Living Learning Communities
A Living Learning Community or LLC is a community of first-year students who live together in a residence hall, share a common interest, and participate in group activities with a designated faculty member, student life representative, and upper-class student. We created Living Learning Communities to not only extend your learning beyond the classroom, but also to foster friendships among like-minded students and professors.
You will choose from a variety of LLCs (simply designate and rank your top choices on your Freshwoman Residence Application/Agreement). Most people get their top picks.
Academic Fusion or Scholars in Action?
As a member of an Academic Fusion Living Learning Community, you will take a class with your hall mates that's typically taught by your faculty advisor. You will also participate in thematically related events, such as attending concerts, films, theater presentations, lectures, art exhibits, and more.
Scholars in Action Living Learning Communities focus on a shared interest but are not tied to a class; in some cases those themes are academic in nature, and in others they're more about life enrichment. The Scholars in Action LLCs also have faculty and student life advisors who help organize a variety of interesting activities such as networking events, field trips to area businesses, visits to local spiritual communities, and whitewater rafting excursions.
Each year we offer a diverse selection of LLCs based on student interest. Here's a sample of communities that we offer:
Academic Fusion LLCs
Are you committed to social justice? Do you want to learn what people of color and their allies in the Bay Area, nationally, and globally are doing to fight against racism and build vibrant, diverse, and sustainable communities? This LLC will build your capacity to engage in social change by learning from African American, Asian American, Pacific Islander, American Indian, Latina/o and Arab American activists, writers, and artists. Activities include visiting local communities, and participating in Mills Heritage Months and other exciting campus events.
Course: Ethnic Studies 51—Introduction to Ethnic Studies
The course compares the experiences of African Americans, American Indians/Alaska Natives, Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders, Chicanas(os)/Latinas(os) within a global context. Historical, social, economic, cultural, and environmental resources are employed in analyzing the intersections of race, class, gender, and sexuality. Class activities include lectures, discussion, films, and guest speakers.
Advisors: Déborah Berman Santana, PhD—University of California, Berkeley
Professor Santana’s research interests include economic sustainability, political sovereignty and environmental justice, theory and practice of community activism, political ecology, historical legacy of racism and colonialism, militarism and the environment, Latin America, the Caribbean, and US Latinas/os.
Professor Melinda Micco, PhD—University of California, Berkeley
Professor Micco's interests: American Indian history; film studies and literature; multiracial identity studies; ethnic identity in tribal communities; indigenous women, nationally and internationally.
Course: History 31—American History I
A survey of the political, social, and economic development of American society from the early 17th century through the end of the Civil War era in 1877.
Professor: Professor: Marianne Sheldon, PhD—University of Michigan
Professor Sheldon’s scholarly interests include colonial and revolutionary America, US immigration history, history of women and the family in the US, American South, US urban history.
Course: Music I—Exploring Music: Performance, Creation, and Cultural Practice An introduction to music from the perspectives of performer, composer, improviser, instrument maker, and scholar.
Music will be studied as a social art, as a performance practice, as acoustic architecture and as spontaneous creation, as historical artifact and as cultural signifier. Projects for the class include playing music, listening and analysis, composing, recording, and writing. No knowledge of music, notation, or instrumental skill is necessary.
Advisor: Professor David Bernstein, PhD—Columbia University
Professor Bernstein’s research interests include John Cage, American experimentalism, avant-garde music and aesthetics, Arnold Schoenberg's tonal theories, post-tonal theory and analysis, 20th-century music literature, the history of late 19th- and early 20th-century harmonic theory
Course: Philosophy 15—Introduction to Philosophy
A critical examination of works by classical and contemporary philosophers and the questions they raise. Topics vary, but include the problem of social organization and the nature of justice; the scope and limits of human knowledge; the fundamental nature of the cosmos; the concepts of art and beauty; and the Socratic question: what is the best kind of life for a human being to lead?
Advisor: Professor Marc Joseph, PhD—Columbia University
Professor Joseph’s scholarly interests include metaphysics, philosophy of mind and language, philosophy of logic and mathematics, classical studies
Course: Psychology 49—Introduction to Psychology
An introduction to the subject matter, methods, and current status of psychology, including brain function, child development, perception, learning and thinking, motivation and emotion, personality, abnormality, and social psychology. The focus of this course is on human behavior, with only limited reference to animal research, and includes cross-cultural issues where applicable.
Advisors: Elizabeth Bachen, PhD—University of Pittsburgh
Professor Bachen's research interests include clinical psychology, women's health, how psychological stress affects health, psychosocial and biological mechanisms of stress and health, and psychoneuroimmunology.
