Transforming the First-Year Experience
In 2012 Loyola launched a successful pilot program for first-year students called Messina, named for the Italian village where the Jesuits first taught lay persons in the 16th century. Designed and developed by a group of faculty, administrators, and students, Messina is an interdisciplinary living learning experience that comprises several learning clusters, each devoted to a separate theme. Students take two seminars—one in the fall and one in the spring—that are thematically linked, experiencing each seminar with the same group of students and living in the same residence hall as those in their learning cluster.
Messina students live close to others in their learning cluster, breaking down barriers between academic and residential life.
Designed and developed by a group of faculty, administrators, and students, Messina officially launched in 2013.
Messina comprises several learning clusters, each devoted to a separate theme. Themes have included “Self and Other,” “The Visionary,” and “Stories We Tell.”
The 2013-14 school year marks the official inauguration of Messina. Approximately one third of first-year students are currently participating in the program, which will expand next year to encompass two-thirds of the freshman class. By the 2015-16 school year, every first-year student will participate in Messina.
Academic excellence, personal formation
No matter how bright and talented they are, students often have difficulty adjusting to college-level work and college life, which can lead to disengagement with their studies. While Loyola’s retention rate is exceptionally high, we are nevertheless committed to developing a first-year experience that’s uniquely supportive, engaging, and academically rigorous. Messina is a focal point of the Bright Minds, Bold Hearts campaign because it will significantly transform life for our first-years, provide an exceptional foundation for college and career success, and have a positive impact throughout our Loyola community.
- Professorships that will enable Loyola to attract and retain engaged, visionary faculty who will lead the implementation of Messina and drive its growth, development, and excellence for many years to come
- Administrative support to fund student development positions geared toward overseeing and coordinating the trainings, logistics, and overall activities of the program
- A new residence hall that will enable Loyola to realize its vision of a fully integrated living learning experience. First-year students will live close to others in their learning cluster, breaking down barriers between academic and residential life. Many classes and meetings will also be held in the residence, fostering greater engagement, connectedness, and personal and spiritual reflection.
To learn more about giving opportunities for Messina or to make a gift, contact Brian M. Oakes, ’99, MBA Fellows ’10, director of development, at 410-617-2414 or firstname.lastname@example.org.