The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 29

Understanding
Students┬┤ Experiences
in a STEM
Living-Learning
Community

THE RETENTION AND GRADUATION OF COLLEGE STUDENTS
in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM)
fields is critical to the continued development of the United
States. Many students in the U.S. who begin college in a
STEM field do not end up graduating with such a degree.
There are many strategies to improve the retention and
graduation rates of STEM students, with living-learning
communities (LLCs) being one of them. LLCs positively
impact students' retention both at the institution and in the
STEM fields; however, less is known about the potential
disadvantages of such communities. After interviewing 23
former STEM students who participated in a living-learning
community during their first year of college, we found
academic, personal, and social advantages and challenges
for those who participated in an LLC community.

Many of the
students who
initially pursue
the science,
technology,
engineering, and
mathematics fields
do not graduate
with degrees in

SHANNON R. DEAN
Assistant Professor in Student Affairs in
Higher Education
Texas State University
Srd73@txstate.edu

STEPHANIE L. DAILEY
Assistant Professor in Communication Studies
Texas State University
dailey@txstate.edu

University of Arkansas
Fayetteville, Arkansas

28

THE JOURNAL OF COLLEGE AND UNIVERSITY STUDENT HOUSING

The retention and graduation of college students remains an important and integral part of the mission of higher education, particularly in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).
In the United States, many students who begin college with the
hopes of earning a degree in this field ultimately graduate with a
non-STEM baccalaureate degree (Change the Equation, 2015; U.S.
Department of Education, 2009). Keeping up with other countries in terms of educating students in these critical areas will be
a challenge for the United States in the future, as more and more
individuals within this field are graduating in other countries. In
Singapore, for example, one of three graduates receives a college
degree in STEM; in China, it is one of every two individuals. With
only one of seven in the United States graduating with a STEM baccalaureate degree, it is important to create systems and programs
to increase the number of these students and then to retain them.
Although there are many programs to help STEM students transition to college and ultimately persist to graduation, living-learning
communities (LLCs) in particular have a significant positive impact
on retention not only at the institution, but also in the field (Sriram
& Shushok, 2010).

those majors, but
LLCs can offer
them academic
and social benefits
that will increase
retention.

V O L U M E 4 6 , NO. 2 * 2 0 2 0

29



The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2

Contents
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - Intro
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