Students University

New Arts Incubator provides unique opportunities for students

For the past two years students at Augusta University have had the opportunity to be a part of a Living-Learning Community, a program designed to give participating students an enhanced academic experience as well as a more fulfilling college experience by grouping them into a cohort that lives and studies together.

In previous years, participating students were grouped into two communities. The Science & Math LLC is open to incoming first year students with majors in the College of Science and Mathematics, and the Health Trax LLC is open to sophomores and juniors interested in pursuing a career as a health care provider or health care professional.

Not only do students in these communities live with each other, they are enrolled together in select courses during the fall and spring semesters. In addition, they participate in regularly scheduled group activities specific to their majors or interests.

The hope is that by structuring a freshman year in such a way, students will not only achieve better academic results, they’ll also be more likely to remain at the university.

“There’s research that suggests that students who are a part of a LLC have higher GPAs, matriculate faster and are more successful in and out side the classroom,” said Shaquille Lowe, coordinator for academic initiatives and student leadership. “Also, the opportunities provided by an LLC help students build their resumes.”

Beginning fall 2018, students will have the opportunity to participate in a new LLC.

The Arts Incubator LLC is both the first LLC at Augusta University open to students of any major and the first LLC to incorporate a study away trip. Participating students will live together in Oak Hall and attend a humanities course called “The Marvel of Art,” a class structured to help students learn to enjoy art. Students will also take a communications course together. They will also have the opportunity to travel to Washington DC to learn more about the arts.

Further, this LLC focuses on life outside the classroom in effort to ensure that students have a well-rounded college experience.

“We wanted an LLC that experienced something together, gave them a common bond and made the things they learn more applicable to college life. And we want them to be culturally enriched,” said Scott Thorp, chair of the Department of Art and Design in the Pamplin College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences.

This cultural enrichment includes a calendar of events. Participating students will visit art galleries and museums and attend concerts. They will also meet with and learn from a diverse array of influential artists and leaders from Augusta University.

“We want students to learn the city, the university and experience culture in a real way,” said Thorp.

Pamplin College partnered with local organizations such as the Greater Augusta Arts Council, the Miller Theatre, the Metro Spirit, Helms College and the Augusta Convention & Visitors Bureau in effort to enhance students’ experiential learning opportunities.

Representatives from each of these organizations will meet with students and discuss the arts, why their organization matters, the role the organization plays in society and economic development and how to balance artistic sensibility with business sensibility.

“This is a way to get students more active in both student life and in their community,” said Thorp. “Participation in the arts incubator also guarantees a student a room in the residence halls.”

The goal of the arts incubator LLC is to create a cohesive sense of community among students by providing them with unique opportunities.

“What’s really going to make this LLC unique is that it’s not just extra- or co-curricular programming that supports learning,” said Dr. Wesley Kisting, associate professor and associate dean in the Pamplin College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. “The arts incubator will connect the students with the broader Augusta community and will include a leadership and personal development aspect.”

To ensure an intimate, exclusive experience for students, the arts incubator LLC is capped at 20 students. Applications are no longer being accepted for the fall 2018 semester. For more information on the arts incubator, or any of the LLC’s at Augusta University, visit Housing & Residence Life.

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About the author

Brennan Meagher

Brennan Meagher is a communications coordinator at Augusta University. Contact her at 706-446-4806 or bmeagher@augusta.edu.