University of Vermont

Living/Learning Center


2010-2011 Living/Learning Center

Course Proposal Guidelines



In three to five pages, please provide the Program Review Committee with the following information.  Feel free to submit this as an e-mail attachment, but we will also need a printed copy prior to the application deadline.  Thank you for your interest in a Residential Learning Community.


I.                    Cover Page:  Course Title/Number, Faculty, Department/College


II.                 Course Description: To describe your course to first year and sophomore students concerned with distribution requirements and shopping for majors and minors, please moderately expand upon the 25 word limit of the University catalogue.  For example, here is the catalogue description of Geol 95, and following this, the expanded description for its residential learning community recruitment:


“Introduction to the principles and processes of ecology and geology applicable to the Lake Champlain basin.  A topical, project-oriented format rather than a comprehensive overview.”




“The primary goal of the ‘Ecology and Geology of the Lake Champlain Basin ‘Program is to provide students with an integrated perspective of natural sciences, rather than the compartmentalized view frequently resulting from disciplinary, departmental or collegiate boundaries.  When examining natural ecosystems such fragmentation often obscures essential interrelationships.  In an effort to provide students with a more integrated perspective, we combine expertise from a variety of disciplines to examine one of Vermont’s and one of UVM’s –most valuable resources, Lake Champlain and the surrounding watershed.  This focus has appeal for several reasons.  First, it represents a diversity of ecological, geological and biological phenomena providing a basis from which to explore many fundamental principles and interactions thereof.  Secondly, its proximity to UVM facilitates field studies and excursions, which represent the core of this course.  These trips will enable students to observe and investigate, first hand, concepts and principles being discussed in class.  Thirdly, one common denominator for almost all UVM students is that they will live in the Champlain Valley for four years.  We believe that a basic understanding of the surrounding natural environment will add to their UVM experience.  Fourthly, while we are not under the illusion of turning non-scientists into scientists, we believe that the participatory format of this course may be more successful than traditional lecture courses in developing an appreciation for the scientific method, its applications, and its limitations.  Assignments associated with laboratory activities should enhance research and writing skills.”


Your program description should as much as possible explain to students what they learn and what activities will be part of the learning process. Successful activities that faculty have used in residentially-based classes in the past include:  guest speakers, field trips, student presentations, and collaborative student projects.   Many of these require students to meet outside of class.


III.               Residential Component.   Describe in a paragraph or two how you plan to use the residential component to enhance the course.  A student needs to understand why he/she is being asked to live with classmates in a residence hall that may not necessarily be their preferred hall. Previous faculty have used a combination of activities, including course-related movies in the residential halls, collaborative student projects, in-hall pre-examination study sessions, in-hall writing tutor visits, dinner with students once a month, class guest speakers in the residence halls, and pre-registration in-hall advising sessions.


IV.              Global Village or Arts Initiative Residential Learning Community Affiliation: If you intend to have your course/program be a part of the Global Village or Arts Initiative residential learning communities (which are located in the Living/Learning Center), please describe the ways that you envision integrating your program into the Global Village or Arts Initiative community. Information about how to do this can be found in a separate handout “Becoming a part of the Global Village residential learning community at the Living/Learning Center,” or on the Web: <>  For more information about the Global Village Residential Learning Community (RLC), visit the RLC Web site:


V.                 Spring Events.  Please remember that by establishing a presence in the residence halls in the fall semester, and building a learning community together, continuity needs to be maintained with students through the spring semester.  Please provide a realistic description of how you plan on maintaining contact with your students in the spring.  You may, for example, be able to plan a guest speaker or movie series, have the class over for a pot of chili, do in-hall advising sessions in the spring, or share a “Vermonster” Ben & Jerry’s sundae with the hall. Be creative!


VI.              Budget  Your residentially based program includes a small budget for the activities described in Question 3, 4 and 5 above.  Your budget will be administered by the Living/Learning Center Director’s Office staff and in the pre-semester workshop we will tell you how to access your funds.


I.                    Special Needs.  Please indicate if you anticipate needing special facilities, such as a computer lab, lounge area, or lecture hall.  To the greatest extent possible, when of the appropriate size residentially based classes will be offered within the residence hall.


Additional Information


Instructional Replacement:  In exceptional cases, when a faculty member’s involvement with a Living/Learning program necessitates giving up a departmental course that must be covered by someone hired specifically for that purpose, instructional replacement costs may be requested.  In these cases, your application form must include the signatures of both the Department Chair and College Dean.  Please note that it is the responsibility of the faculty to enroll a sufficient number of students interested in participating in the program and living in the affiliated residence hall setting in order to ensure funding and administrative support of the Living/Learning Center Director’s Office.


Student Program Assistants:  Faculty-designed programs that have used a student to serve as a Student Program Assistant (SPA) have been very successful.  SPA’s reside with the students in the course, are invited to participate in all training programs for Living/Learning Student Program Directors, and are a valuable liaison between faculty and the Director’s Office staff.  If you have any questions about using a SPA in your class, please contact John Sama or Windy Paz-Amor in the L/L Director’s Office.


Evaluations:  All Residential Learning Community programs are evaluated every semester in order to assess how well the course is meeting its goals of creating a learning community within the residence halls.  The survey is administered by the Director’s Office of Living/Learning, in co-operation with the Department of Residential Life.  We encourage faculty and academic departments concerned with the academic/teaching goals of the course to administer separate evaluations.


Application Deadline


In order to be eligible for financial support, the deadline for submission of programs will be January 25, 2012 by 4:00 PM.  It would be helpful if existing (current) Living/Learning Center programs could submit their proposals early, preferably by January 25, 2012 by 4:00 PM.


Course Proposal Assistance


Do not hesitate to contact John Sama (, 656-4200) for assistance with designing your program proposal.


Course Proposal Review Process


All proposed programs will be evaluated by the Residential Learning Community Selection Committee, which is composed of faculty, staff and students.  The Committee will provide feedback on:

-         Is the residential aspect important to the overall objectives of the course?

-         Does the program description clearly articulate the residential activities?

-         Is there a clearly thought out plan for maintenance of contact with students in the spring semester?





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Last modified October 30 2012 12:55 PM

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