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Residential Colleges Launched

When student residents ask, “What college are you?” it’s because CSULB introduced new residential colleges this fall, giving existing housing new identities.

Beachside, Parkside and Hillside Colleges are organized along the generations- old concept of student housing based on shared interests, explained Douglas Robinson, vice president of Student Services. New services include learning communities of students from many disciplines united in a common interest, as well as more faculty assistance and intramural competitions.

“The goal was to find a way to link the students’ curricular experience with their co-curricular experience,” said Carol Roberts-Corb, director of Housing and Residential Life. “In the same way that universities such as Oxford bring together faculty members and students in a residential environment, we will have a faculty master who will live in each college who will oversee various academic initiatives for the students. We want to find a way to connect students and faculty in one place—their housing.”

The new concept shrinks a large campus, Robinson believes. “The new residential college concept creates a place where students can become connected with their campus,” he said. “We know this is a tried and tested method. The idea has taken off with this year’s students who arrived at their campus housing for the first time this fall to be greeted by t-shirts, banners and posters. The students last year participated in a competition to design shields. The parents were impressed.”

Robinson added that the faculty-in-residence program where selected faculty live in campus housing remains. “Faculty members will still provide the tutoring they always have. We want to create an environment where students feel comfortable with staying on campus. If they do that, we have found they graduate sooner and at a higher rate.”

Roberts-Corb agrees. “The concept is a way to help students feel proud about where they live,” she said. “It is a way to help them start traditions on and engagement with the campus.”

“We will look at retention and graduation rates,” Robinson explained. “It is not just how long they live on campus that determines success. It is student success in achieving their academic goals that makes the difference.”

Roberts-Corb already knows the project will succeed. “The minute I saw students wearing their new t-shirts on campus, I knew,” she said. “I knew the project was succeeding when I saw volleyball games breaking out between the colleges. It gets down to a sense of community in the end. The goal is to build communities of students, faculty members and staff. You can feel that sense of community when you walk through the halls.”

Robinson encourages alums to return to campus for a look. “There already has been an alum who has come forward with a significant donation and, in November, we named a floor for that donor,” he said.

To learn more about the new residential colleges, visit www.csulb.edu/divisions/students/housing/campus_housing/colleges/index.htm.

—Richard Manly