First Year Experience

Freshmen Living-Learning Communities

What Is a Living-Learning Community?
Living-Learning Communities (LLCs) provide an easier way for students to transition academically and socially into the Drury’s campus. Similar to CORE 101, LLCs are organized around themes such as: The Arts, Pre-Health Sciences, Honors, Outdoors and the Environment, Global Citizenship, The Power of Languages, Health and Wellness. However, unlike regular CORE 101 classes, students who are accepted into the LLC program live together in the same residence – Sunderland Hall. As a result, LLC students quickly form social bonds with their peers and CORE 101 professor. In doing so, LLCs bridge the gap between in-class and out-of-class learning.

What are the Benefits of Joining a Living-Learning Community?

Nationally recognized research has consistently shown a correlation between social wellness and academic performance. Students who feel comfortable with their peers are more likely to participate in class, have a higher rate of satisfaction with their class and are more likely to get involved in campus life.

LLC’s exemplify our commitment to creating an intimate learning experience and we wish that we could enroll all students in the program. However, due to size restrictions, LLCs are an application process and are capped at 15-16 students per LLC section. Students are not selected on a first-come first-selected basis. Drury selects students based solely on the quality of the essays received. Please read below for a list of this year’s LLC themes and application form.

Faculty Mentors
Living-Learning Communities encourage strong mentoring relationships between faculty and students, as well as the value of developing communities of shared purpose. Nationally, research has consistently shown benefits of the faculty-student interaction in Living-Learning Communities to include:?

  • Higher levels of student participation in class.
  • Greater student satisfaction with class.
  • Greater appreciation of the areas.
  • More involvement in campus life.
  • More time in group study (Pascarella and Terenzini, 2005).

2015-2016 Freshman Living-Learning Community Themes

The Arts (Dr. Allin Sorenson)

The Arts LLC is designed for those students interested in music, theatre, visual arts and architecture. The course will explore all facets of art in our culture, how we view and respond to art, and the value of art to our society and world. Activities will include trips to art galleries, theater productions, concerts and opportunities to view local architecture. All majors are welcome to apply for this LLC section.

The Changing Role of Women in Science Fiction (Dr. Madison Spencer)

This course will follow the journey from “damsel in distress” to “starship captain” and explore the female characters that helped shape this exciting genre. Using film, literature, graphic novels and other media, we will examine how women are taking on the hero role and how her battle continues. For out-of-class events, this section will watch movies at The Moxie in downtown Springfield, among other ideas generated by the class.

Health and Wellness (Professor and Coach Jarrod Smith)

Research shows that 40% of healthcare costs in the US is from preventable chronic illness/disease caused by stress, unhealthy diet, inactivity, and tobacco use. As the cost of medical care increases rapidly, the importance of health and wellness has become amplified. This LLC focuses on the pillars of health and wellness – stress management, sleep, nutrition, physical activity, and risk reduction.

To bridge in-class learning with out-of-class experience, students will be engaged with leaders of wellness in the Springfield community and will be exposed to community service opportunities. In-class speakers will include area wellness promoters and business owners implementing wellness with documented results. Students will also be linked with these professionals in our community. Health and Wellness LLC students will also have the opportunity to enroll in the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Certificate program offered exclusively at Drury University.

Honors LLC (Dr. Charles Taylor)

In order to apply for this Honors Living-Learning Community, students must meet the following qualifications:

  • High school GPA – must be a 3.5 or higher
  • ACT/SAT Score – 27 (SAT 1190) or higher

The Honors LLC is the only section with specific GPA/ACT scores required for students who want to apply. Students who are enrolled in this section and are admitted into the University Honors Program will receive an honors credit for CORE 101, in addition to the 3 general education credits for the class. Dr. Taylor will work closely with Dr. Bob Robertson, Director of Drury Honor’s Program, to ensure the best experience possible for students interested in maximizing their learning potential at Drury.

The theme Dr. Taylor plans to focus on in Fall 2015 is “The Politics of Rock n’ Roll”. Please see below for his description of the class:

From Little Richard to Lady Gaga, popular culture has simultaneously mirrored and shaped global cultures. At the intersection of social movements and technological innovation, pop culture offers a unique lens through which to read the meaning of being young, alive and relevant in the 21st century. The course is designed to help students develop the fundamental intellectual skills of reading, writing, thinking, arguing and reflecting like a liberally educated person through engaging popular music and its cultural implications.

Course Activities:
The course will be discussion based, with analytic, interpretive, persuasive and creative writing projects assigned. Engaged learning activities will include field trips to local (all ages) clubs and, depending on the line up and cost, the O’Reilly Family Event Center for live shows. Guest lecturers will include local musicians, music journalists, and promoters.

On Propaganda and Protest: The Language of Power and Empowerment (Dr. Rick Maxson)

The story of power and empowerment has long occupied the attention of scholars and advocates. This year alone, the “revolutions and struggles in Egypt, Syria, Tunisia and elsewhere were carried out by brave people who recognized that by using nonviolent action, rejecting fear, and keeping nonviolent discipline, they could end decades-long oppression.” Additionally at home, the social movements and institutional “crack downs” have raised questions about the rhetoric of propaganda protest and their function in our social and political landscape.

The foci of the course are twofold: explore the rhetoric of power and empowerment and review important principles for how these rhetorics function in particular cases. To this end, we will begin by examining theories of persuasion, influence and dissent. Then through personal testimony, underground publications, journalistic and historical accounts we will discover the extent to which the contemporary cases confirm, disconfirm, and/or extend our understanding of how institutions and their dissenters bring about significant and lasting social, religious and political change.

Instructional methods will include lecture, discussion, film, case studies, classroom exercises, and group work. The emphasis will be both theoretical and applied. The primary LLC theme-related activity would be an overnight field trip to Memphis TN to visit the Civil Rights Museum for tour, lecture and informal discussion.

Pre-Health Sciences

Only those freshmen planning to pursue a career in the health-science field should apply for this Living-Learning Community (LLC) section. Students must major or pursue one of the programs in the following areas to apply:

  • Biochemistry
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Environmental Health Science
  • Exercise Physiology
  • Exercise and Sports Science
  • Nursing/Biology (Dual Degree)
  • Physical Education
  • Physics

The Pre-Health Science LLC offers the members of this cohort the opportunity to develop partnerships with one another, as everyone should enter with similar academic interests and career aspirations. Students enjoy the ease of forming study groups within their cohort and offer assistance and support to one another due to the high demands of the first-year science course load.

The Pre-Health Science section may also take part in activities outside the classroom to learn more about the field of health-sciences. Options for out-of-class activities will be discussed once classes begin.

How to Apply:

  1. Apply and be accepted to Drury University.
  2. Return your housing contract to the Drury Admission Office with Freshman Living-Learning Communities in Sunderland Hall marked as your residential hall choice.
  3. Pay the $200 housing deposit and $100 tuition deposit (refundable through May 1, 2015).
  4. Submit the online Living-Learning Community application.

If you have questions, please contact Emily Givens, Director of Transitional Programs, for more information at (417) 873-6894 or You can also review our Frequently Asked Questions.