PHOTO: Courtesy of Jamie Dunn
The University of Kentucky prides itself on providing the best resources to its student body. For the past several years, UK has expanded its Living Learning Program, which provides students the opportunity to live in the same residence hall and learn in connected courses with students who have similar interests and majors. The UK College of Agriculture sponsors a Living Learning Program—the Agriculture Residential College—which is housed in the Dale E. Baldwin Residence Hall.
The Agriculture Residential College welcomed its first class in fall 2010. Freshmen and new transfer students with a major in the college were encouraged to apply for the program. Since that time, the program has increased in popularity, resulting in it only being available to first-year students. This year’s Agriculture Residential College has 29 first-semester freshmen and three upperclassmen who serve as peer mentors.
Jamie Dunn, the college’s director of first year success and coordinator for the Agriculture Residential College, believes that programs such as the Living Learning Program help increase retention rates and enable students to build lifelong relationships. As the instructor for the connected course, UK 101: Academic Orientation, she sees firsthand the bonds forming between her students.
Also seeing relationships develop is peer mentor Brad Keltner, who has been a member of the Agriculture Residential College since 2010. Keltner is very active with the program and tries to make friends with the first-year students so they do not feel nervous about asking him for help.
“Personally, it helps people get to know others in agriculture majors, and it makes studying easier,” he said. “I help with general questions. If I don’t know an answer, I usually redirect the student to a resident advisor or to other upperclassmen.”
In addition to receiving academic support, students in the Agriculture Residential College are required to attend four programs per semester specifically related to their community in order to maintain their membership. One such event was a trip to Marksbury Farm in Lancaster. Marksbury is a local processing facility with ties to the college. During the trip, students were treated to a dinner made with local ingredients and a guided tour by John-Mark Hack, a Marksbury partner.
The Agriculture Residential College is a resource that provides students with opportunities they may not have otherwise. Students are able to interact with college faculty outside of the classroom and are exposed to many facets of the agriculture industry.
“It is an excellent opportunity for first-year students to get involved in the College of Agriculture and to build relationships that will last a lifetime,” Dunn said.
Jamie Dunn, 859-257-3468