New KPC program aims to improve student experience

  • By Kelly Sullivan
  • Thursday, July 31, 2014 9:58pm
  • News

After selling his tri-level, Soldotna home, Kenai Peninsula College Associate Professor of Psychology Paul Landen unpacked his belongings into a suite at the KPC Residence hall. It is now his permanent residence.

Landen is the first professor in a Faculty-In-Residence program, in which staff members live and work on campus that will be implemented at KPC during the 2014 fall semester. The goal is to increase interaction between students and faculty, he said.

“It increases a sense in students that they belong here,” Landen said. “Retention is increased and the students have a better and more enriching experience.”

Landen said his role is not to act as a tutor but to help students better navigate the intricacies of learning at KPC. One of his first priorities is getting to know his new neighbors.

Leslie Byrd, Residence Life Coordinator said Landen’s duties will also include administrative help, as well as expanding existing programs and coming up with new ones to connect KPC faculty with students. He file monthly reports how well he thinks the program is working, she said.

“He will not have an authoritative role,” Byrd said. “We are not adding another policy enforcer. He will act as a role model for good community behavior.”

Byrd said colleges through out the nation, such as Duke University, and the University of Texas are setting up simllar programs. When students feel more comfortable with their professors they are more likely to ask for help and consequently become more engaged in their studies, she said.

The coming school semester will be the second year since the residence hall opened, Byrd said. The first year the goal of having one-third capacity, was completed and this year she said they are likely reach their goal to be at two-thirds capacity.

Tammie Willis Associated Director of Residence Life said Landen volunteered for the position. He worked in residence life as he pursued his education, so he was eager to be involved in the residence hall.

“I have never had one (Live-In-Faculty employee) that sold his house to move on campus to be part of a faculty in residence program,” Willis said. “I think the fact that Dr. Landen did sell his house to be a part of this program says a lot about his motivation to increase student engagement and impact students lives.”

Will said the theory behind the program is based on a concept validated by the National Survey of Student Engagement, which gauges the level of student participation at universities. The survey has demonstrated that the more a student feels engaged, the more likely the student is to do well academically and graduate.

It has also shown that one of the major factors that influence how engaged a student feels is relationship with faculty, Willis said.

The program is designed to promote supportive and engaging interactions between students and faculty.

Landen said he is excited to see how the pilot program goes.

He said as a professor he is always looking for new ways to help involve his students and KPC is a college that is on the same page with this goal, he said.

“I can make a difference in a whole different way,” Landen said.

Kelly Sullivan can be reached at

More in News

Girl Scout Troop 210, which includes Caitlyn Eskelin, Emma Hindman, Kadie Newkirk and Lyberty Stockman, present their “Bucket Trees” to a panel of judges in the 34th Annual Caring for the Kenai Competition at Kenai Central High School in Kenai, Alaska, on Thursday, April 18, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Bucket trees take top award at 34th Caring for the Kenai

A solution to help campers safely and successfully extinguish their fires won… Continue reading

Children work together to land a rainbow trout at the Kenai Peninsula Sport, Rec & Trade Show on Saturday, May 6, 2023, at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex in Soldotna, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Sport show returns next weekend

The 37th Annual Kenai Peninsula Sport, Rec & Trade Show will be… Continue reading

Alaska Press Club awards won by Ashlyn O’Hara, Jeff Helminiak and Jake Dye are splayed on a desk in the Peninsula Clarion’s newsroom in Kenai, Alaska, on Monday, April 22, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Clarion writers win 9 awards at Alaska Press Club conference

The Clarion swept the club’s best arts and culture criticism category for the 2nd year in a row

Exit Glacier, as seen in August 2015 from the Harding Icefield Trail in Kenai Fjords National Park just outside of Seward, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
6 rescued after being stranded in Harding Ice Field

A group of six adult skiers were rescued after spending a full… Continue reading

City of Kenai Mayor Brian Gabriel and City Manager Terry Eubank present “State of the City” at the Kenai Chamber of Commerce and Visitor’s Center in Kenai, Alaska, on Wednesday, April 17, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Mayor, city manager share vision at Kenai’s ‘State of the City’

At the Sixth Annual State of the City, delivered by City of… Continue reading

LaDawn Druce asks Sen. Jesse Bjorkman a question during a town hall event on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2023, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
District unions call for ‘walk-in’ school funding protest

The unions have issued invitations to city councils, the borough assembly, the Board of Education and others

House District 6 race gets 3rd candidate

Alana Greear filed a letter of intent to run on April 5

Kenai City Hall is seen on Feb. 20, 2020, in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai water treatment plant project moves forward

The city will contract with Anchorage-based HDL Engineering Consultants for design and engineering of a new water treatment plant pumphouse

Students of Soldotna High School stage a walkout in protest of the veto of Senate Bill 140 in front of their school in Soldotna, Alaska, on Wednesday, April 17, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
SoHi students walk out for school funding

The protest was in response to the veto of an education bill that would have increased school funding

Most Read