Professor John Ruch, PhD—Stanford University
Professor Ruch’s research interests include visual thinking and problem solving, and computer-based multimedia strategies in education.
Course: Sociology 55
Introduction to Sociology. An introduction to basic sociological concepts, theories, and methods. Students in the course will be encouraged to develop "sociological imagination," that is, an understanding of the connection between personal biography and history. Course content will include an examination of social structure and culture (and the relationship between these two concepts), the socialization process, the major social institutions and their impact, the nature of inequality in society, and deviant behavior and social problems.
Advisor: Associate Professor Margaret Hunter, PhD—University of California, Los Angeles
Professor Hunter’s research interests include comparative racial and ethnic relations, sociology of gender, contemporary racial attitudes, women of color in the United States, sociology of knowledge
Course: Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies 71—Introduction to Women’s Studies
An introduction to basic women's studies concepts and theories, drawing on methodologies and content of multiple disciplines. The course will explore differences as well as commonalities of women's experiences, and provide a foundation for more advanced work in women's studies.
Advisors: Assistant Professor Priya Kandaswamy, PhD—University of California, Berkeley
Professor Kandaswamy’s interests include feminist and queer theory; race, gender, and US welfare politics; women of color in the US; theories of race and sexuality; sexuality and citizenship; and geographies of race, gender, and sexuality
Associate Professor Judith Bishop, PhD—Graduate Theology Union
Professor Bishop’s research interests include women’s history, gender theory in religion, religion and the body, and religion in public discourse.
Scholars in Action LLCs
The adventure education community gives you the chance to actively explore the beautiful landscape of the San Francisco Bay Area.
Adventure education uses outdoor experiences as a forum for teaching important skills and abilities applicable to all aspects of life at Mills College and beyond. Community experiences may include hiking, camping, rock climbing, and whitewater rafting. Adventure education supports growth in integrity, leadership, social awareness, and appreciation of diverse ways of knowing and being. As a resident of the Adventure Education LLC, students will have opportunities to:
- broaden their capabilities,
- develop their outdoor leadership, decision-making, and technical skills, and
- enhance their understanding of the relationship between people and nature.
Students who select to live in the adventure education community should possess the desire to enjoy and learn from outdoor experiences. Prior experience with outdoor activities is not required.
If you miss your pet from home, this LLC will provide the opportunity to connect with animals on and near campus. We will learn about the individuals, government agencies, and nonprofit groups that promote animal welfare and rights. We will work with shelters and rescue groups on campus and in the community on a variety of service projects. In addition, we will explore the Bay Area’s sometimes wacky and always colorful pet culture from San Francisco Pet Pride Day and the Bow Wow Film Festival to the Golden Gate Kennel Club Dog Show and International Cat Show.
This LLC is for students interested in leading businesses or nonprofits. By engaging in activities that enhance their understanding of leadership, they build the skills needed to manage and lead. This LLC is an ideal way to explore the 4+1 MBA. The 4+1 MBA is a joint bachelor’s and master’s in business administration (MBA), a professional degree that signals readiness to lead. Students in any major can earn a 4+1 MBA by including eight foundation courses in their undergraduate course work, and adding an internship and a year of graduate study. MBA concentrations include global business, nonprofit management, marketing, finance, and socially responsible business.
This LLC is a good starting point for students considering majoring in any of the scientific disciplines. It will provide an opportunity to live and work with students who are enthusiastic about science, but who have a range of interests from medicine to environmental science. While there is not a specific class associated with this LLC, most students in this LLC will take one (or more!) of Biology 4, Chemistry 4, Chemistry 17, or Calculus I in their first semester.
Students in this LLC engage in community projects in partnership with local organizations such as Girls, Inc., the Oakland Unified School District, and the Oakland Housing Authority in collaboration with the Mills Center for Urban Schools and Partnerships. If you select this community, you will have the opportunity to visit neighborhoods and learn about the resources of Oakland as you develop your vision for creating positive social change. We will explore together, read together, and participate in local projects in neighborhood schools and community centers near the Mills College campus. Throughout the year, we will work to develop our capacities as social change agents. Possible activities include: field trips to Bay Area neighborhoods and events, volunteer work with youth, dinners at faculty houses, panels and visits with local activists and scholars, and book discussions.
This LLC brings together residents interested in exploring their ideals, assumptions, and awareness regarding the production and consumption of food. Students will have the opportunity to develop community leadership skills in promoting energy and water conservation, waste reduction, recycling, and local food connections. Participants will also plan and prepare dinners for the group, learn about nutrition and sustainable farming practices, and develop cooking skills. Students may also choose to grow food in the Mills College garden. No prior cooking experience is required.