Students, Faculty Come Together in ThinkBig Communities
Posted January 31, 2013 | Atlanta, GA
Taking backstage tours of the Fox Theatre, attending Braves legend Chipper Jones’ farewell game and getting to know a professor’s family are just a few things Kelly Allen has experienced through ThinkBig that she might not have otherwise.
Logo for the ThinkBig communities, sponsored by Georgia Tech Undergraduate Studies and the Department of Housing-Residence Life.
“They actually offer tours of the Fox all the time, but I never would have known were it not for ThinkBig,” said Allen, a third-year biochemistry major from Acworth. Allen is part of ThinkBig’s community known as ATL: the 411 on the 404, one of nine living-learning communities being offered to students for the 2013-14 academic year.
ThinkBig communities give students the chance to pursue a topic throughout the year under the leadership of a dedicated faculty member. ThinkBig students live in designated areas of residence halls, meet weekly with faculty leaders for informal discussions and participate in outings related to the topic.
“It’s unlike any other way to get to know a professor,” Allen said. “It’s refreshing that they want to spend time with students, and it makes you realize some faculty really do care about students.” The ATL community wasn’t originally her and her roommate’s first choice for ThinkBig, but they enjoyed it and Doug Flamming’s leadership so much the first year that they signed up for a second year.
New this year is Center Stage: The Performing Arts and Georgia Tech, a community led by DramaTech’s artistic director Melissa Foulger, and the Applied Humor community is a variation of the humor-themed program of years past, this time focusing on how to use humor in a practical way, such as injecting it into presentations. But, no matter the community or topic, students have the opportunity to get to know faculty outside of the school setting.
“ThinkBig is a great way to bring faculty and students together in an informal environment where they’re still learning, but it’s not in the classroom,” said Sally Hammock, ThinkBig program manager.
Most professors work with students at the beginning of the program and then throughout the year to get ideas for outings, as well as to ensure that the ThinkBig experience is shaped by student preferences. This approach is in keeping with Georgia Tech’s 25-year strategic plan to enrich the student experience through increased student-faculty interaction.
ThinkBig alumni still look back fondly on the program and appreciate the social community that came from the experience.
“Living in IHouse defined my college experience,” said Craig Miller (MGT 2009). “I now have a global community of friends, and it gave me the confidence to pursue opportunities outside of the U.S.” Miller now lives in Seoul, South Korea, and found the first people to welcome him to the city were former IHouse residents.
A $150 fee per semester covers ThinkBig participation, including costs associated with outings, food or programming. Other funding comes from the Center for Academic Enrichment and Department of Housing.
Learn more, including how to sign up, at thinkbig.gatech.edu. The deadline for all communities is Thursday, Feb. 28, unless otherwise noted.
The following are the 2013-14 ThinkBig communities:
- Applied Humor — Peter Ludovice
- ATL: The 411 on the 404 — Douglas Flamming
- Center Stage: The Performing Arts and Georgia Tech — Melissa Foulger
- International House (IHouse) — Kelly Comfort (deadline Feb. 8)
- Kids@Nature — Alfred Merrill
- Life in Art and Imagination — Jude LeBlanc and Sonit Bafna
- Sustainability and Outdoor Leadership — Daniel Matisoff
- Thought for Food — Yonathan Thio
- Women, Science, and Technology — Carol Colatrella (deadline Feb. 1)