Journal of College & University Student Housing Volume 48, No. 2 - 42

Applying the Best Practices Model
carries over to problem-solving, often designed around various scaffolded assignments
that repeatedly emphasize the " how " : how to apply theories to contexts or to place contexts
in relationship to tangible problem-solving skills. It is this intentional design that
develops students' confidence and mindfulness, particularly when interacting in spaces
they feel are uncomfortable: moments of dissonance, contradiction, or ambiguity that
may be felt when confronting views and voices that differ from their own. Students
are challenged to interrogate, rearticulate, and ultimately embody " their own social
identity and location as well as those of others " (National Task Force on Civic Learning
and Democratic Engagement, 2012, p. 43). Once students become more adept at working
within their own LLCs, they may widen their scope of interactions beyond campus,
readied to engage in mutual, reciprocal, and arguably more nuanced exchanges
(Watterson et al., 2012).
A Socially Supportive Climate
While offering a supportive academic environment in the classroom that flows into
other physical spaces of the LLC, it is important to consider how this support is complemented
by a socially supportive climate. Inkelas and colleagues (2018) argue that
establishing integrative, supportive climates increases students' sense of belonging,
creating a multitude of spaces for them to both identify and explore shared interests,
even as they embrace diversity amongst community members. Whether the socially
supportive climate is enhanced by faculty, staff, or peers, LLCs have become an avenue
through which to provide student participants the support they require to respond to
the challenges they encounter. Mayhew and colleagues (2016), in a recent report on
LLCs, re-emphasized that these communities increase students' level of engagement
and sense of campus belonging.
Upper-division students, in the form of LLC peer leaders and mentors, serve as
sources of support to LLC members. Collier (2015) explains that the contributions of
peer mentors aid in providing a more seamless transition to college, increase mentees'
academic successes and persistence, and boost student self-confidence. Peer mentors
are typically prior members of the LLC experience, and, having observed the leadership
exhibited by their peer mentors, they are eager to model a socially supportive climate
for future community leaders.
Peer mentors, in the form of student fellows, serve in a variety of roles within the
LLCs and LCs at Cabrini University. The faculty teams collaborate to determine the best
use of experienced student fellows across the coursework for their community. In the
IMPACT community, faculty have opted to have upper-division student fellows working
collaboratively with LLC faculty in three courses. In COL 101, students are building
their self-awareness and developing metacognitive strategies focused on helping them
achieve success within the first semester, first year, and their overall college experience.
In this way, it is critical for students to hear from their student fellows about the impact
of the course on their own growth and development and how best to engage in its content.
In ECG 100, which utilizes Reacting to the Past pedagogy, students fully immerse
themselves in the leadership experiences of historical periods. This structure can be
42 The Journal of College and University Student Housing

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

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