May 21, 2018
International Education Living Learning Community students during an excursion to Kansas City.
University Housing students have wrapped up their first year participating in the International Education Living Learning Community. The community launched at the outset of the 2017-18 academic year to help foster greater international connections among University of Arkansas students.
Eight students, four international and four domestic, took part in the community during its inaugural year. Participants lived in Holcombe Hall during the academic year and met for workshops once a month, which were led by Rebecca Miles, the community’s faculty adviser and a clinical assistant professor of marketing in the Sam M. Walton College of Business. During the workshops, students explored topics that reflect cultural values and beliefs, such as clothing, music and gender roles. Then twice a month, they gathered for a social activity planned by the community ambassador Austin Cowart.
Michael Freeman, director of the Office of International Students and Scholars, said the community’s first year was a success. The development of students’ intercultural competencies was measured using the Intercultural Development Inventory. The students’ movement on the inventory’s continuum scale was tracked at the beginning of the fall 2017 semester and at the end of the spring 2018 semester.
Freeman was encouraged to find all the students had positive movement on the scale throughout the academic year.
“I really hope the community is a fun experience for our students, but I also hope it actually helps them develop their intercultural competence,” Freeman said.
Building on the community’s initial success, Freeman hopes to bolster student participation for the upcoming academic year. To aid in this effort, Miles suggested using the living learning community as a project for her marketing students.
Miles challenged her senior-level marketing students to review the community’s mission, goals and current marketing strategy to develop an enhanced marketing plan.
“Working with real-world projects …