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Sophomore Scholars in Residence

Imagine taking a typical public policy class that comparatively examines healthcare systems in the United States and the developing world: you would spend your time reading a number of scholarly texts and articles, writing research papers and having engaging classroom discussions. Now, add-in a community-based learning experience within a healthcare setting or non-profit organization in the city of Richmond so that you can gain a local perspective on the issue.

Then, add two trips together to a rural community in the Appalachian Mountains and the capital of the Dominican Republic to experience first-hand what you have been reading and discussing in the classroom. And all the while you are living in the same hallway with the rest of the students in the class, and you have the experience of a Sophomore Scholars in Residence (SSIR) community at the University of Richmond. 

An Integrative Experience

The SSIR program combines a traditional academic course with co-curricular learning activities throughout a student’s entire sophomore year. Each community consists of a one-unit course in the fall semester and a half-unit group project in the spring semester, with various co-curricular experiences that enhance learning.  Throughout the year, students are working on both individual and group capstone projects that they present to the University community each spring. 

SSIR students live together as a cohort in co-ed residence halls with other SSIR students of all communities, creating a unique academic community within the residence halls, so that students have opportunities to interact with students of differing communities, while having a shared experience. 

The communities are small, with only sixteen students participating per community, allowing for great discussions and strong group-bonding and friendships to be made. Students enhance their experience by leaving campus together as a community to participate in community-based learning, as well as traveling locally, regionally, domestically or internationally to experience first-hand and connect the classroom learning. Students who participate in living-learning communities represent a diverse cohort from various backgrounds, cultures and experiences.

All co-curricular costs associated with the course, including the community travel, are at no additional expense to students beyond tuition, room and board fees.

Every community has strong engagement by a faculty member who teaches the class, travels with them, serves as mentor to their research, and guides the community throughout the year. Students also participate in workshops and have interactions with staff from Career Services, the Speech Center, librarians, and the Bonner Center for Civic Engagement that complement and enhance their experiences. Communities also connect with the strong network of Richmond alumni working in or around the topic of the community.

2020-21 Communities 2021-22 Communities
Borders and Walls A Tale of Two Cities
Healthcare Borders and Walls
Human Rights and Modern-Day Slavery  Building Brasilia
Paradox of the Cultivated Wild Community Journalism
Reading to Live Healthcare and Medical Humanities
Salsa Meets Jazz Reading to Live
Self-Discovery and Social Change Salsa Meets Jazz
Stories of Work, Life, and Fulfillment Toxic Communities

SSIR Research in Scholarship Repository

Selected SSIR research projects are now included in the University of Richmond Scholarship Repository. Materials in the repository can be downloaded and read for free at any time.

Travel & COVID

Currently, Sophomore Scholars communities are not traveling due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We anticipate resuming travel when the University enters the "yellow" phase of the physical distancing framework

Fast Facts

Number of students per community:
16 students

Required Courses:
1 unit course in fall semester,
.5 unit seminar in spring semester

Residence halls:
South Court

Varies by community, typically over break periods

Capstone presentations to the University community:
annually—each April

Application timeline:
Application due: January 24, 2021
Interviews with Faculty: February 1–12, 2021
Offers extended: February 17, 2021

Additional cost to students:
None (all travel paid for by the University)