Cumberland University


CU Explores New Residential Learning Communities

Cumberland University has begun exploring the first phase of a student residence expansion that could bring a new, 200-bed residential learning community to campus as early as next year.

According to CU President Harvill C. Eaton, the University first began looking toward such an expansion in fall 2007, when Cumberland's 400-plus dorm rooms were filled to capacity. The plan currently under consideration, however, would add more than simply a new residence hall to the school's Lebanon campus, Eaton explained.

"We'd like for this new facility to be more than living space. Our ultimate goal is to create a new 200-room residential learning community," Eaton said. "This facility would incorporate living quarters, study spaces and fun spaces. We intend to include room in the facility to house a faculty member and his or her family, and it is our belief that such a move would help further strengthen academic programs at Cumberland while maintaining that personal touch for which our University is so widely known."

Early discussions suggest the new facility would be located on the southeastern corner of the University's campus, just off McClain Avenue. Current timetables call for the first residential learning community to open its doors in fall 2009 or January 2010.

Under a proposal currently under consideration, the new residential facility would be the first of at least three new on-campus residential learning communities.

The new facilities, which are not a part of the University's recently launched $50 million capital campaign, are consistent with goals put forth by Eaton upon his arrival at Cumberland in 2004.

Since Eaton assumed the role of president, the goal of his administration has been to see Cumberland's student population grow to 1,500 students. Ultimately, he said, the University should be capable of housing approximately half of those students on campus.

"This new endeavor is anticipated to be the first step in a multi-pronged plan to upgrade our residence halls while enhancing the learning experience for our student-residents," Executive Vice President and Dean of Students Eddie Pawlawski explained. "The concept of a 'residential learning community' fits perfectly with our mission at Cumberland and will allow us to focus on the needs of our students, both academically and socially, while allowing them the opportunity to truly experience all that Cumberland University and our community has to offer."