Date of Award

Spring 2020

Degree Type


Director of Thesis

Kirsten Kennedy, Ph.D.

Second Reader

Hilary Lichterman, Ph.D.


At the University of South Carolina, the Office of First-Year Experience along with Housing and various other departments work to make freshmen’s transition as seamless as possible. Using the characteristics of the Best Practice Model (Inkelas, Jessup-Anger, Benjamin, Wawrzynski, 2018), this study will compare the University of South Carolina's Living Learning Communities (LLCs) characteristics to those consistent with the Best Practice Model. More specifically, this study will focus on assessing whether the Rhodos Living-Learning Community (LLC) engages the best academic environment as compared to the “academic environment” level of the Best Practices Model. The data in this study was gathered through interviews with the faculty and staff of the Rhodos LLC at the University of South Carolina. Interview questions related specifically to courses for credit, faculty advising, academically supportive climate, and socially supportive climate. From those interviews, this study will conclude what practices are required for a successful LLC that promotes student growth and development, and how the Rhodos LLC at the University of South Carolina is creating an effective academic environment. Further, the research explored in this study will help to make recommendations as to areas of Rhodos’ academic environment elements from the Best Practice Model which could be improved.

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