• For many years, the College of Engineering (COE) at Texas A & M University has focused on initiatives that enhance academic experiences of freshmen. Living learning communities is an approach that has been implemented at several large, resident campuses across the United States. The COE is one of the national leaders in this area. In 1992 and 2001, the College established living learning communities for women and underrepresented engineering students, respectively. Students who participated in these programs exhibited higher retention rates and Grade Point Averages (GPAs) when compared to engineering students who did not participate. This reinforces results from national studies that showed living learning communities positively influence overall student success and retention. Based on these analyses, the College moved to expand the initiative, so it merged the two original programs to establish the Engineering Living Learning Community (ELLC) Program in fall 2006. ELLC was then opened to all first-year engineering students. Low-income and first-generation students were encouraged to apply. Today, ELLC is a Texas A & M University residence hall clustering program for 600 first-year engineering students. The Department of Residence Life and COE have specifically designed the program to create a community of scholars to help in the transition to college and commit to academic excellence in engineering. Newly admitted students are invited to participate in the ELLC their freshmen year by submitting a housing application and selecting the community as their first choice. First generation, low-income and honors students are given priority admission as space permits. The ELLC includes a scholarly support system of upper class students, faculty and staff. The ELLC intends to improve academic performance and retention in engineering for all students who live in the community, especially students from underrepresented groups. Research indicates that the complete context of learning, including both in-class and out-of class experiences, influences student success. In this paper, characteristics of the ELLC program and lessons learned over the past four years are presented. The paper examines four cohorts of students who participated in ELLC between 2007 and 2010. Descriptive data including demographics and SATM scores will be provided for each cohort. In addition, data on the academic performance of the ELLC participants in their first-year will be compared to thoughtfully selected cohorts of other engineering first-year students. Each comparison group consists of students who were new engineering students but did not live in the ELLC. Data used for the comparison includes persistence in the College and GPA. The overarching goal of this paper is to share with the engineering education community results of ELLC's influence on persistence and success of engineering students. 2011 American Society for Engineering Education.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Hodge, J. Q., Lagoudas, M. Z., Harris, A. M., Froyd, J. E., Hobson, M., & Pope, J. A.

complete list of authors

  • Hodge, Jacqueline Q||Lagoudas, Magdalini Z||Harris, Angie M||Froyd, Jefferey E||Hobson, Margaret||Pope, Jasmine Alysse

publication date

  • January 2011