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Learning Communities | University News | University Housing

University Housing Launches New Living-Learning Initiative in Fall 2023

By Jeff Murphy, June 2, 2023


WARRENSBURG, MO – Maximizing opportunities to connect students who have similar academic interests at the University of Central Missouri, University Housing is launching a new living-learning initiative beginning this fall. The Learning Communities program replaces the S.H.I.P. (Special Housing Interest Program), which began two decades ago.

Learning Communities are living spaces for first-year students who are majoring in specific academic programs of study. Students who choose this option will reside in a residence hall with other students with the same academic interest, taking six to seven credit hours of common enrolled classes in the fall semester.

Alan Nordyke, director of Residence and Greek Life, said the goals of this program are to foster a strong connection to the academic area, build in- and out-of-class networks, and support continuous learning between the academic area and daily lives of students. Each academic area has a point of contact who will work with Housing to facilitate the program goals. The designated academic point person, intentional faculty involvement, and students who share enrollment in specific classes and majors differentiate this initiative from the SHIP. 

UCM’s offices of University Housing, Student Experience and Engagement and Academic Affairs believe this new program will enhance student success and satisfaction while creating strong personal connections to faculty and experienced students within the major, Nordyke said. The academic areas/programs that are partnering with Housing for the pilot program from 2023 to 2025 are: Art and Design, Aviation, Biology and related fields, Computer Science and Software Engineering, Criminal Justice, Cybersecurity and Information Technology, Education, Music, and Nursing.

This University Housing initiative is coming to fruition after a planning and implementation process that has covered approximately two years. 

“We started on the path to create Learning Communities in fall 2021 with signed agreements made in spring 2022, and from there we have been moving towards implementation,” Nordyke said.

In addition to bringing together students with common academic interests, the program organizers also expect to provide opportunities that include at least two activities per month focused on areas of study, study groups, and peer-mentor programs with upper-class students. 

Individuals who have questions about Learning Communities are encouraged to contact Nordyke at



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