An evaluation of college sophomore living environments: Traditional residence compared to a living learning community with respect to interaction with faculty, peers, and satisfaction with living area

Nancy Papagno Crimmin, Johnson & Wales University

Abstract

This research evaluated housing for sophomores on a small, private, Catholic campus. Students in traditional residence halls (TRH) and a living learning community (LLC) participated in this evaluation to determine if campus housing provided an academically and socially supportive environment for sophomores. Consistent with existing LLC literature, this facility had a requirement for student participation in an academically oriented activity meant to foster relationships with faculty outside the classroom.^ The variables for this study were: Interactions with Faculty, Interactions with Peers, and Satisfaction with Living Area. Existing literature, specifically linking sophomores and housing type with these variables, is limited. This study sought to contribute to this base of research and assist the institution with their evaluation of sophomore on campus housing options.^ A sequential, mixed method qualitative and quantitative design with a post-only comparison group model was employed. The theoretical frameworks utilized were Stufflebeam's (2007) CIPP Evaluation Model and Astin's (1993) Input-Evaluation-Outcome Model.^ Survey research utilizing a 65 item questionnaire was administered to students living in TRH (N = 275) and a LLC (N = 102). Following analysis of the data, three focus groups were conducted (N = 21) to assist in interpreting and explaining the quantitative data.^ Sophomores in this study, as in the literature, reported stressors with: choice of major, parental and faculty expectations, and lack of structured attention from the college. Consistent with the literature, students in the LLC were significantly more satisfied than those living in a TRH ( t = 9.04; p = .001; ES = 1.12, large). Although separate analysis with Independent t-tests revealed no significant differences all means were higher for: (1) The TRH compared to the LLC regarding Interactions with Faculty. Focus group data revealed LLC students felt their activities with faculty were considered "like a class" and therefore not "outside the classroom" interactions. (2) The LLC compared to the TRH regarding academically and socially supportive Interactions with Peers. Focus group data revealed TRH students felt their interactions with peers were socially supportive, but not academically supportive. These findings have ramifications for those planning LLC programs, on campus housing, and sophomore experience research. ^

Subject Area

Education, Sociology of|Education, Higher

Recommended Citation

Nancy Papagno Crimmin, "An evaluation of college sophomore living environments: Traditional residence compared to a living learning community with respect to interaction with faculty, peers, and satisfaction with living area" (January 1, 2008). Dissertation & Theses Collection. Paper AAI3315767.
http://scholarsarchive.jwu.edu/dissertations/AAI3315767

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