’”

Each of the four villages is designed around a central theme. Crawford’s village will focus on women, though not necessarily feminism or women’s issues, according to TTU history professor and faculty advisor Paula Hinton. Instead, it will concentrate on whatever the residents of the all-female hall want, she said.

Lenly Weathers, TTU civil and environmental professor, will be the faculty advisor for the new engineering village in Maddux/McCord and English professor Andy Smith will take over the Tree House in New Hall North.

“We’re combining the classroom and the residence halls to show them there isn’t this ‘either/or,’” Hinton said. “This is an academic world and you’re learning all the time.”

Each of the villages will also have English and math tutors working in the hall common rooms; Maddux/McCord will have additional engineering tutors.

With four villages on campus and large banners outside each of the residence halls announcing them, faculty heads say they hope this year participation will jump.

“We rolled a lot of things out last year, made some great steps, but this coming year is the grand opening. This is going to be a breakout year,” Weathers said. “I want it to be, when people think of the cool stuff going on on-campus, they think of us.”