Why Living in a Sport Management Learning Community Matters


  • Cara Lucia Elon University
  • Mimi Benjamin Indiana University of Pennsylvania
  • Shaina Dabbs Elon University
  • Mark Cryan Elon University




living learning communities, relationships, student involvement


Living learning communities (LLCs) improve students’ social connection and involvement through intentional planning and relationships with faculty and peers. This case study explored student experiences in a living learning community known as the Sport Management and Media Living Learning Community (SMM LLC) at Elon University. Informed by the research about best practice for living learning communities (Inkelas, et al., 2018) and the mattering of relationships (Felton & Lambert, 2020), the study explored students’ perceptions of living in the SMM LLC. The focus group and interviews revealed students’ experiences focused on the importance of relationships with faculty and peers that matter. The findings revealed two themes - the SMM LLC as a place to develop community and friendships and catalyst for involvement. The study offers implications and opportunities for future research and practice for why sport management faculty should implement LLCs at their university to enhance the student experience through an intentional engaged learning design. 

Author Biographies

Cara Lucia, Elon University

Cara Lucia, PhD, is an associate professor and chair of the Department of Sport Management at Elon University. Her research interests include high-impact practices, college student development, and leadership education.

Mimi Benjamin, Indiana University of Pennsylvania

Mimi Benjamin, PhD, is a professor in the Department of Student Affairs in Higher Education at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Her research interests include learning communities, faculty experiences, and student learning experiences outside of the classroom.

Shaina Dabbs, Elon University

Shaina Dabbs, PhD, is an associate professor in the Department of Sport Management at Elon University. Her research interests include work-life interface, high-impact practices, college athletics, and leadership development.

Mark Cryan, Elon University

Mark Cryan, PhD, is an assistant professor in the Department of Sport Management at Elon University. His research interests include sport as a social institution, international baseball, and youth development through sport.


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