Journal of College & University Student Housing Volume 48, No. 2 - 41

An Academically Supportive Climate
Though LLCs may have courses for credit and faculty advisors are included in the
larger infrastructure of the academic environment, this does not necessarily mean
that the climate is supportive in nature. LLC " research is increasingly focusing on
whether and how LLCs create academic support for students through the provision
of types of programs and structures " (Inkelas et al., 2018, p. 55). Wawrzynski and colleagues
(2009) discuss LLC environments that define community norms and expectations
that emphasize community learning, prioritize studying, and make involvement
a priority. These researchers discuss academically supportive climates that promote
seamless learning, establish a culture that encourages students to take academic
risks, and foster creativity.
A closer look at one specific LLC provides an apt example of the academically supportive
climate that can be built. The Voices of Justice LLC offers students a rigorous
and engaged curriculum, a ready-made set of friends, and close contact with faculty
intent on their success. The LLC was shaped as a model for high intensity conversation,
emphasizing development of both disposition and skills. With this aim, the LLC's
faculty have repeatedly incorporated a variety of intentional pedagogies-teaching and
learning strategies that include reflection and experiential learning-to empower students.
They connect first-year students' experiences to their core values, develop their
participation in issues of social justice, and offer opportunities for appreciative inquiry.
The faculty facilitate this experience through deliberative dialogue and an interfaith
perspective of engaged pluralism, open to multiple views and voices. Through these
foci, the Voices of Justice LLC embodies Cabrini's commitment to an " education of the
heart " (Luner, 2016, para. 1) by engaging with the common good.
Fostering a culture of respectful, appreciative engagement within and across communities
requires a dedicated effort on the part of all constituents in higher education.
One underlying motivation for creating the Voices of Justice LLC was the need for
practice in personal cultivation of the civic arts, training in respectful listening, and
exposure to valuing productive social change. This core idea requires a particular disposition:
an attitude or outlook that revolves around the need to engage responsibly
within and across communities.
The Voices of Justice LLC curriculum thus highlights civic engagement as both a
skill and a disposition. With this aim in mind, the LLC must foreground an academically
supportive environment, creating spaces for students to engage with diverse perspectives
and dialogue about experiences, contemporary issues in the world, and theories
and practices being used to address social justice issues. The curriculum dovetails with
the COL 101 emphasis on metacognition and self-reflection. This understanding then
. . . these less structured environments have a depth of influence on students:
creating a dynamic interplay between the curriculum and cocurriculum
while simultaneously allowing faculty to connect and develop a rapport with
students that amplifies this interplay between their life experiences
and academic endeavors.
Volume 48, No. 2 * 2022 41

Journal of College & University Student Housing Volume 48, No. 2

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Journal of College & University Student Housing Volume 48, No. 2

Journal of College & University Student Housing Volume 48, No. 2 - intro
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